The Constitutional Court of France has validated this Thursday the imposition of a Covid Passport to enter places and the mandatory vaccination for health personnel, two of the key measures of the strategy against the pandemic issued by Emmanuel Macron and that have caused numerous social protests in recent weeks.
In this way, as of August 9, as foreseen by the French Government, the health certificate – proof that someone has not been exposed to covid, complete vaccination certificate or recovery certificate – will be required to enter a bar or restaurant, even on a terrace; to travel on a long-distance train or on a domestic flight, as well as for non-urgent patients and visitors in health facilities and nursing homes.
Macron has essentially initated a medical apartheid where those who obey and shut up will be given back some freedom taken from them for the past 18 months, while those who do not want to be forced to use unwanted vaccines will be discriminated against until they comply.
The measure, which has been applied since July 21 for places of “leisure and culture” that gather more than 50 people, such as theaters or cinemas – which have registered a drop in visits – was extended by means of a law approved on Sunday 25 after six days of heated parliamentary debate in both chambers.
Since Macron made his intentions known in a speech on July 12, protests have been held across France on Saturdays, drawing more and more people.
The last protest was attended by more than 200,000 people throughout the country, according to official figures. For this Saturday new demonstrations have been called throughout France.
However, the Government insists that the number of newly vaccinated people – more than four million new appointments since Macron’s speech – is much higher than the number of people who protest out into the streets.
The Constitutional Court validated the measure considering that it constitutes a “balanced conciliation” between the need to protect the population and individual freedoms. Almost a quarter of a million people a week would beg to differ.
The health certificate will not be required for minors between 12 and 17 years old – since they will only be vaccinated until September 30.
The prime minister, Jean Castex, has celebrated the decision of the “wise men”, as the members of the Constitutional Court are known in France. “The validation will allow the full deployment of the strategy to fight covid-19 presented by the president on July 12,” he said in a statement.
Another of the measures that most outraged the protesters was the obligation to be vaccinated that Macron instituted for all health personnel, as well as other professionals in contact with vulnerable audiences, such as firefighters and emergency services, or workers in nursing homes.
According to the law, these employees have until September 15 to begin the vaccination schedule and until October 15 to complete it, under penalty of being suspended from employment and salary if they have not done so by then and until they are vaccinated.
The measure was taken to the Constitutional Court, which validated it. The Court rejected one of the clauses that had caused the most controversy and confusion after its approval: the one referring to the case of workers with temporary contracts.
According to the decision, no temporary worker may be dismissed “before the end” of their contract, as the original law provided if the employer so decided.
The Constitutional Court has also annulled the mandatory isolation provided by law for people who have tested positive for the coronavirus, an extreme that the judges consider “contrary” to the Constitution.
Castex has ensured that the Government “takes note” of the decision, although he recalled that it is a measure that is already used in “many” European countries and that it is also applied in France for travelers from high-risk countries.
“Public authorities will limit themselves to reminding all people infected with covid-19, including asymptomatic, of the need to scrupulously respect medical recommendations regarding isolation.”