French Parliament Approves COVID-19 Vaccine Certificate Terms, Valid In Public Places To Long-distance Trains
Illustration of a COVID-19 vaccination center in France. (Wikimedia Commons/Claude Truong-Ngoc)

JAKARTA - France's parliament gave final approval on Sunday to the government's latest measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus, including a vaccine certificate being contested by anti-vaccine protesters.

Lawmakers in the lower house of parliament voted 215 in favor and 58 against, paving the way for the law to take effect in the coming days.

The new law, which has had a difficult journey through parliament with opposition parties finding some of its provisions too harsh, will require people to have vaccination certificates to enter public places such as restaurants, cafes, cinemas and long-distance trains.

Currently, unvaccinated people can enter these places with a recent negative COVID-19 test result. Meanwhile, nearly 78 percent of France's population has been fully vaccinated, the Health Ministry said last week.

President Emmanuel Macron recently said he wanted to "piss off" people who were not vaccinated by making their lives so complicated that they would eventually get a COVID vaccine.

While citing Euronews, some exceptions can be made for those who have recently recovered from COVID-19. The law also imposes heavier fines for fake passes and allows ID checks to avoid fraud.

More than 76 percent of France's ICU beds are occupied by virus patients, most of them unvaccinated, with about 200 people with the virus dying each day.

The day before, thousands of anti-vaccine protesters demonstrated in Paris and several other cities on Saturday against the law, but their numbers fell sharply from the previous week, right after President Macron's remarks.

To note, France is in the grip of a fifth COVID-19 wave with daily new cases regularly hitting a record over 300,000. However, the number of serious cases that put people in ICU wards is much lower than the first wave in March-April 2020.

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