France has now made it mandatory for people to present their “passe-sanitaire” (health passport) when entering venues as part of its national campaign to clamp down on a recent surge in new infections brought by the highly infectious Delta COVID-19 variant.

In a televised address, President Emmanuel Macron announced that effective on Wednesday, July 21, visitors must show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test, or proof that they have recently recovered from infection to gain entry to France's world-famous museums, sporting venues, and tourist attractions. 

It covers the Eiffel Tower, provided that the venues are operating with a crowd capacity of more than 50 people, according to the New York Daily News.

By next month, the use of the health pass will be expanded and required to enter restaurants, cafes, and shopping areas across the country. 

“We are in the fourth wave of infections," Prime Minister Jean Castex told the media. “This famous Delta variant is here. It’s the majority one, and it is much more contagious.”

On Tuesday this week, France saw 18,000 new COVID-19 cases with 96% of the cases involved identified to be those who were not vaccinated, a spike of 140% in one week. Castex noted that the only solution is “vaccination, vaccination, vaccination.”

The new rule, however, caught some tourists by surprise. Visitors to the Eiffel Tower had to line up for a virus test to enter the venue.

Others, like Danish tourist Johnny Nielsen, who was traveling with his wife and two children, said they didn’t mind the government’s requirement because Denmark has the same protocols.

The changes come after the European Union launched a COVID-19 vaccine passport system earlier this month, which will ease travel restrictions and help revive key business sectors across the 27-nation bloc. 

Governments have been exploring digital ways to help reopen borders as vaccination campaigns advances across most of Europe, the Thomson Reuters Foundation noted. The EU's Digital COVID Certificate will indicate if a traveler has been fully vaccinated, has received a recent negative COVID-19 test, or has immunity after recovering from the disease.

The system, which is free of charge and can be accessed via a smartphone, also extends to Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland, ultimately allowing free travel for people who have been fully vaccinated for 14 days.

Meanwhile, in England, partygoers will have to prove they have had both COVID doses to enter nightclubs and other venues accommodating large crowds from the end of September. 

The Guardian reported that people with genuine medical reasons deeming them ineligible for the coronavirus vaccine will not be subject to the scheme. 

It comes at the back of the U.K. Government's decision to lift most of its COVID-19 restrictions under the fourth and supposedly final stage of unlocking on Monday, dubbed by the media as "Freedom Day." 

Emmanuel Macron In a televised address last week, President Emmanuel Macron announced that effective on Wednesday, July 21, visitors must show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test, or proof that they have recently recovered from infection to gain entry to France's world-famous museums, sporting venues, and tourist attractions.  Ludovic Marin/Getty Images