the coronavirus crisis
French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday said the government won't "vaccinate by force," but does have a plan that he hopes will push the remaining holdouts to get their COVID-19 vaccines.
The French parliament has delayed a vote on a bill that would require a vaccine passport in order to take public transportation or enter public venues, with some exceptions; it is expected to pass later this week. Under current rules, people have been able to get into establishments by showing a negative COVID-19 test result.
In an interview Tuesday with the French newspaper Le Parisien, Macron said the goal is to encourage vaccinations by "limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life." The message needs to come across that "from Jan. 15, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant," Macron added. "You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theater. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema."
One part of Macron's interview caught the attention of his rivals, including right-wing leader Marine le Pen and Bruno Retailleau, president of the Republicans group in the Senate. Using a French slang word, Macron stated that he wants to "piss off" people who are not vaccinated. Retailleau told Agence France-Presse that "no health emergency justifies such words," while le Pen tweeted, "A president shouldn't say that ... Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office."
With the highly contagious Delta and Omicron variants in play, France recorded 271,686 new COVID-19 infections on Tuesday — its highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic.