France set to toughen isolation measures for Covid contact cases

France set to toughen isolation measures for Covid contact cases
Contact cases could soon be subjected to police visits. Photo: PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP.
The French government has proposed a strict 10-day isolation period with police checks for people who come into contact with someone who has Covid-19, but vaccinated people can be released from quarantine early.

As part of the bill being debated in parliament this week concerning the extension of France’s health pass, the government wants to toughen measures for “contact cases” to isolate.

Currently if you have had contact with a person testing positive for Covid, you must take a test and self-isolate, but there are no police checks.

If you test positive, you must spent 10 days in isolation. If the test is negative, you must self-isolate for seven days and take another test. If the second test is negative, you can stop; if it’s positive, you must remain in isolation for another ten days.

You may be contacted by the Assurance Maladie or via the TousAntiCovid app to inform you that you have been in contact with somebody who has Covid.

Stricter enforcement

The rules are already more strict for travellers arriving from “red list” countries where the virus is spreading quickly. They must quarantine for 10 days in a place of their choosing, subject to police checks, and are only authorised to leave between 10am and 12pm or in emergencies.

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Now the government wants to apply this measure to people living in France, according to reports in the French media. Checks could take place between 8am and 10am, and from 12pm to 11pm, with fines of up to €1,500 for breaking the rules.

Readers of The Local who have travelled to France from red zone countries reported that police checks at home do often take place.

But Patrice Ribeiro, general secretary of the Synergie-Officiers police union told Le Parisien it would be “physically impossible” to check on thousands of contact cases if the measure is implemented on a domestic basis.

Exemptions for vaccinated people

Fully vaccinated people will still be considered contact cases and required to quarantine, unless their initial Covid test is negative, according to Le Parisien. Vaccinated people who test positive will have to obey the 10-day quarantine.

Health minister Olivier Véran told RTL on Tuesday that “the rules could change” regarding isolation.

“What could be taken into account is that, when you are completely vaccinated – but I am waiting for the opinion of scientists I’ve called upon to know whether the Delta variant changes things – you would no longer be considered a contact when you have been in contact with a sick person,” he said.

He added that this would not apply to people living under the same roof, where the risk of infection is greater.

On June 15th, the Haut Conseil de la santé publique advistory body recommended dropping testing and quarantine measures for fully vaccinated people who have been in contact with somebody with Covid who does not live in the same household, because “the risk is very small”.

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