Professional athletes will have to be vaccinated or recently recovered from COVID to participate in competitions in France, the health minister stressed, a month ahead of the Six Nations rugby tournament.
French lawmakers approved on Sunday evening a law transforming the COVID health pass into a vaccine pass. This means only vaccinated people, or people who have recently recovered from the disease, will be able to visit bars, restaurants, culture and leisure venues, large fairs or use long-distance domestic public transport when previously a negative COVID-19 test also granted access.
The measure is expected to come into force on 24 January.
Sports Minister Roxana Maracineanu emphasised on Twitter on Sunday evening that “as soon as the law is promulgated, it [the vaccine pass] will become compulsory to enter Establishments Receiving Public (ERP) already subject to the health pass (stadium, theatre or exhibition) for all spectators, athletes, French or foreign professionals.”
The comment comes after the debacle in Australia over Novak Djokovic’s visa. The unvaccinated tennis ace had been granted a medical exemption to defend his Australian Open title on the ground that he tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-December but judges overruled that decision and cancelled his visa.