PARIS -A mandatory order would not be the most efficient way to encourage those not vaccinated against COVID-19 to get the shot and that plans to toughen health pass conditions were already yielding results, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said.
People in France already have to show either proof of vaccination or a negative test to enter restaurants and bars and use inter-regional trains. But with Omicron infections surging, parliament is debating legislation that will drop the test option.
President Emmanuel Macron this week said he wanted to irritate the unvaccinated by making their lives so difficult they would get the COVID-19 shot.
Four in every ten unvaccinated people had not been inoculated against the coronavirus because of difficulties accessing the relevant health services, France’s National Institute of Health & Medical Research (Inserm) said this week.
“We stand by the decision to put pressure on the non-vaccinated,” Attal told BFM TV on Sunday.
France recorded more than 300,000 new coronavirus infections for the second time in a week on Friday. Hospitalisations, including COVID-19 patients in intensive care (ICU), are rising steadily, putting the healthcare system under strain.
Attal said nearly 10 million COVID-19 tests had been carried out in the past week and that the government would make more healthworkers available to conduct them. But laboratories warned that the testing rate could be unsustainable.
“We can’t keep testing (these numbers),” Lionel Barrand, president of the Syndicat National Les Biologistes Médicaux told BFM TV.