France says 110,000 fake health passes in circulation

Health passes are required for anyone in France who wants to access venues like gyms, restaurants and cinemas. You must be fully vaccinated, recently recovered from Covid or have results of a negative test to hold a valid health pass. But many people are faking it.

A policeman checks the Covid-19 health pass of customers in a bar in France.
A policeman checks the Covid-19 health pass of customers in a bar in France. Many people are illegally using fake passes. (Photo by JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

Some 110,000 fake health passes are in circulation in France, the interior ministry said Thursday, with hundreds of investigations launched against makers and users of the forged documents.

The health pass, showing proof of vaccination, Covid recovery or a recent negative test result, is required for access to public transport, restaurants and cultural events.

As they investigate users and distributors of the fake documents, police have found that medical staff is sometimes complicit in the fraud, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.

“The problem with the fake health passes is that they often involve the collusion of real doctors or real nurses,” he told the France 2 broadcaster.

This makes offences “very difficult to prove”.

Some 100 people had been arrested as a result of 400 investigations since the health pass became mandatory in parts of public life, Darmanin said.

READ MORE The new rules for the French health pass

They risk up to five years in prison, he said, adding that some have already been sentenced to suspended or actual jail terms.

Last month, a doctor who allegedly sold at least 220 fake health passes in the Paris region was charged and detained.

Darmanin said he was in favour of dropping cases against users of fake health passes who agreed to get a real one legally instead.

The French government has warned that the number of Covid patients in intensive care could reach 4,000 during the Christmas season, compared to 3,000 now.

It is promoting booster vaccine shots to control the worst of the onslaught of the Omicron variant, and has warned that health passes will no longer be valid from mid-January unless holders get a vaccine top-up.

Member comments

  1. We know of younger french people who will not get vaccinated, they say they won’t have the government holding a gun to their heads. Thing is they are using other friends covid passes to go to venues! the only way around this is for the authorities to insist that a carte d’sejour must be produced at the same time….why don’t they implement this??

    1. I agree. The young who don’t get vaccinated ARE holding guns to their own heads, their friends heads, friends of friends and so on. However, they don’t think this far, they are self centered.

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French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

French Border police at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris shot - and killed - man who was wielding a knife in the public area of the airport on Wednesday.

French police shoot dead knife-wielding man at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport

Border police reportedly shot a man with aggressive behaviour who brandished a knife in the public area of the Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris, on Wednesday morning, police and airport sources told AFP.

“This morning officers neutralised a threatening individual in possession of a knife at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport,” the Paris police department said on its Twitter account.

A source close to the investigation told BFMTV that the man – who was likely homeless – went towards the officers, despite being asked several times to put the knife down. In response, police shot the man in the abdomen, and the individual later died.

The incident took place in the busy, public area of terminal 2F around 8:20 am, when “a homeless man started bothering security agents and border police were called in to remove him”.

Initially the man left while yelling curses but he soon returned and brought out a knife, when one of the officers fired his weapon.

An AFP photographer who witnessed the scene said “a large person of colour brandished something that looked like a knife at the police”.

“He was ordered to stop but kept advancing toward them, and an officer fired a single shot.”

The man was quickly put on a stretcher and evacuated, the photographer said. 

Security forces have been on high alert for terrorist attacks since a wave of jihadist killings that have killed more than 250 people since 2015, often by so-called “lone wolves” who often target police.