France to introduce vaccination pass in early January as Omicron spreadsA demonstrator holds a placard that reads “No to the health passport” as people attend a demonstration called by French political party “Les Patriotes” against COVID-19 health pass as France sees an increase in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases and hospitalisations, in Paris, France, December 18, 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier

PARIS— France will pass a law transforming its health pass needed to exercise some professions and to go to cinemas and bars into a “vaccination” pass in the first half of January, the government said on Tuesday (Dec 21).

“The wave awaiting us will be high,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal told journalists, adding that the Omicron variant accounts for 20 per cent of new COVID-19 infections in France and is spreading rapidly, particularly in the Paris region.

He added that in the last 24 hours, France had registered around 73,000 new infections.

The main aim of a vaccination pass will be to do away with the option of obtaining a valid certificate by testing negative instead of having the jabs.

However, the government ditched the idea of making the pass mandatory at the workplace, a measure France’s Labour Minister had tested out in recent talks with unions and employers.

“There is no consensus for this measure”, Attal said.

A draft law will be discussed by the government in an off-schedule meeting on Monday, and subject to a vote in parliament in the first two weeks of January, Attal said, speeding up an initial government plan to pass the new law by late January.

In contrast to other European governments, Attal on Tuesday ruled out further restrictions, saying that the country had the means to battle the next wave of cases with its vaccination campaign and mass testing and reinforced controls.