Sat. Jan 22nd, 2022

A planned vote on the bill was delayed after opponents rallied to suspend parliamentary talks overnight.

France has backed legislation requiring vaccine adoptions by mid-January, despite the bill hitting a procedural hook in parliament overnight.

European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told LCI television on Tuesday that January 15 remains the “goal” for the law to come into force.

His remarks came after tension parliamentary discussions on the bill was halted Monday after midnight, when a majority of deputies voted to suspend the session before an expected vote.

Pro-government politicians, who hold a majority of seats in parliament, were surprised and were not present in sufficient numbers in the chamber to block the motion.

Until now, France has enforced a COVID-19 health pass, meaning people must show either a new negative test or proof of vaccination to gain access to restaurants, cafes and trains.

The new legislation will remove the option to show a negative test, effectively banning unvaccinated people over the age of 12 from gaining access to such venues and services.

The government is trying to push the bill forward, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant of COVID-19 is causing a record surge in infections nationwide, with new daily cases regularly passing the 200,000 marks the past week.

Race against Omicron

Despite the increase in cases, vaccine pass legislation has met with strong resistance from campaigners against vaccination as well as far-right and far-left groups.

Some politicians who support the bill say they are subject to aggression, including vandalism and violent threats.

The heads of the various parliamentary groups will arrange new debates on the legislation to resume, said Annie Genevard, the vice-president of the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament.

Once approved in the House of Commons, the Senate will vote on the new law, before it takes effect.

“The minister of relations with parliament and members of parliament will discuss the timetable today. We can put the National Assembly and Parliament over the weekend to accelerate. We have to move fast, ”said Beaune.

France has so far vaccinated 77 percent of its population and is pushing booster shots in an effort to Omicron. But more than four million adults remain unvaccinated, including more than one million people over the age of 65.

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