PARIS, July 13 (Reuters) – More than 900,000 people in France rushed to schedule vaccination appointments Monday evening after the president warned people would be placed on restrictions if they didn’t no health card covering a negative COVID vaccine or test.
Unveiling sweeping measures to tackle an upsurge in infections, Emmanuel Macron said vaccination would not be mandatory for the general public for now, but stressed that restrictions would focus on those who are not vaccinated.
The president said health workers need to get vaccinated by September 15 or face the consequences.
Stanislas Niox-Chateau, who runs Doctolib, one of the country’s largest online websites used to book vaccine appointments, told RMC radio that there was a record number of requests for vaccines after the president’s announcement.
“There were 7.5 million connections to Doctolib in a few minutes. More than 900,000 French people made an appointment for vaccination yesterday, which is double the last record which dated from May 11, ”Niox-Chateau said.
Macron said on Monday that a health pass required to attend large-scale events would now be used much more widely, including entering restaurants, cinemas and theaters.
It will also be necessary to board long-haul trains and planes from the beginning of August, which will increase the incentive for people to get vaccinated as the summer holidays approach.
A slowdown in vaccination rates and a sharp upturn in new infections from the now dominant, highly contagious Delta variant have forced the government to rethink its strategy.
Report by John Irish and Jean-Stéphane Brosse; Editing by Robert Birsel
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