French president Emmanuel Macron has announced new health rules to contain the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. The country is currently hosting the Cannes Film Festival with several thousands of guests from all around the world.
The key measure announced by Macron will make the EU Digital Covid Certificate — commonly called “health pass” — mandatory in all cultural venues, including cinemas, theaters and concert halls starting on July 21. Starting in August, the health pass will be mandatory in cafes, shops, restaurants, as well as trains and planes, among other places.
The pass launched on July 1 and is meant to facilitate travel within Europe and ease the pressure for multiple tests by allowing people to receive a QR code once they get tested or vaccinated and use it as official proof. So far, the certificate was only required at festivals and any events gathering more than 5,000 people, such as Cannes. The festival made it mandatory for all guests to show the health pass upon entering the Palais, where many screenings are taking place, and the Marché du Film. U.K. and U.S. participants, who don’t have access to the health pass, have had to show a negative PCR test and get tested every 48 hours during the fest, but they were able to attend gala screenings in the Lumiere and the Debussy theaters because they are actual cinemas.
Macron is also making the vaccine mandatory for all doctors, nurses and caregivers, as well as people with health conditions or those considered “vulnerable.”
“As I’m talking now, our country is confronted with a strong uptake of the pandemic which is impacting all of France, including its overseas territories,” said Macron. “As long as the virus will continue circulating, we will be confronted with this situation. The rise of the Delta variant is seen through an increase of contaminations everywhere in the world because this variant is three times more contagious than the first strain,” added Macron.
“New restrictions have been enforced in Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands to face this new variant. In Asia, new lockdown measures have been taken,” added Macron.
Over at Cannes, the general secretary Francois Desrousseaux squashed rumors swirling around the festival about skyrocketing coronavirus cases. He told Variety Friday that there was no COVID-19 cluster and that “out of several thousand people getting testing here on a daily basis, there are an average of three cases per day.”