France could soon reimpose COVID-19 restrictions as cases soar

The COVID certificate has become obligatory as of Tuesday to go to a bar or restaurant as of 1 August. [EPA-EFE/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON]

As France experienced a new peak of COVID-19 infections on Tuesday, with 18,000 cases detected within 24 hours, Prime Minister Jean Castex has confirmed that new restrictions may be imminent.

With the highly contagious Delta coronavirus variant now wreaking havoc across Europe, France has seen its case numbers rise by 140% in the course of a single week, Jean Castex told TV channel TF1 on Wednesday.

New measures to curb the virus from spreading may thus be taken at the local or departmental level “if necessary,” an outcome that is becoming more and more likely in a number of coastal areas in the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions.

Meanwhile, the COVID certificate – proving vaccination, recovery or a negative test – became obligatory as of Tuesday for visiting a number of cultural sites and gyms and will be necessary to go to a bar or restaurant as of 1 August.

Bar and restaurant owners will not be obliged to check the identity of every single person – a major worry expressed during recent days. They will only have to check each client’s QR code, while random identity checks will be carried out by the police.

The sanitary certificate will not be necessary for school children at the start of the new school year in September, the prime minister said, declaring that children are not to be deprived of education for not being vaccinated. However, the government will launch targeted campaigns in schools to promote the vaccination of all children aged 12 to 17 as of September.

The French executive wants to see 50 million people vaccinated with at least one dose by the end of August.

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