People who fail to get a Covid-19 vaccination could be banned from using public transport in France, according to a draft law sparking angry protests from opposition politicians on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Jean Castex on Monday got his cabinet’s backing for a bill that is designed to provide a legal framework for dealing with health crises, including the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the text, which will now be submitted to parliament, a negative Covid test or proof of a “preventative treatment, including the administration of a vaccine” could be required for people to be granted “access to transport or to some locations, as well as certain activities”.
The government’s vaccination campaign is to start on Sunday, and officials already face widespread resistance to a treatment developed in record time since the outbreak hit Europe early this year.
A recent poll by the Journal du Dimanche newspaper found that 59 percent of respondents said they would not get a Covid shot, one of the highest rates in the European Union.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised that coronavirus vaccinations, though strongly recommended, will not be mandatory, a pledge reiterated by Health Minister Olivier Veran on Tuesday.
“I say it once again, vaccination is not mandatory,” Veran said, while also appearing to leave the door open to modifications of the bill as it “matures” during parliamentary debates.
But opposition politicians condemned the draft law, with Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right RN party, calling it an “essentially totalitarian” measure
“In a backhanded way, this bill does not aim to make vaccinations mandatory, but will prevent anybody who doesn’t comply from having a social life,” she said.