France: Passerby fumes at Jean Castex in Carcassonne
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The handling of the Covid pandemic in France has sparked fury throughout the country, and frustration is boiling over around an inability for a normal return to life following another lockdown. Fury has exploded at Emmanuel Macron’s Government over the introduction of a new health pass showing proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, which is now required for entering restaurants, trains and other public places. Over the past four weekends, protestors have marched throughout the country against the newly-introduced measure, arguing it restricts freedom.
Since July 12, 22 health facilities have been attacked by vandals, including 15 vaccination centres, five COVID-19 test centres and one medical lab, the Interior Ministry said.
But Prime Minister Jean Castex came in for a furious verbal attack from an irate voter as he walked down a street during a visit to Carcassonne, a hilltop town in southern France’s Languedoc area.
He had held a meeting with professionals from the hotel and catering industry, followed by a videoconference with the Health Defence Council.
However, as Mr Castex strolled through the streets of Carcassonne, he was confronted by a raging passer-by.
The woman shouted: “You are killing France, you are killing France!
“And traders, you are killing them! And all craftsmen, you are killing as well, they are dying!”
The Prime Minister attempted to reply: “I don’t think so, madam.”
But the woman quickly continued: “And on top of that, you parade here while we are being treated like dogs. We are trying to survive.
“People can no longer come and go as they wish.
“I believe we could eat on a terrace without infecting anyone, whether vaccinated or not.”
Mr Castex then told her: “It’s not true, and I’m not parading.
“We are not killing anyone, on the contrary, we are trying to save them. You are mistaken.”
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Putting an end to the discussion, the furious woman: “In any case, your vaccine is not a vaccine.”
Mr Macron’s rivals from Les Patriotes, the French nationalist and hard Eurosceptic political party, also took to Twitter to throw their support behind the arguments made by the woman.
Les Patriotes President Florian Philippot, who is also a strong Frexit campaigner, retweeted the video of the confrontation and wrote: “‘You are killing France!’ says this courageous Frenchwoman to Jean Castex.
“Well done! You are 100 times right!”
Joffrey Bollée, the chief of staff for Mr Philippot, retweeted the same clip and wrote: “This woman is 100% right.
“Everything is empty (restaurants, bars, cinemas, shops, etc.)! Evicting millions of French people from leisure activities in the middle of summer with their ‘Shame Pass’ and killing tourism is economically criminal and does not protect absolutely anyone from the virus.”
The latest fury directed towards Mr Macron’s Government comes with French health authorities reporting daily new Covid infections had jumped above 30,000 for the first time since the end of April.
A total of 30,920 new daily infections were reported on Wednesday – just as France prepares to exit its third national lockdown.
The seven-day moving average of daily new cases now stands at 23,288 – topping the 23,000 limit for the first time since May 1.
That figure is also 13 times higher than a low of 1,816 reported on June 27 as the more contagious Delta variant continues to wreak havoc throughout the country.
On Wednesday, Government spokesman Gabriel Attal warned there are no signs of new Covid infections receding.
He told a news conference: “The level of virus circulation is high.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega.
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