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French protests call for 'freedom' amid government vaccine push

Thousands of people marched around France to protest President Emmanuel Macron's plans to force vaccination of health workers and require a COVID-19 free certificate to enter places such as restaurants and cinemas.

Macron this week announced sweeping measures to fight a rapid surge in new coronavirus infections, which protesters say infringe the freedom of choice of those who do not want the COVID shot.

The measure had already prompted demonstrations earlier this week, forcing the police to use tear gas to disperse protesters on Bastille Day.

The fast-spreading Delta variant risks undermining economic recoveries if allowed to spiral out of control, forcing some governments to rethink their COVID-19 strategies just as citizens start their summer holidays. Some 55.1% of the French have had a single dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday and 44.26% are fully inoculated - not enough to stop the virus' spread.

After falling from more than 42,000 per day in mid-April to less than 2,000 per day in late June, the average number of new infections in France has rebounded again, standing now at nearly 11,000 per day.

Earlier, Prime Minister Jean Castex's office said France would reinforce restrictions on unvaccinated travellers from a series of countries to counter a rebound in COVID-19 infections, while opening its doors to those who have received all their shots.

(Source: Reuters) 

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