French health passport ‘could be lifted in certain areas’ says Macron

French president Emmanuel Macron has affirmed that the Covid health pass had 'produced results' in terms of vaccinations, and hinted that the pass could be lifted in parts of the country where the virus is under control.

French health passport 'could be lifted in certain areas' says Macron
Macron and Economy minister Bruno Le Maire at a meeting of the 'U2P' local businesses union. Photo: Christophe PETIT TESSON / POOL / AFP.

“If we could stop the health pass tomorrow, I would be the happiest man alive,” Macron said during a speech in front of small business leaders on Thursday as part of the Rencontres de l’Union des Entreprises de proximité.

“But the health pass was, I think, a fruitful strategy, because it produced results in terms of pushing people to get vaccinated.”

He added: “Will we be able to go without the health pass in two or three weeks? No, because there are still areas which need it.”

The pass, required to access cafés, restaurants, long-distance trains and other venues, is currently in place until November 15th. If the government decides to extend its use beyond that date, it will have to be subject to a parliamentary vote.

And Macron has evoked the possibility of removing the pass in some areas and not others.

“We’re going to keep it, if I may, in the back pocket, to avoid closures which is the worst case scenario,” he said.

“But as soon as the health conditions allow it, and in my opinion, when I look at the figures, it won’t be too long, [we will] allow areas where the virus is circulating less quickly to lift certain restrictions and live normally.”

He added that this would mean “lifting the pass” in areas “where the virus is practically not circulating at all”.

READ ALSO ANALYSIS: Is France really ‘en route back to normal life’ after the pandemic?

When asked by a member of the public during a visit to the Eure-et-Loir département on Wednesday whether the health passport would be in place beyond November 15th, Macron replied: “There are départements where we’re going to be led to lighten the restrictions according to the evolution of the pandemic, so we’re going to do that as usual with pragmatism.”

Infection rates have shown a continued decline since mid-August, with France now averaging 8,824 new cases per day. As the maps below from Le Parisien indicate, infection rates are falling in all but two mainland départements (Haute-Vienne and Allier).

However, Arnaud Fontanet, a member of France’s scientific council, warned on Tuesday that case numbers could rise again as the weather turns colder.

Member comments

  1. I don’t give a damn if I have to wear a mask for the rest of my life, just get rid of this f##k##g health pass. Thanks!

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.