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엠마누엘 장음 (사진) has defended his controversial remarks about people who choose not to get a COVID-19 jab. The French president said in an interview earlier in the week that he wanted to bother or “piss off” those who are unvaccinated. Macron defended his headline-making comments on Friday (7 January), stating he would not accept people who infringed on others’ freedoms.

“Being a citizen means having rights and duties and that first means duty,” Macron said. “The concept of freedom that is brandished today by some of our compatriots to say ‘I have the freedom not to be vaccinated’. It stops where the freedom of the other is at that moment hindered, where the life of the other can be put in danger,” he added.

Macron said that not only were people who choose not to get the jab endangering the lives of others, they were also restricting others’ freedoms. France, where more than 90% of the adult population is vaccinated, has been recording an average of more than 200,000 new COVID-19 infections per day. Health authorities reported 328,214 new cases on Friday. The French parliament voted in favour of new legislation on Thursday (6 January) to turn the country’s health pass into a vaccine pass, excluding people who are unvaccinated from entering bars, restaurants, cinemas, theatres and other public spaces.

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