ANKARA: Checks in France for mandatory health passes designed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic turned up 11,000 fake passes, the country’s interior minister said Wednesday.
Checks for the health pass – a digital proof of vaccination or negative RT-PCR test result for entering public places – were tightened due to rising infections, Gerald Darmanin told TV channel France 2.
Darmanin said 400 people were detained during the checks, adding that networks providing the passes were also found.
People caught with fake health passes who admit to their mistake will not face charges, he said.
The health pass policy, which began this August, requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination – or a negative PCR test performed in the last 72 hours, or recovery from coronavirus in the past six months – for entry to indoor venues with a capacity of more than 50 people, including restaurants, cafeterias, movie theaters, museums and amusement parks.
Under the same policy, healthcare workers and firefighters were also required to be vaccinated by Sept. 15, a move that was met by large protests.
To push the 6 million unvaccinated people toward getting the jab, the government also reduced the validity of RT-PCR tests to 24 hours beginning Nov. 29.
Earlier, the unvaccinated could gain access to the health pass to enter restaurants or take long-distance trains and flights through RT-PCR tests taken 72 hours in advance.
Wearing face masks will also be compulsory as of Nov. 26, in all enclosed settings, public places, and large venues like outdoor Christmas markets.
France also ordered nightclubs and discotheques to close for one month beginning Dec. 10 to stem a surge in coronavirus cases.
In France, the rate of positive COVID-19 tests climbed to 6.7%, according to the latest data.
While the number of people cases in the country to date was nearly 8.4 million, the total number of virus-related deaths reached nearly 121,000.–Anadolu