The Senate restores health care at the borders in the event of new variants emerging

In the National Assembly, Article 2 of 13th the government’s health law since the start of the pandemic, “had known an eventful fate”, euphemized the new health minister, François Braun, on the occasion of his first step in the senate’s half year. While the government wanted to reserve the option of requiring a “travel health certificate” for “extra hexagonal” travel, by requesting proof of a complete vaccination plan, a negative test or a recovery certificate, the unit had been simply suppressed by the opposition of the National Assembly, overall voices from Nupes, RN and LR.

To find out more: Crossing borders, unvaccinated carers: how the Health Bill developed in Senate committees

The Senate Law Committee had reintroduced the device, but with some notable changes: for travelers from abroad, only the appearance of a new variant “likely to pose a serious health threat” could justify the activation of this device, while travelers to overseas France could only be asked a negative test if local health systems are saturated. During the session, the possibility of requiring a test for overseas travelers traveling to the metropolis was also added, after a fairly close vote, despite the positive statements from the Commission and the Government. A “responsible spirit” was welcomed by the health minister, who immediately said he was ready “to compromise without compromising.”

“Travel health certificate” on the emergence of a new variant

During the session, Philippe Bas, rapporteur for the bill, therefore defended the new wording proposed by the Law Commission, arguing that such an entity was in fact a more “flexible” alternative than banning flights from such or such a country: “No one can predict what will happen.If we do nothing and we do not vote for this article, the only alternative is to cancel flights or quarantine all travelers.We do not want our compatriots kept in the country of origin of the variant, so if a “If negative tests have been carried out, they will be able to go on board. It is a measure of flexibility in relation to the brutal means that the state could implement.”

Some members of the LR group, who had already signed a forum “for the immediate revocation of the health card”, are concerned about the return of what they consider to be a “health passport”, such as Laurence Muller-Bronn: “Send population to a passport to protect her is lying to her. It’s useless, and politically it means maintaining a harmful discourse about irresponsible citizens who are not really citizens that we really want to pillage. ” the benches of his group, Philippe Bas thus appeals “to reason”: “If this very marginal and extraordinary case arises, we would prefer targeted sorting rather than a device to ban the flight of these aircraft towards France.”

“Tonight you have practiced smoking in front of many groups in this assembly”

If the “travel health certificate” in the case of the emergence of new variants or hospital saturation in the overseas territories in principle seemed to have conquered a majority of senators, Philippe Bas was put in much more difficulty for this, which is the choice of the negative test as the only resort. To justify the exclusion of evidence of vaccination or a certificate of reinstatement of the equipment, the rapporteur explains that with the new variants “vaccination protects only against pollution in a minority of cases”, and that consequently “to protect our borders from the appearance of a new virus, it is better to do a negative test, even if it is more restrictive. “A reasoning that struggles to pass on a series of benches in the half cycle, especially on the left. “The message about the effectiveness of the vaccine does not seem very appropriate to us,” protests Jean-Yves Leconte, PS senator for French people living outside France, who recalls that in some countries PCR tests are expensive and may deter some from return to France if they were to fly, even vaccinated. Bernard Jomier also considers that the rapporteur’s reasoning is “neither scientific nor political”.

Patrick Kanner even goes so far as to question the sincerity of Philippe Bass’ position on the subject: “There are many forest fires in this country at the moment, and this evening you practiced smoking in front of many groups in this assembly. A political situation binds you to another group in the National Assembly. The chairman of the Socialist Group thus insinuates that the rapporteur’s position would be a compromise with the LR Group of the Assembly, which had voted against Article 2 at the meeting. Jean-Pierre Sueur, Socialist Senator, commits: “48 hours ago you fully agreed to have the three modalities of this health certificate [test, vaccination et certificat de rétablissement, ndlr]. It is hard not to believe that the complex situation in the Assembly may lead some to imagine that our debates here should be directed to favor this or that group in the National Assembly. But it should not affect what we do here independently. »

“If we want some guarantee that no passengers board covid, we will test the whole plane”

Eventually, the left fell back on the amendment by Philippe Bonnecarrère, from the centrist group member of the senatorial majority, which Minister François Braun considered to be best-designed and which allowed travelers who may be concerned simply to provide evidence of vaccination or a resume certificate. Without success. The majority of senators finally had to resort to a public vote to reject the amendment, by 151 votes to 187. A result that did not fail to welcome the majority of senators, who were the most reticent of the various health services introduced by the government since the beginning of the crisis.

“I am very pleased that rapporteur Bas is implicitly saying that the best health pass is through testing tests. Let’s not continue with something that worked in the beginning and that works less and less “, for example, Alain Houpert (LR) welcomed with his center colleague Loïc Hervé:” If we want a certain guarantee, regardless of the vaccination status, that no passengers board with covid, the entire aircraft has been tested and other devices, such as the recovery or vaccination certificate, are excluded. I am very attached to Philippe Bass’s writing. Finally, it is in fact Article 2, as the rapporteur in the committee imagines, that seems to be winning, with a few marginal amendments. It is still unknown what will be left of this writing after the joint committee that will be held on Thursday at. 14.00, within which the right wing will have plenty to assert its position, especially if the LR groups in the Assembly and the Senate effectively coordinated

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