(MENAFN- Trend News Agency)
France will introduce new vaccine passport rules for visitors to cafes and restaurants from next week, the government announced tonight, Trend reports citing Daily Mail .
In a live TV address on Thursday evening, Prime Minister Jean Castex said the controversial new document will become compulsory for those who want to visit cafes, restaurants and a range of other businesses from next week.
Meanwhile, Austria's lower house of parliament passed a bill on Thursday making COVID-19 vaccinations compulsory for adults as of Febuary 1.
The bill's passage brings Austria closer to introducing the first such sweeping coronavirus vaccine mandate in the European Union.
The moves from France and Austria come amid surging Covid-19 cases on the continent, driven by the highly infectious Omicron variant.
Official data shows cases rocketing in France, and on the rise in the likes of Portugal, Germany, Austria, Sweden and the Czech Republic. Cases are also high in Italy and Spain, although they appear to have levelled-off in recent days.
But as cases rise on the continent, Britain's Covid figures demonstrate that an end is in sight. Having peaked in early January, the UK now has one of the lower rates.
Until now, a negative Covid test was sufficient for people in France to enter cafes, restaurants and other hospitality businesses, but a double vaccination and booster jab will from next week become essential to obtain a passport.
'The vaccination pass will come into effect next Monday,' said Mr Castex. 'This wave is not over, but things are involving positively.'
France hit a new daily record for Covid infections on Tuesday, registering nearly half a million fresh cases.
Mr Castex's country revealed 464,769 cases over the previous 24 hours, despite a series of diktats being imposed in a desperate bid to curb the rising case numbers.
These included forcing children as young as six to wear masks, and banning drinking while standing up in cafes or bars.
Mr Castex said such measures would be scrapped within the next two weeks, but vaccinations for 12 to 17 years olds will start on January 24.
The Prime Minister added: 'We also need to advance the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11'.
Masks will no longer have to be worn outside from February 2, and there will also be a winding down of people working from home.
France's hardline passport measures are in stark contrast to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's approach.
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