French President Emmanuel Macron has warned he intends to make life difficult for people in France who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19.
“I really want to hassle them, and we will continue to do this – to the end,” he told France’s Le Parisien newspaper.
Mr Macron said he aimed to tighten measures including requiring people to show proof of vaccination to access public venues and transport.
But his comments came as a bill to introduce a Covid pass was delayed.
A debate in parliament to pass a law barring the unvaccinated from much of public life has been left on hold after opposition MPs joined forces on Monday to prevent its passage through parliament.
The legislation was expected to be approved in a vote this week, but it has angered vaccine opponents and several French MPs have said they have received death threats over the issue.
In an interview with Le Parisien on Tuesday, Mr Macron said that while he would not “vaccinate by force”, he hoped to encourage people to get jabbed by “limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life”.
“I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison,” he said. “So we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
France has one of the highest Covid vaccination rates in the EU.
For months France has asked people to show either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test to access many public venues.
But the French government wants to remove the option to show a negative test in response to record increases in infections, driven by the highly contagious Omicron and Delta variants of Covid.
On Tuesday, the country reported 271,686 new daily Covid cases – the highest number of daily infections recorded in France since the start of the pandemic.