France cuts self-isolation period for the fully vaxed

Fully vaccinated people who test positive for Covid in France will now only be required to isolate for seven days rather than 10 in an effort prevent another halt to the economy.

New year, same old virus. Covid is still dominating the news, conversations and government policies, though now the tides seem to be changing on how to handle the crisis in France.

Whereas fear, lockdowns and shop closures were the primary features of the earlier reactions to the pandemic, 2022’s version is more focused on trying to get things on track.

Despite the Omicron variant and its record-breaking number of cases in France, the government has lowered the 10-day isolation period for double jabbed people down to seven, with a get out-of-jail-free card after only five days if the infected person can show a negative PCR or antigen test. Additionally, there is no required quarantine for fully inoculated people who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive.

The decisions come from a government juggling public health concerns with economic ones, and is allowing for a “benefit-risk balance aimed at ensuring the virus is controlled while maintaining socio-economic life,” a statement from the French Ministry of Health said.

The statement went on to say that the virological data emerging is showing “the incubation period of Omicron appears to be faster than previous variants, favouring a possible reduction in the length of isolation.”

The unvaccinated who test positive are still required to self-isolate for a full 10-day period, with the possibility of shortening the duration with a negative PCR or antigen test. A weeklong quarantine for unvaccinated close contacts remains in effect, and is ended only upon the receipt of a negative test.

Over the weekend, France joined the unenviable club of nations whose Covid cases topped 10 million. Only six countries have the dubious honour, including the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and the UK.

French health authorities reported 219,126 new cases on Sunday, the fourth day running with more than 200,000 cases.

President Emmanuel Macron said in his New Year’s Eve address that the next few weeks would be hard, but that he was not inclined at the moment to impose harsher restrictions. The only new measure is that children from the age of six will now be required to wear masks in public, as opposed to aged 11.

Meanwhile, in fully vaccinated students 12 years and older, staff and teachers are now required to take a PCR or antigen test immediately upon learning of being in close contact with a positive case but are not required to isolate if tested negative. Testing is required on days two and four after being alerted as well. The same protocol applies for students under 12, despite not being inoculated.



Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash