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French parliament approves COVID-19 passes for restaurants, domestic travel

France's parliament has approved a bill that will mandate COVID-19 passes for those traveling within the country and will require health care workers to get the vaccine by mid-September, The Associated Press reported.

The bill, which was introduced six days ago, requires people to show "health passes" in order to be on planes, trains or go to restaurants and other public places. French residents have to either prove that they are vaccinated, recently recovered from the coronavirus or show a recent negative COVID-19 test, the wire service reported.

The bill currently applies to adults, but it will soon expand to residents ages 12 years and up beginning on Sept. 30. 

For those working in health care, workers face suspension if they do not receive the vaccine by Sept. 15. The measures could remain effective through Nov. 15, though it will depend on the prevalence of the coronavirus in the country.

Lawmakers approved the bill early on Monday local time, the wire service reported.

The bill echoes an announcement French President Emmanuel Macron made earlier this month regarding the COVID-19 measures as the country aims to tackle high daily COVID-19 case counts and a relatively low vaccination rate.

The country started to see its daily COVID-19 cases tick upward toward late June and early July. While the country was reporting new cases in the several thousands, the country reported more than 20,000 new cases in recent days, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO).

On Saturday, France had 21,493 new cases as opposed to 3,583 cases a week ago, according to WHO data.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that only 44 percent of France's population is fully vaccinated.

Despite this, tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets of France to protest the bill. Around 160,000 people protested on Saturday alone, according to the AP. Though the demonstrations were largely peaceful, nine were arrested in clashes between police and protesters.

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