Health bill: the last word in the Senate … and on the right

Health bill: the last word in the Senate … and on the right

Parliament will definitively adopt on Tuesday, by a final vote of the Senate, a bill rewritten by the right, which explicitly puts an end to the health pass and other exceptional measures against COVID-19 on August 1, but provides for a possible test. mandatory at borders.

The first bill thus validated under the new legislature, this text bears the mark of the new parliamentary configuration which obliges the government to seek agreements beyond the presidential majority, in particular with Les Républicains, the first group in the Senate.

It was voted on for the last time on Monday by the National Assembly, in its version from the Senate then approved by a joint committee of deputies and senators.

The left denounced an agreement reached in advance between the presidential majority and LR.

In the hemicycle of the Palais Bourbon, the vote was won by 184 votes against 149. The PS and LR groups voted for with the majority, the RN, LFI, communist and LIOT (independent) groups deciding against and the ecologists choosing abstention.

French Minister of Health François Braun in Paris, July 11, 2022 (AFP – JOEL SAGET)

“Faced with an unprecedented political situation (…) we have no other choice to move our country forward than to reach compromises while respecting everyone’s convictions”, declared the Minister of Health François Braun .

The bill provides for the express repeal from August 1 of the emergency regimes – state of emergency and management of the health crisis.

The only reservation is that the government may impose, in very specific cases, a negative Covid screening test when boarding in the direction of French territory and for overseas trips.

The measure is very different from what the government had initially planned. Opposition from right and left had inflicted a serious setback on him, by rejecting a possible health pass at the borders from or to abroad, but also between France, Corsica and the overseas territories, during the first reading on July 12.

This key article has undergone a serious facelift by the LR rapporteur Philippe Bas in order to dispel the “unease” created among his LR colleagues.

– “Path to reintegration” –

The travel health certificate could only be activated for international travel in the event of the appearance of a particularly dangerous variant of Covid in a country. Or for trips to overseas communities in the event of a risk of hospital saturation.

Two points were particularly discussed: the age of application, from 12 years old, and especially the fact that the senators only retained as a valid document the negative screening test. Exit the certificate of vaccination or cure.

Socialists and centrists regretted a bad message in terms of public health vis-à-vis vaccination, some even castigating a gesture towards antivax.

Senator LR Philippe Bas in Paris on May 7, 2022 (AFP - Ludovic MARIN)
Senator LR Philippe Bas in Paris on May 7, 2022 (AFP – Ludovic MARIN)

“I solemnly reaffirm that the vaccine is essential because it reduces the severity of the disease and avoids catching it in certain cases,” said Mr Bas in an attempt to cut short the criticism.

Another very controversial point is the question of the reintegration of unvaccinated caregivers. The Senate has “created a path towards the reintegration” of suspended personnel, in the words of its rapporteur, who again pleads pragmatism.

According to the text, the vaccination obligation for caregivers will be suspended as soon as the High Authority for Health deems that it is no longer justified, and non-vaccinated caregivers will then be “immediately reinstated”.

In any case, it will not be for tomorrow. The HAS took the lead on Friday, saying it was “in favor of maintaining the obligation to vaccinate against (the) COVID-19 for personnel working in health and medico-social establishments”.

Finally, the text makes it possible to extend the tools for monitoring the SI-DEP and Contact Covid epidemic.

Mr. Bas hoped that the work on this bill could “illustrate a process in which the Senate fully plays its stabilizing role”.

The next two texts on purchasing power which are on the menu of the High Assembly from this week could be a new test of this new dimension called for by the senatorial majority.

Source

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