Navigating the brave and sometimes baffling new world of France's Covid health pass


From Monday August 9th the French government made it obligatory to have a health pass for anyone wanting to enter a range of establishments or access services, from cafés to restaurants, cinemas to libraries and high-speed trains to hospitals. This meant thousands of people have been trying to get a QR code to prove they have been vaccinated twice, had a recent negative Covid test or that they had recovered from the illness in the last six months and thus had antibodies. For some, this has meant a long and frustrating time dealing with the complexities of a new layer of French bureaucracy. Khedidja Zerouali has been talking to people who have struggled to navigate their way around this brave new world of health rules.

Reading articles is for subscribers only. Subscribe now.

The QR code barcode system was born in 1994, invented by Japanese software engineer Masahiro Hara. The code, with its distinctive black and white squares inspired by the Chinese board game Go, quickly made a name for itself in Japan and across the world. Then, just as quickly, it largely disappeared, apart from in Asia.