The French Senate votes the law on the “Health Pass” but it is not yet done


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Following a new day of mobilization of its opponents, the law on the anti-Covid health pass could be definitively adopted on Sunday evening, if deputies and senators reach an agreement, but the way is narrow and an extension of the debates does not exist. is not to be ruled out.

In the meantime, the government continues to press for vaccination, in the hope of crossing the 40 million mark for first-time vaccinations “no later than Monday July 26”, one month before the initial target.

From Polynesia, where he is on the move, Emmanuel Macron said he was sending “a very strong message to call on everyone to be vaccinated” to protect themselves and others.

The Head of State also called for the parliamentary debate on the health pass “to take place in a calm and efficient manner”.

►Anti-vaccines, yellow vests and critics of Macron demonstrate across France

►The mediator of rights of France warns against discrimination under the health card

►The French Senate approves the use of controversial Covid “health passes”

Senate vote

The Senate, dominated by the right-wing opposition Republicans, voted on Saturday evening, by 199 votes to 123, the bill which provides for compulsory vaccinations for caregivers and the controversial extension of the health pass. However, there have been important modifications compared to the text approved by the National Assembly, and which are not to the liking of the government.

It remains to be seen whether deputies and senators will find a compromise within the mixed committee, which sits from 3 p.m. this afternoon. This is the scenario favored by the government because it would allow the bill to be definitively adopted in the evening, for the application of the extended pass in early August.

A disagreement would derail this very tight schedule, forcing a new parliamentary shuttle. The leader of the Republican senators Bruno Retailleau on Saturday brandished the threat of a disagreement, “if the deputies want to cancel the work of the Senate”.

But time is running out in the face of an unprecedented upsurge in infections linked to the spread of the highly contagious Delta variant of Covid-19. Once adopted, the text will still have to pass the filter of the Constitutional Council before being promulgated.

This is an additional step, which Prime Minister Jean Castex himself has chosen to take in order to avoid accusations of infringing civil liberties.

More than 160,000 demonstrators

After a first national mobilization on July 17, dozens of demonstrations resumed on Saturday.

“More than 160,000 people, according to the Interior Ministry, marched across the country, from 500 on the island of Saint-Martin in the West Indies to 11,000 in Paris.

One of the Parisian processions, composed mainly of yellow vests, was marred by sporadic incidents. At the call of the President of the Patriots Florian Philippot, several thousand people also gathered at the Trocadéro.

Health Minister Olivier Véran told French daily Le Parisien: “We would have been fine if the context had been different,” said. And “we’ll end it as soon as we can.”

The stake for the executive is to try to keep pace with a fourth epidemic wave, which scientists and the minister fear will be “strong with a hospital impact which could be very severe from mid-August to the end of August “.

Vaccination obligation

In addition to the vaccination obligation for caregivers, firefighters or professionals working with the elderly, the bill provides for an extension of the health pass (complete vaccination course, recent negative test or certificate of recovery) at the beginning of August in cafes -restaurants, fairs and exhibitions, planes, long-distance trains and buses, and medical establishments.

The Calvados prefecture announced a “voluntary experiment” from Sunday in bars and restaurants in Deauville and Trouville, in response to a sharp increase in cases.

The health pass is already in force in places of leisure and culture (cinemas, museums …) bringing together more than 50 people, with the exception of 12-17 year olds, exempted during the holidays. The government’s goal is clearly to encourage vaccination.

The senatorial majority revised the system to make it “clearer” and “more respectful of human rights and freedoms”. In particular, it conditioned the extension of the pass on the reestablishment of a state of health emergency, until October 31, and provided for the exemption of shopping centers.

Some amendments adopted in the Senate divide the law, such as the exemption of terraces or minors from the laissez-passer, measures which could be revised in subsequent discussions.

The bill also provides for compulsory isolation of patients, a provision relaxed by senators.

(with sons)

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