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A Maître d’ scans a customers Covid -19 vaccine certificate at a restaurant last month in Paris. (Kiran Ridley/Getty Images)

Professor Alain Fischer, France’s top vaccine strategist, told lawmakers Wednesday that the Covid-19 situation in the country could permit scrapping the country’s vaccine pass by the end of March.

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Fischer said that for the vaccine pass to be removed, France would need an incidence rate that is “10 or 20 times less than today” and that hospitals can no longer be overburdened.

“That can change quickly,” said Fischer, the chairman of the French vaccine strategy advisory board. “We should get there by the end of March, beginning of April.”

France’s vaccine pass law requires people to have proof of full vaccination to access a wide range of everyday activities, like visiting restaurants and bars as well as long-distance public transport between regions.

Speaking to journalists on Wednesday regarding the Covid-19 situation, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said, “The situation improves before us and allows us to look forward with a certain optimism.”

“There is the beginning of an improvement in the situation in hospitals,” Attal said, adding that the removal of the vaccine pass could also be followed by new rules on wearing masks. Currently, masks are required in all indoor public spaces in France, including on public transportation.

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More background: As of Tuesday, there were more than 33,000 Covid-19-linked hospitalizations in France, compared to fewer than 7,000 in early November, ahead of France’s 5th wave of coronavirus, according to Public Health France.

France recorded 235,267 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, according to the latest data from Public Health France. The number of cases has been falling gradually since its all-time peak of more than 500,000 cases on January 25.

Attal said that the National Health Council will provide new advice Thursday regarding Covid-19 regulations in schools, which he expects to move towards an easing of rules, including regarding mask-wearing and testing of contact cases.

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