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Reader question: Do I still have to self-isolate in France even if I am fully vaccinated?

Reader question: Do I still have to self-isolate in France even if I am fully vaccinated?
Photo: Loic Venance/AFP
Being fully vaccinated gives you various benefits - apart from the obvious one of protection from developing the most serious forms of Covid - but do you still need to follow the rules on self-isolation in France?

In France if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, or you are alerted to being a contact case by the Covid-tracker app, then you should get a Covid test.

You may also have to self-isolate, but this will depend on the outcome of the test as well as your vaccination status.

If you test positive

Whether you are fully vaccinated or not, if you test positive for Covid in France, you need to self-isolate for ten days.

If you are symptomatic, this means ten days from the day your first symptoms appeared, although if if you have a persistent fever you should stay self-isolated until at least 48 hours after the fever abates.

If you don’t have any symptoms, the ten days are counted from the date you tested positive, but if you develop symptoms, you will have to wait another ten days from the moment you noticed symptoms.

Contact cases

If you have been in contact with somebody who has tested positive for Covid, you should self-isolate for seven days from the last time you saw that person, and you should also take a test.

If you test is negative, you should take another test on day seven of in order to be able to stop self-isolating. If either test is positive, you will need to isolate for ten days from the day of the test.

You can find a full explanation of self-isolation rules here.

Employees who are required to self-isolate and whose job cannot be done from home are entitled to an arrêt de travail that ensures they will continue to be paid while they are isolating – you can download this from your Ameli account.

But what about people who have had both doses of the vaccine?

Previously, even people who were fully vaccinated were advised to self-isolate, but the rules have since changed.

If you are a contact case, you should still take an antigen test in a pharmacy (although you can also take a PCR test).

If the test is positive, you will need to isolate for ten days, as above. However, if you test negative, there is no need to self-isolate, although you are advised to wear a mask indoors and outdoors.

In that case, you should take another test seven days after your last contact with the person who tested positive. If this test is negative, you can carry on as normal, and if it is positive you will have to isolate for ten days.

And in schools?

When schools restart in September there will be a new four-step protocol which in most cases means that fully vaccinated pupils will not be sent home if a classmate tests positive, but unvaccinated pupils will. Full details HERE.

Health passports

Being fully vaccinated does give you other benefits, too. Apart from the fairly big advantage of a much lower risk of getting seriously ill or dying from the virus, you can also enter a range of venues like museums, bars and cafés using the French health passport.

Fully vaccinated travellers can also travel freely within the EU using the EU health passport.

What if you break the rules?

As part of the law which extended the use of the health pass to venues including bars and restaurants, the government also planned to enforce strict isolation periods for those who test positive. This would have meant those people could only have left the house during certain windows, and would have been subject to police checks.

However, France’s Constitutional Council rejected the measure, judging it an infringement on people’s freedoms. Therefore, whether you have tested positive or are simply a contact case, these rules are only guidelines.


Member comments

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  1. We are an American couple with full-time French residency, and have our pass sanitaire, as well as a Carte Vitale If we travel to the United States and get break-through COVID. Will our French health insurance pay the medical bills?

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