Macron breaks ranks with EU in refusing to lock down unvaccinated French citizens

This comes as COVID-19 infection rates soar across the continent and increasingly stringent measures returning to neighbouring countries. Austria is gearing up to become the first country in Europe to bring back full lockdowns in the wake of vaccination campaigns, with the regions hitting the highest infection numbers adopting the measure once again.

An existing lockdown of unvaccinated people in Austria is already in place.

On Thursday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced that Germany will curb the freedoms of those who remain unvaccinated in an effort to bring down infection rates.

The Chancellor said: “Many of the measures that are now needed would not have been needed if more people were vaccinated.

“And it isn’t too late to get vaccinated now.”

Mr Macron, speaking to daily regional paper La Voix du Nord, said: “Those countries locking down the non-vaccinated are those which have not put in place the (health) pass.

“Therefore this step is not necessary in France.”

For those out and about in public in France, the health pass is required to show proof of vaccination, recent recovery from COVID-19 or a recent negative coronavirus test result.

It is needed to visit social hubs like restaurants, cafes, or go to the cinema.

READ MORE: French doctors urge against jabs for certain children

This measure was met with dissent from many when it was announced in a televised address by the French Prime Minister earlier this month.

In the speech, Mr Macron warned that the fifth wave of the coronavirus pandemic was sweeping Europe, citing rising case numbers in France and cautioning viewers that the “pandemic is not over.”

Echoing the later words of Ms Merkel, he urged the population: “To those not yet vaccinated: get vaccinated.

“Get vaccinated to protect yourselves. Get vaccinated to live normally.”

Mr Macron announced in his speech that those aged 50 and over will be eligible for this booster as of next month and that the currently eligible will soon have to produce proof of receipt of their booster to keep their health pass valid.

Mr Macron’s long-time political rival, right-wing presidential candidate Marine Le Pen, slammed Mr Macron’s half-hour speech.

She said: “The third dose will therefore have been nothing more than an excuse to make a campaign speech in which almost all the statements are highly questionable.

“Unemployment, insecurity, purchasing power… Macron’s parallel world is far from the realities that the French live in!”

This comes ahead of the looming French presidential elections in April 2022.