Do Covid contact cases in France need to isolate if fully vaccinated?
This question surfaced after France’s prime minister declared himself a contact case this week and began self-isolating – the third time in under a year
Prime Minister Jean Castex receiving his first dose of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine on March 19 Pic: Jean Castex / @JeanCASTEX / Twitter
The rules recommend that you should self-isolate if you come into contact with someone positive for Covid-19, even if you are fully vaccinated.
France’s health insurance website service Ameli states:
“Even when vaccinated, it is recommended to continue to respect the barrier measures, to continue to wear a mask and to self-isolate if necessary.
“As far as we know, the vaccines currently available or under development reduce the severity of symptoms and seem to reduce contagiousness.”
This question was raised after France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex declared himself a contact case (cas contact) after his wife tested positive for Covid-19 on June 9.
Mr Castex is not fully vaccinated yet, having received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on March 19 but even if he was, under French rules fully vaccinated people are still subject to the contact case rules.
What makes someone a contact case?
- You share the same living space as the confirmed or probable positive case
- You have direct face-to-face contact with someone positive with Covid-19, within one metre, for any length of time. People you encounter briefly in a public space do not count
- You receive care or medical aid from someone positive with Covid-19
- You share a confined space (office or meeting room, personal vehicle, etc.) for at least 15 consecutive or cumulative minutes over 24 hours with a positive case, or you have been face-to-face with a positive case during several minutes they have been coughing or sneezing
- You are a student or teacher in the same school class as a positive case (nursery, primary, secondary, university tutorial group).
How do you know you are a contact case?
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 will be asked to supply France’s health insurance, Assurance Maladie, with a list of their recent close contacts. Assurance Maladie will then contact these people.
You can also be notified via France’s track and trace phone application TousAntiCovid.
What do you do if you are a contact case?
If you do not live with the person:
You should take a rapid antigen test immediately. If the test is negative, you must respect a seven-day self-isolation period. After these seven days and without symptoms, you take another test (antigen or PCR). if this test is negative, your self-isolation can be ended.
If you live with the person:
You should take a rapid antigen test immediately. If it is negative, you must remain in self-isolation for seven days after the person positive with Covid-19 recovers.
For someone with Covid-19 symptoms, the recovery comes 10 days after the onset of symptoms. This means the contact case will need to self-isolate for a total of 17 days, taking the second Covid-19 test on day 17.
For someone without symptoms, you must remain in self-isolation for 17 days after the positive case first tested positive for Covid-19 and take a second test then.
In Mr Castex’s case, he is considered to be housed separately from his wife. They both live in the Hôtel de Matignon in Paris, but in different rooms.
For more information on what to do if you are a contact case, see Ameli’s website here.