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A group of protestors unhappy with french president Emmanuel Macron’s stringent new health rules to combat Covid-19 — which include requiring a health pass or passport to enter venues like movie theaters, restaurants and shops — took to the streets in Paris on Bastille Day to protest, leading french police to use tear gas to disperse the crowds.

Key Facts

The new rules were announced Monday to combat rising Covid-19 cases and require anyone over the age of 12 to obtain a digital health pass showing a vaccination certificate or negative Covid-19 test to enter theaters, museums, theme parks or cultural centers starting on July 21, and restaurants, bars, shops and cafes starting in August.

Additionally, Covid-19 vaccinations will be required for workers in healthcare facilities and in retirement homes, with vaccination checks beginning in September.

Since the announcement was made, some citizens have criticized the new health rules—among the toughest in the European Union—and arguing it takes away their right to choose whether or not to get vaccinated.

While Bastille Day marches were already planned, protestors did not have permission from Paris authorities to take to the streets, Reuters reported, and riot police took action on the crowd, firing tear gas at them.

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Big Number

More than 1 million. That is how many people in France rushed to get a vaccination appointment within 24 hours of President Macron’s announcement of the health rule changes.

Key Background

The health passport launched on July 1 and can be used as an option to skip quarantine if traveling within the European Union. Once people get vaccinated or tested, they receive a QR code, which can be scanned for entry. Macron said in a press conference that he chose to use the pass throughout France to curb increasing numbers, saying, “If we do not act today, the number of cases will continue to increase.” Last week, an average of 4,335 cases per day were reported in France, increasing by 115% its average two weeks ago, The New York Times reported. Macron is also encouraging vaccinations, saying it is “the only path to return to a normal life.”

Further Reading

French President Sets Stricter Health Rules; Cannes Festival Unaffected by New Orders (Variety)

France reports rush for vaccines after Macron tightens Covid rules (The Guardian)

Macron to address nation amid fears of Delta variant surge in France (France 24)

Source: Forbes

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