Wednesday 19 January 2022

French Minister Vacationed in Spain While Imposing ‘Infernal’ COVID Measures

 Outrage has erupted in France over the revelation that the nation’s Education Minister had announced further COVID measures for schools while on vacation in Ibiza.

French teaching unions have expressed outrage after it was revealed that the nation’s Education Minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, had announced “infernal” new COVID restrictions for schools while off vacationing on a Spanish island.

Nearly 80,000 people took to the streets in France last week as teachers took strike action in protest of the “chaotic situation” currently facing the nation’s education system as a result of the health crisis.

The recent revelation has only poured fuel on the fire, with unions denouncing the minister for his “lightness”, while one spokesman saying it provided even further justification for unions to take strike action on Thursday according to a Le Monde report.

“Everyone has the right to take a vacation, but the symbol is terrible. A minister who claims to want to stick as close as possible to reality, we had not imagined that it meant being several thousand kilometres away!” the publication reports one union head as saying. “It’s quite incredible that no one in the government has seen the problem posed by this stay.”

“This revelation illustrates the real distance of the minister with the emergency situation for the school: leaving his services at the forefront but commenting from afar,” another union leader complained.

Another organisation head emphasised that while the minister was off on holiday, staff in schools were forced to be ready to implement the announced measures by the following day.

Teachers are not the only ones expressing their frustrations over the incident, with politicians also lashing out at Minister Blanquer.

“All this agitation and these restrictions have no health but political basis,” said French Presidential Candidate Marine Le Pen. “The casualness of Jean-Michel Blanquer, who dictates an infernal protocol to teachers and parents of students since his vacation in Ibiza, proves it.”

The presidential candidate of the green party, Yannick Jadot, called upon Blanquer to resign, denouncing the minister as a “dilettante”.

“This degree of contempt and irresponsibility is unacceptable,” The Guardian also reports Jadot as saying.

The new rules facing school children and staff were previously announced on January 2, outlining the various test requirements for children in the instance of a COVID case emerging in a classroom.

In response to the implementation of the measures, along with a variety of other issues with the government’s handling of the COVID crisis, teachers in the country partook in a day of industrial action last Thursday, with another strike day being considered for this coming Thursday.

France has also rolled out a number of stringent COVID restrictions for its adult population since the start of the year.

Over half-a-million over-18s are currently at risk of losing their vaccine cert in the country over a new measure that came into force on Saturday.

Under the new rule, which was originally agreed in December last year, those once considered vaccinated are to have their vaccine pass eventually stripped from them unless they opt to receive a booster shot for the Chinese Coronavirus.

Meanwhile, the country’s National Assembly passed a law on Sunday which will soon change France’s regime of “health passes” into a system of vaccine passes.

As a result, unvaccinated individuals who have not recently recovered from the disease will soon lose access to amenities such as bars, restaurants, and interregional public transport, with proof of a negative COVID test no longer being sufficient to bypass restrictions.

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