President Emmanuel Macron has cancelled a Dec. 20 to 21 trip to Mali to visit French troops due to France’s deteriorating health situation over the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, his office said.
“This decision was taken in order for there to be coherence between national measures and the president’s international agenda, and in order not to expose troops,” Macron’s office said.
With France in the grip of its fifth COVID-19 wave, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced a new push on Friday to get people vaccinated and said people would have to show proof of vaccination to enter some venues.
Castex also said France would from next month reduce the time between second and third COVID-19 vaccination injections to four months.
The gap between shots is currently five months but the French government is concerned about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant.
Castex said that big public parties and fireworks would be banned on New Year’s Eve and recommended that people – even if vaccinated – test themselves before attending year-end parties.
To increase pressure on people to get vaccinated, the government will present a bill early next year to change the French health pass into a vaccination pass.
That means people will have to be vaccinated to enter restaurants or use long-distance public transport.
Castex also cancelled a trip planned to visit French troops stationed in Jordan from Dec. 31 to Jan. 1. (Reuters/NAN)