No sooner had the Eiffel Tower reopened to the public than a new hoop materialized through which tourists must jump if they want to visit the iconic Paris landmark. In a new initiative to fight what the French government calls a ‘stratospheric’ rise in delta variant infections, individuals must download and use a Digital Covid Pass to enter French museums, movie theaters, sports venues, festivals, top tourist attractions and more.
A government mandate to use le pass sanitaire, or ‘health pass’, took effect yesterday at cultural and tourist sites across France, as well as all events or place with more than 50 people. Visitors who turned up at the Eiffel Tower without proof of vaccination were offered on – the – spot Covid tests.
The TousAntiCovid app (Everyone Against Covid) is free and available for Android and iPhone users. To use the digital pass, individuals must be able to prove that they are fully vaccinated, have recently tested negative for Covid-19 or have recovered from the illness. The app provides a digital QR code or, if the user prefers, a paper version of the receipt.
As of the beginning of August, the health pass requirement will be extended to adults at restaurants, cafes, shopping centers, ‘as well as for travel by plane, train and bus for long – distance journeys’, according to the app’s webiste.
Teenagers aged 12 to 17 won’t be required to use the health pass until August 30.
Critics have accused the administration of President Emmanuel Macron of turning France into a ‘health dictatorship’, and last weekend tens of thousands of French protests against the measures in rallies around the country.
But French officials are unapologetic. ‘We’re in the fourth wave’, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during an appearance yesterday on France’s TF1 news network. He warned of harsher measures ‘if the situation were to explode’ and urged people to get vaccinated to avoid a new round of lockdowns,
Cstex said that 96% of the 18,000 people in France who tested positive for COVID – 19 over previous 24 hours were unvaccinated.
After dropping throughout the spring, France’s daily infections are spiking again. ‘We have an increase in the spread of the virus of around 150% in the last week. We’ve never seen that’, French Health Minister Oliver Veran told parliament.
Roughly 46% of the French population is fully vaccinated, which is on par with the United States. There is also a similar level of Covid -19 spread in the U.S. and France; both are currently reporting an average of about 14 new daily cases per 100,000 people.