Paris cancels fireworks and New Year’s Eve concert

Two people walk next to the Louvre pyramid. / Efe

The opposition attacks the government’s decision to apply the vaccination certificate in January to avoid the impact of the pandemic on hospitals

BEATRIZ JUDGE Correspondent in Paris

The Paris City Council has decided to cancel the fireworks and concert scheduled for December 31 on the Champs Elysees due to the increase in Covid-19 infections and the rapid expansion of the omicron variant in France. Coinciding with the fifth wave of the pandemic, French Prime Minister Jean Castex on Thursday urged municipalities to cancel the events scheduled for New Year’s Eve, during which the consumption of alcohol on public roads will also be prohibited to avoid crowds.

This is not the first time that the coronavirus has spoiled the party for the French. In 2020, year-end celebrations were also banned. Although the Government lifted the curfew on Christmas Eve last year so that families could reunite at Christmas, it kept it on New Year’s Eve, considering then that the end of the year “concentrates all the ingredients for an epidemic rebound.”

This time there will be no curfew at the end of the year, but the Government has recommended that the French do not hold large gatherings of family and friends during Christmas to avoid the multiplication of infections.

On the other hand, several candidates for the presidential elections in April criticized the Executive’s decision to transform the health certificate into a vaccination certificate as of January. ‘The French are widely vaccinated. The hardening with this vaccination certificate has one objective: to establish a vaccine class struggle, in order to prevent the French from becoming interested in the issues in which Emmanuel Macron is in difficulties, “wrote the far-right candidate Éric Zemmour on Twitter .

“Brutal” methods

The far-right Marine Le Pen considers that the certificate is “in reality a vaccination obligation” that “condemns the French who are not vaccinated to social death.” Le Pen assures that it is “a disproportionate measure in total break with all the promises made by the Government.” And Jean-Luc Mélenchon, leader of La Francia Insumisa (the French Podemos) denounced “the brutal methods” of the Macron Executive when imposing this measure.

The French Government is preparing a bill so that the Covid certificate is only valid for vaccinated people or those who have had the disease. Currently in France this document can also be obtained with a negative PCR or antigen test of less than 24 hours.

“The vaccination certificate is a covert form of compulsory vaccination”, recognized yesterday the Minister of Health, Olivier Véran. “It is simple. Is clear. It is sharp. We want the French to get vaccinated, “added Véran, who said that the idea” is not to punish “the unvaccinated, but to avoid a very strong wave of sick people in hospitals.

The Executive has accelerated vaccination against Covid-19 in recent days, coinciding with a rebound in the pandemic and the threat of the omicron strain, which already extends to more than 88 countries. French Health estimates that some five million French people are not yet vaccinated and, therefore, are exposed to a greater risk. Verán announced that the booster dose will be mandatory starting January 30 for medical personnel, firefighters and nursing home workers. French people who want to keep their health certificate will also have to have the third dose.

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Paris cancels fireworks and New Year’s Eve concert