People who fail to get a Covid-19 vaccination may be banned from using public transport in France, according to a bill that sparked angry protests from opposition politicians on Tuesday.
On Monday, Prime Minister Jean Castex received his cabinet’s support for a bill designed to provide a legal framework for dealing with health crises, including the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the text, which will now be presented to Parliament, a negative Covid test or evidence of a “preventive treatment, including the administration of a vaccine” may be required to give people “access to transport or to certain places, as well as certain activities “.
According to opinion polls, 55 percent of French people say they will not get a Covid shot, one of the highest prices in the European Union.
The government’s vaccination campaign will begin on Sunday.
President Emmanuel Macron has promised that the coronavirus vaccine, although highly recommended, will not be mandatory.
But opposition politicians condemned the bill, in which Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right RN party, called it a “substantially totalitarian” measure.
“In retrospect, this law does not aim to make vaccinations mandatory, but will prevent anyone who does not follow a social life,” she said.
RN party spokesman Sebastien Chenu said Macron’s government was planning a “health dictatorship”.
Guillaume Peltier, deputy leader of the center-right LR party, said it was “unthinkable” that the government would “have all the power to repeal our freedoms without parliamentary control.”
Centristenator Nathalie Goulet said the draft was “an attack on public freedoms”, while left-wing vice-president Alexis Corbiere said “we could at least have a collective discussion on the idea of restricting our public freedoms.”
In response, Public Minister Amelie de Montchalin said the bill “was not made at all to create exceptional powers for the government” or “to create a state of health.”
She said there would be a debate on the bill during which “everything that needs to be clarified will be clarified.”
The EU gave the green light for a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine on Monday, paving the way for the first vaccinations to start in 27 countries shortly after Christmas.