France working on a COVID-19 health pass amid vaccine drive
Ross Cullen in Paris


The French government is working on a COVID-19 health pass, its spokesman Gabriel Attal told reporters on March 10 after a cabinet meeting. 

"Each minister has been in extensive contact with his or her sector, with their sector of activity for which he is responsible for the government to work on the implementation of this health pass," said Attal. 

Such a pass is seen as one way of being able to open up the economy again – as people would be able to show that they have had a COVID-19 vaccination before going into a restaurant or a theater, for example. 



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The number of patients in intensive care in France is at its highest since November last year. 

In Ile-de-France, the region surrounding and including Paris, more than 1,000 people are now being treated in intensive care, with almost all available urgent care beds in use. 

Medical authorities in the region, which accounts for about one-sixth of France's population, ordered hospitals on Monday to cancel 40 percent of their regular activities to make space for critical COVID-19 patients. 

Coronavirus cases and deaths remain high in France, which has had a nationwide curfew in place since mid-December 2020. There has been a surge of the variant of the disease first identified in the UK, which now accounts for 65 percent of all cases in France. 


The number of intensive care patients in France is still at very high levels. /CGTN Europe

The number of intensive care patients in France is still at very high levels. /CGTN Europe


However, the French vaccine strategy has started to speed up, with 800,000 jabs being given in the last five days. Attal also said France is on track to reach its vaccination targets. 

Nearly two million of France's 67 million population have been double-vaccinated against COVID-19. Sixty percent of all care home residents have now had two COVID-19 vaccinations. 

Attal also told reporters that measures to rein in the pandemic were working, but the situation in hospitals, including in Paris and its surrounding region, remained a concern. 

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The recent early spring sunshine in the French capital has seen thousands of Parisians flock to parks and outdoor spaces, with police forced to close the paths along the banks of the River Seine – and one intensive care doctor urged caution. 

Mehran Monchi, who is the head doctor in the intensive care unit at Melun-Senart hospital near Paris, said: "The total percentage of people vaccinated in France is not yet sufficient to reduce the number of people coming into intensive care." 

"Other countries have a higher percentage of vaccinated people with a decrease of the pressure on hospitals but let's not forget that those countries simultaneously applied a lockdown," he added. "So the impact they are seeing is due to a mix of those two factors."

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