Reader Question: I've read with interest the changes to Covid border checks and understand that a negative test could be required for vaccinated and unvaccinated arrivals in the event of a new, dangerous variant of interest. But does the end of the health pass also involve hospital appointments or do unvaccinated people have to continue taking Covid tests?
When France’s vaccine pass system came to an end on March 14, health pass requirements remained in place for non-emergency visits to health and care settings.
This meant that people going to see relatives or to attend routine hospital appointments had to either show proof of being fully vaccinated, the negative result of a Covid test taken in the last 24 hours, or a certificate of recent recovery from the virus.
Health passes were never required for people going to hospital in an emergency.
However, on August 1, the French law enabling this measure expired, bringing the country’s Covid emergency measures to an end.
This means that healthcare services can no longer require people to show proof of their Covid status (i.e. a health pass) so unvaccinated people do not need to take a test before going to their appointments.
It should be noted, however, that although face masks are no longer legally required in settings such as hospitals, many establishments have decided to continue enforcing this rule.
As you state above, the end of France’s Covid emergency measures also means that international travellers do not need to show proof of vaccination, a negative Covid test or a recovery certificate at French borders.
If a new, dangerous variant of the virus were to emerge, the government has the power to reintroduce pre-departure testing requirements for people entering the country from abroad, but there are no signs that this measure will come into effect if the situation continues as it is.