Speaking on Wednesday at the opening of the Health Defense Council, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated his aim that all French people who can get the vaccine, elect to do so.
The president’s call came amid what he described as a “more than delicate health situation” in France, largely due to the increasing prevalence of the Delta variant.
“We exceeded the 9,200 hospitalizations for Covid at the start of the week, a level that we had not reached since June; the threshold of 1,600 patients has also been crossed,” he added.
Macron talked of the need for greater “mobilization” adding that there will be many more months of living with the virus.
The president also registered his concern for the state of the pandemic in French overseas territories such as the Caribbean islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe.
“The situation is dramatic,” Macron said, adding that only 20% of people over the age of twelve are completely vaccinated in these territories. He noted that around 66% were vaccinated in mainland France.
The increasing prevalence of more contagious forms of the virus is seriously testing hospital capacity in the French West Indies, the president asserted, adding that they were close to saturation point.
In recent months, Macron’s popularity has been weakened, especially among younger age groups, as the government has sought to develop a long-term plan for living with Covid-19, including the use of health passports.
On Monday, after a fourth weekend of mass protests, the government extended its use of the vaccine passport to include restaurants and bars. Since July 21, the ‘pass sanitaire’ (health pass) has already been required for entry into certain cultural institutions and venues, such as museums and cinemas.