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COVID-19 ‘health passports’ now required to visit Eiffel Tower, French museums, movie theaters

Visitors to France’s world-famous museums, theaters, sporting venues and tourist attractions — such as the Eiffel Tower — now need to show proof of vaccination, have a recent negative test, or prove that they have recently recovered from an infection.

The measure is part of a nationwide campaign against a recent spike in new cases caused by the highly infectious delta variant.

Starting on July 20, France’s so-called “passe-sanitaire” (health passport) became required for people to enter any events or places with more than 50 people, President Emmanuel Macron announced in a televised address.

In August, the pass will also be required in restaurants, cafes and shopping areas, France 24 reported.

“We are in the fourth wave” of infections, Prime Minister Jean Castex said during an interview Wednesday on TF1 television.

“This famous delta variant is here. It’s the majority one, and it is much more contagious,” he added.

On Tuesday, France reported 18,000 new cases of the deadly coronavirus, and 96% of the cases involved people who weren’t vaccinated. That’s a spike of 140% in one week, he said.

The solution is “vaccination, vaccination, vaccination,” Castex noted.

The new rule, which came into effect on Wednesday, caught some tourists by surprise. Some who were planning to ride up the Eiffel Tower had to line up for a virus test at the site.

Some of them — including Johnny Nielsen, a Danish tourist traveling with his wife and two children — said they didn’t mind the government’s requirement.

“In Denmark, you need the pass everywhere,” he told The Associated Press.

Others, including an American tourist traveling with his mother, slammed the new requirements as “violations to your freedom.”

“I wanted to come here with my mom so I had to take the test to be able to travel,” Juan Truque, an accountant visiting from Miami, told the AP.

“They are forcing you to wear face masks and do similar kinds of things that are some kind of impositions,” added Truque, who is not vaccinated.

—Al Jazeera

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