Hopes for the epidemic subsided, but a new variant appeared

French Prime Minister Jean Castex condemned in the National Assembly on Tuesday that several MPs were threatened with death due to a bill that would turn the coronavirus protection certificate into a vaccination certificate on 15 January. The prime minister promised punishment for “vile acts.”

“All violence is unacceptable in a democratic society. But since we are the custodians of public power, elected representatives, the use of force is a threat to democracy, to the pact of the republic,” the prime minister said. “There is no other option but punishment for these vile acts,” he added.

The head of government was interpellated in an hour of immediate questions by one of the pro-government MPs, Pascal Bois, as his garage was set on fire last week and inscriptions on the vaccination certificate were painted on the wall of his home.

In recent weeks, several members of the pro-government majority in particular have indicated that they have been threatened with death or that their car or property has been damaged, which is why the government has initiated the conversion of the corona virus protection certificate into a vaccination certificate. Several of them also posted the content of the threats on social media sites, including one that put a view to “public beheading” and announced that they were reporting the intimidation.

The acts of violence also affect opposition MPs who support the austerity measures. Briancon’s right-wing mayor Arnaud Murgia’s car was set on fire in November, although he received no particular threat.

The document certifying protection against the virus (vaccination certificate or negative test not older than 24 hours) is currently required in public places for at least 50 people, such as catering premises, including terraces, trains and coaches, sports facilities, hospitals , as well as in cultural institutions, cinemas, theaters, concert halls. From 15 January, according to the bill, only those with all three doses of the vaccine will be able to enter these places freely, those with one or two doses of the vaccine will have to show a negative test in addition to their vaccination certificate, and those who are not vaccinated will not be able to use these services. .

With the measure, the government aims to put pressure on nearly 5 million people who have not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus because of the rapidly spreading omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Olivier Véran announced in Tuesday’s debate that the number of new infections registered in the past 24 hours has broken record again, approaching 300,000. The most recent record was reported at the end of December, when 230,000 new cases were registered in a single day.

In France, the fifth wave of the coronavirus epidemic began two months ago with an increase in the number of infections caused by the delta variant, followed by an even more contagious omicron variant at the peak in mid-December, which is already responsible for more than two-thirds of new cases.

The quadrupling of the daily number of cases, according to the minister, is partly due to the testing record: 8 million screening tests (PCR and antigen tests) were performed in the country last week. However, the explosive spread of the epidemic is also evidenced by the fact that more than 15 percent of the large number of tests performed were positive. There has been no example of this since the fall of 2020.

The hospital currently cares for 19,000 people infected, and there are 3,500 in the intensive care unit. Both numbers are as high as at the peak of previous epidemics, and the government remains confident that high vaccination rates will prevent paralysis of the health care system. More than 91 percent of those eligible for the vaccine have already taken at least the first dose of the vaccine, 50 percent have already received the third dose, and 78 percent of the total population has been vaccinated.

“Vaccines do not prevent infection, but they do prevent the development of a serious form of the disease,” the minister recalled. He said there were twenty times as many unvaccinated patients in the intensive care unit as there were three times.

The draft law imposes more severe penalties for misuse of the protection certificate, with up to five years’ imprisonment and a fine of € 75,000 imposed on fraudsters. Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a debate Tuesday that police had uncovered nearly 200,000 abuses by December 30 and launched 435 prosecutions against fraudsters. (MTI)

Source: Portfolio.hu – Gazdaság by www.portfolio.hu.

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