COVID-19 Vaccine
(Photo : Unsplash/ Patrick Perkins) covid-19 protest

COVID-19 conspiracy theories have reached millions of people worldwide. It has caused debates on whether the government is being reasonable with requiring vaccination and health passes to travel and visit public spaces.

The latest example of the effects of COVID-19 conspiracy theories is the rally in France on July 17 that more than 100,000 people attended.

The French protested President Emmanuel Macron's plans of requiring a health pass to access public places like cinemas, restaurants, and cafes.

COVID-19 Conspiracy Theories Effects

Conspiracy theories have fueled the opposition to making proof of COVID-19 vaccination mandatory, aside from the concerns about civil liberties.

The French government announced that beginning July 21, a health pass will be needed for people to access leisure and cultural venues.

From the beginning of August, the health pass will be required on long-distance public transport, outdoor terraces, and shopping centers as well.

Also Read: Truth About 5G Coronavirus Conspiracy Theory: Here's What Experts Say

The health pass must include the QR code that proves a person has been fully vaccinated, or it must include results from a negative antigen test taken in the last two days.

France's COVID-19 cases have rebounded as the Delta variant has spread in the country, with the average number of new cases per day soaring almost 11,000 from the recorded 2,000 cases per day in June.

The rise in cases prompted President Macron to announce the health pass restrictions.

However, the move was welcomed by the opposition. Around 137 rallies took place in the country on July 17, gathering 114,000 demonstrators.

Many believe that obligating people to be vaccinated if they want access to public places is an infringement of their rights. A protestor told Reuters that President Macron has no right to decide on people's individual health.

Another protestor told AP that even though he is not an anti-vaxxer, the state should not coerce people to get vaccinated, adding that the government is "going too far."

Some politicians have echoed the same sentiments. Francois-Xavier Bellamy, a young MEP for the conservative Les Republicains party, and Loic Herve, the vice-president of the Senate's Centrists bloc, wrote a joint opinion piece in Le Figaro this week in which they laid out their reasons for opposing the health pass.

The politicians wrote that opposing the health pass does not make them an anti-vaxxer. The problem with the health pass is that people will have to present a document in order to do the most simple things.

Extremes on Both Sides

The far-right National Rally party leader, Marine Le Pen, said that President Macron's plans are a backward step for personal freedom.

Meanwhile, Jean-Luc Melenchon, the leader of the extreme-left France Unbowed, said that the health pass is an abuse of power.

Francois Ruffin, from the LFI firebrand, urged people to rally. He said that the health pass is a means of humiliation coming from an absolute monarchy in the form of Marcon's government.

Le Pen's former right-hand man and the leader of the right-wing populist Les Patriotes party, Florian Philippot, said that they would demonstrate the power of the people in the face of a disgrace.

Other populists have argued against the health pass on civil grounds, avoiding anti-vax statements.

Related Article: COVID-19 Update: France Is Officially Working on 'StopCOVID' Contact-Tracing App, Minister Says

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Written by Sophie Webster

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