France adopts vaccine passports law despite protests


France’s parliament voted to make vaccine passports a key part of daily life in the battle against Covid-19 on Sunday, after a compromise between lawmakers from the upper and lower houses.

The breakthrough in talks came a day after France was again shaken by protests against the rules that saw over 160,000 rally and dozens arrested.

President Emmanuel Macron last week ordered that the health pass — proof of full vaccination or a negative test — would be required for the French to visit venues such as cinemas or nightclubs.

The announcement was a move by Macron to make vaccinations the top weapon against Covid-19 as new variants emerge, essentially requiring people to become vaccinated if they want to continue daily routines.

Those changes were implemented by decree, but parliament has been engaged in a marathon session since Tuesday debating whether to extend them.

Vaccine passports have encountered fierce opposition from some, who believe they erode civil liberties.

The ruling party has faced a tough task pushing the legislation through parliament. Pro-Macron MPs control the National Assembly, but the Senate — the upper house — is dominated by the opposition right.

The Senate had approved the legislation but added numerous amendments that the government feared risked limiting its impact.

The two sides held three hours of talks Sunday, finding a compromise to pass the bill that evening by a large majority — 156 votes for, 60 against and 14 abstentions.—AFP

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