Singapore surge, France to extend pass use

·3-min read

The French government is seeking to extend the compulsory use of its coronavirus pass while German authorities plan to halt sick pay for unvaccinated people as Singapore registers its record highest number of daily infections.

French officials want to be able to impose use of the health passport after mid-November.

In France, it is only possible to visit restaurants and museums or travel by long-distance train if one has a negative coronavirus test, has recovered from COVID-19 or has been vaccinated as documented in the health passport.

The current regulation, however, is temporary.

Government spokesman Gabriel Attal said in Paris on Wednesday that the possibility to use the health passport in case of an epidemic situation would have to be extended.

In the fight against a fourth coronavirus wave, French President Emmanuel Macron had announced stricter measures in the summer, including the obligation to provide the health passport.

Attal defended it as a very efficient tool.

Without it, many facilities would have had to close in the middle of summer.

Due to an improving infection situation, slightly looser rules are to apply from October 4.

In districts with a seven-day incidence below 50, the obligation to wear a mask in primary school will be waived, Attal said.

In addition, there will no longer be any upper limits at events or in buildings in these areas.

The number of coronavirus infections in France has been declining for weeks.

Most recently, approximately 74 new cases were reported for every 100,000 people infected within one week.

More than 70 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated against the virus.

Meanwhile, Germany will stop sick pay for unvaccinated people who have to go into quarantine because of COVID-19.

Previously, people in the country could claim for income lost due to having to go into quarantine after returning from abroad or coming into contact with a positive case.

Health Minister Jens Spahn said the move was a matter of "fairness," arguing that by the time the new rule comes into force on November 1, everyone who wants a vaccine will have had an opportunity to get the jab.

Those who choose not to "will need to bear responsibility for this then, including the financial costs," he said.

Germany has fully vaccinated 63.4 per cent of its population.

The government said it wanted to achieve a vaccination rate of 75 per cent to prevent a sharp rise in cases during the winter months.

Singapore's health ministry on Wednesday reported three coronavirus-related deaths and 1457 new infections, a record number for a single day.

The fatalities took the death toll in the 5.7-million-population city-state to 68 while the new cases took the cumulative number to more than 81,000.

The previous daily case record of just over 1400 was reported on April 20 last year during Singapore's sole pandemic lockdown.

Two of the three people reported as dead on Wednesday were unvaccinated, the ministry said.

Of the almost 1100 people hospitalised with the virus, 145 are getting oxygen support, the ministry added.

Singapore had until recently avoided the worst of the Delta-variant coronavirus surge that has hit neighbouring countries such as Malaysia.

More than 82 per cent of adults in Singapore have been double-jabbed, with more than 97 per cent of the roughly 14,000 people infected over the past 28 days displaying mild symptoms or none, the ministry said.

with DPA

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