Can Novak Djokovic play at Roland-Garros? France wants a vaccination pass for everything

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By Alan Katz | Bloomberg

France will soon require a pass for virtually all activities – eating out, going to the theater or boarding a plane. If Novak Djokovic wants to play at Roland-Garros, he will probably need it too.

With the rise of the omicron variant, the French parliament has passed a new set of rules that will tighten the so-called health pass that has been in place for months by removing the option that allowed for a recent negative test. Once the law is published in the official gazette, a complete vaccination schedule will be the only way to access most activities.

The changes come after President Emmanuel Macron took Europe’s aggressive stance against the unvaccinated up a notch earlier this month, saying he wanted to ‘p—off’ people who don’t get themselves vaccinate. The stakes for the 44-year-old president are also raised as he is set to seek re-election in April.

Following the adoption of the new law in the National Assembly, the French sports ministry said there would be no national or international exemptions to the vaccine rule. As it stands, that would mean Djokovic would be barred from the May-June tennis tournament at Roland Garros if he is not vaccinated against Covid-19.

Djokovic, who has not been vaccinated, was deported from Australia on Sunday after losing a case to overturn his visa cancellation. The world number one tennis star’s anti-vaccination stance has dashed his hopes of winning a record 21st Grand Slam singles title.

Although France’s vaccine stance could change by May, the current rules would also keep Djokovic out of the French Open.

France’s switchover rule for vaccines came even as the jump in virus infections could ease. The recent surge in cases may have peaked, Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the government’s scientific advisory board, told France Info radio. France recorded 278,129 cases on Sunday, the lowest figure in six days and lower than the level reported the previous Sunday.

About 80% of the total French population has received at least one dose of the vaccine, according to the Ministry of Health.

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