PARIS – Visitors now need a special COVID pass to climb the Eiffel Tower or visit French museums or cinemas, the first step in a new campaign against what the government is calling a “stratospheric” increase in HIV infections. delta variant.
As the new rule went into effect on Wednesday, unprepared tourists lined up for rapid virus tests at the Paris monument. To get the COVID pass, people must show that they are fully vaccinated, have a negative virus test, or prove that they have recently recovered from an infection.
“The world is facing a new wave, and we must act,” said French Prime Minister Jean Castex.
The solution, he said on TF1 television on Wednesday, is “vaccination, vaccination, vaccination”, urging his compatriots to register for injections to avoid new confinements. Of the 18,000 positive cases recorded in France on Tuesday, he said 96% involved unvaccinated people.
âºMask rules, open places and more:What you need to know about summer travel to Europe
âºWhat is happening in Vegas:Face masks will not be required for tourists, despite COVID delta variant issues
At the Eiffel Tower, masked workers scanned QR codes on digital health cards or checked printed vaccines or test certificates. The measures entered into force Wednesday on cultural and tourist sites, following a government decree.
âºThe delta variant is spreading:Should travelers be worried?
Attitudes towards the new requirements were mixed.
âI wanted to come here with my mom so I had to take the test to be able to travel,â said Juan Truque, a visiting accountant from Miami, who is not vaccinated. “They make you wear face masks and do similar things that are kind of an imposition … to me that are violations of your freedom.”
Johnny Nielsen, a Danish tourist traveling with his wife and two children, said: âIn Denmark you need the pass everywhere. So, while questioning the usefulness of the French rules, he said it had not prompted them to reconsider their travel plans.
âºFrance welcomes the Americans once again:But only if they are vaccinated against COVID-19
Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron wants to extend the COVID pass requirement to all French restaurants and many other areas of public life, as well as require all health workers to be given a jab. A bill that would allow these changes is under discussion in the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
The government wants it passed as quickly as possible, but the bill has met with resistance in some quarters. More than 100,000 people protested against the measures in France over the weekend, and the prime minister said on Wednesday that the government would seek approval from the Constitutional Court, which will also take time.
Already, the government has had to delay plans to force teens to use passes from next month, amid criticism from parents, restaurateurs and others. The government wants the pass to apply to everyone aged 12 and over and will launch middle and high school vaccination campaigns from September, Castex said.
Daily infections in France fell sharply in the spring but have risen again in the past two weeks. Some regions are reimposing virus restrictions. The government fears that pressure will intensify again on hospitals in the coming weeks.
France has recorded more than 111,000 deaths linked to the virus. Overall, 46% of the population is fully vaccinated.