France is currently facing down a “fourth wave” of coronavirus infections, and vaccination coverage so far is “insufficient,” a government spokesman has said. Meanwhile, a bill has passed mandating jabs for certain professions.

“We have entered a fourth wave of the virus,” government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Monday. Though the daily number of new cases remains around four times lower than in April, Attal said that the rate of increase is picking up. 

“We are starting from the bottom but this wave can go up very quickly and it can go up very high,” he said, noting that the current incidence rate of 86 cases per 100,000 people represents an increase of 125% over last week.

#France enters a 4th #COVID19 wave according to the Gov spokesperson. ‘Vaccination coverage remains insufficient’ said Gabriel Attal as the Council of Ministers approved a new bill that will extend the health pass & make jabs compulsory for some professions.

Attal spoke after France’s Council of Ministers voted to adopt a bill extending the country’s health pass and implementing mandatory vaccination for certain workers, for example those in the healthcare sector. The health pass, which records vaccination status or a recent negative test result, is currently needed to enter leisure venues with more than 60 people, and will be necessary from next month to enter bars and restaurants or travel on trains.

The measures, announced last week by President Emmanuel Macron, have proven unpopular. Protesters took to the streets of French cities last week to decry the “vaccine passports,” with rioting and arson breaking out at some locations. 

More than 100,000 demonstrators came out again on Sunday to show their anger at Macron and demand the resignation of the president who once swore he’d never introduce health passes or mandatory vaccinations.

In his address last week announcing these measures, Macron said that if inoculation rates do not pick up, he will “ask the question of compulsory vaccination for all French people.” 

Some 24.2 million people in France, or 36% of the entire population, are now fully vaccinated, according to World Health Organization data. Speaking to Le Parisien on Saturday, Attal said that “from now on it’s either general vaccination, or a viral tsunami. There is no alternative.” 

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!