Macron sees fights with UK as ‘good politics’ says Anand Menon
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The French president announced on Twitter that France administered ten million COVID-19 jabs over the last month. He accompanied this with a graph showing France overtaking the US and Germany on a key vaccine metric.
The graph states 67.5 percent of the French population have received at least one coronavirus dose, versus 62.8 percent for Germany and 59.6 percent for the US.
At the beginning of July, France was lagging significantly behind both nations.
Mr Macron said: “Together we will get there.
“Because together France is stronger, more united, more civil, more responsible. Let’s get vaccinated. We are France.”
However, Bild, a popular German tabloid, pointed out Germany has fully vaccinated a higher proportion of its population.
It said: “What Macron didn’t say, however: France is still behind Germany when it comes to people who are fully vaccinated (51 compared to 56.1 percent).”
France has introduced controversial Covid health passes, which are required if citizens wish to spend time in restaurants, go on trains and visit many other public areas.
These indicate whether a person has been vaccinated, recovered from coronavirus or had a negative Covid test.
Speaking to Le Parisien, French health minister Olivier Veran admitted the passes are designed to boost the pressure to get vaccinated.
He said: “It’s an incitement to people to get vaccinated, get tested or not to go to places were there are a lot of people.”
COVID-19 jabs have been shown to be highly effective at preventing death and serious illness amongst those who catch coronavirus.
Earlier this week vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi claimed jabs have prevented 60,000 deaths, and 66,900 hospitalisations, across the UK.
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However, the passes have proven controversial, with large and sometimes violent protests across France.
French authorities estimate 237,000 people took to the streets over the weekend of 7-8 August.
Mr Veran hit out at the influence of those who are “anti-vax, anti-science and anti-state”.
He added: “Whatever the number of protesters, it will still be lower than the number of French who at the very same time are getting vaccinated who represented twice as many on Saturday.
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“I’m prepared to listen to their fears and do everything to reassure them, but there comes a point when enough is enough.”
French police have been instructed to step up security after a number of Covid vaccination sites and test centres were attacked.
Gerald Darmanin, the interior minister, has written to French police demanding stronger action.
Figures from his ministry show vandalism at 15 vaccine centres, and five test sites, since July 12.
Mr Veran has strongly condemned the violence.
He said: “In recent weeks, while once again responding to the call to vaccinate the population and to increase our testing capacity in order to curb the epidemic, several of our professionals have been cowardly attacked for doing their job.
“I will not accept any violence, intimidation, attack on their physical integrity or their professional tools. To attack our health professionals is to attack the nation.”
Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg.
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