The French government is looking to extend its capacity to prolong Covid-19 emergency measures. A proposal for the extension has already passed in the French parliament’s lower house. The proposal seeks to extend Covid-19 measures until July 31st, 2022 – beyond the presidential election scheduled in April next year.
Less than half of the total members of the French National Assembly – 260 out of 577 – attended the night session held from October 20th to October 21st. Of the 260 present, 135 voted to approve the “sanitary surveillance bill” extending the state of emergency in the entire country. Only 125 voted against it.
The bill will give French President Emmanuel Macron additional powers to lift, extend or reimpose Covid-19 restrictions – such as lockdowns, curfews and vaccine passports – over the next eight months without parliamentary control. Macron’s emergency powers will go beyond the French presidential election on April 22nd next year.
However, Macron cannot count on an automatic majority in the higher chamber, and voices have been raised in favour of freedom. Even left-wing senators are showing signs of wanting to resist.
During the same session, the lower house also approved an amendment permitting directors of secondary schools to find out the vaccinations status of their students. School directors will obtain this information from the public health insurance system, the amendment noted.
The French government defended the amendment, saying that it facilitates “the organisation of screening and vaccination campaigns” and the arrangement of teaching conditions “so as to prevent the risk of spreading the virus.”
France currently makes use of the sanitary pass, its version of a vaccine passport, as proof that someone has received the Covid-19 injection. The pass accepts proof of full vaccination, a recent recovery from Covid-19 or a negative PCR or antigen test less than three days old.
On August 9th, France mandated the pass for all adults. The sanitary pass has been required for leisure, sports and cultural activities; access to food establishments; rail transport and non-emergency hospital treatments. The mandate was extended to those aged 12 to 17 on September 30th.
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