France Cracks Down On COVID-19 With Increased Restrictions On Passes And Tests

Like COVID-19, harsher restrictions for the unvaccinated appear to be sweeping across the region. Image credit: Jerome Labouyrie 

France has updated its COVID-19 restrictions in light of rising cases within the country. Like other areas of Europe, they are placing restrictions on unvaccinated residents, limiting their access to non-essential public spaces.

Unvaccinated people will only be allowed to access restaurants, bars, and hairdressers with proof of a negative antigen test from the last 24 hours, costing around €44, the Financial Times reports. The new restrictions will also limit COVID-19 passes for vaccinated people, which will only be valid if their last jab was received within the last seven months.

To encourage further vaccinations, France is also reducing the time of eligibility for a third vaccine to just five months after a second dose. This, coupled with mandatory mask-wearing in indoor spaces, aims to slow the rate of spread fuelling the current outbreak.

This comes in the face of mounting evidence that certain groups of people remain uniquely vulnerable to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The Delta variant has already triggered a fourth wave in Europe, where winter has a long history of bringing black alerts in overrun hospitals even before COVID-19 took hold.

By restricting areas such as bars, clubs, cinemas, and theaters to vaccinated persons only, European countries adopting the selective restriction approach hope to limit both COVID-19 spread and hospitalizations. This is a decision supported by research, which has found that vaccinated people are less likely to pass on the virus than the unvaccinated when socializing.

Vaccination has also proven more effective than a previous infection with COVID-19, with vaccinated persons being five times less likely to become hospitalized with the disease after having the jab compared to being recovered without having had a jab.

Italy recently joined the European ranks of countries contemplating the vaccine-status-tiered restriction system. Their approach involves the release of a “super green pass” which will determine who has access to which public spaces.

The Netherlands, Austria, and Germany have already rolled out COVID-19 restrictions based on vaccine status – however, some have since had to enter full national lockdowns in the face of rising cases.

Germany is reportedly facing vaccine hesitance as residents reject the Moderna vaccine in favor of the BioNTech/Pfizer jab. However, Minister for Health Jens Spahn is pushing for the use of existing vaccines before they expire with fears that the country will either be “vaccinated, cured or dead” by the end of winter.

[H/T: The Local]

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