France's Constitutional Council approves contested 'health pass'


In a ruling announced on Thursday, France's Constitutional Council has approved government plans to introduce further restrictions over the Covid-19 epidemic, including the requirement that people display a vaccination or negative test 'health pass' before entering public venues,  and the obligation for healthcare staff to be fully vaccinated.

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France's top constitutional authority on Thursday approved the Covid pass that limits access to cafes, restaurants and inter-city trains and planes to people who have been vaccinated or tested negative for the coronavirus, reports Radio France Internationale.

The controversial pass, which will become ubiquitous from Monday, has sparked mass protests, with critics accusing President Emmanuel Macron of running a health "dictatorship".

But the Constitutional Court said the restrictions voted by parliament last month represented a "balanced trade-off" between public health concerns and personal freedom.

Today's decision by the so-called "Wise Men" on the implementation of the government's Covid strategy could also influence the mobilisation and arguments of those who denounce the health pass as "liberticide" - the killing of freedoms. 

The text on extending the use of the health pass to bars, restaurants and travel was adopted by the National Assembly and the Senate on July 25th after six days of heated debate and several amendments.

It was then referred to the Constitutional Council by the government and three groups of more than 60 parliamentarians each - two senators and one deputy.

With its approving by the guarantors of the Constitution and fundamental freedoms, President Macron has promised its rapid implementation.

In addition to the health pass and its control extended to cafés-restaurants, the Council reviewed a number of other sensitive measures: isolation of contaminated persons, compulsory vaccination of certain personnel including nurses and sanctions against non-compliant employees.

Read more of this report from RFI.

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