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France Covid: close contact procedure changes from today

Unvaccinated people aged over 12 who have been in contact with a Covid case no longer need to self-isolate. Testing rules remain though

Close contact self-isolation rules have relaxed in France, while testing rules remain Pic: Noiel / Shutterstock

The rules for unvaccinated people found to be close contacts of a Covid case have relaxed in France today (March 21), following a further easing of vaccine pass and mask-wearing requirements last week.

Read more: End of France’s vaccine pass: What changes for tourists and residents?

Unvaccinated close contacts over 12 had until now been obliged to self-isolate for seven days, but from today they are released from that requirement. Vaccinated people did not need to quarantine.

Even as self-isolation rules relax, close contact testing rules remain in place. Anyone who has been in contact with a confirmed Covid case must take a self-administered, antigen or PCR test on the second day after being alerted regardless of vaccination status.

If this test is positive you will have to self-isolate for at least five or seven days depending on your vaccination statement. Assurance maladie will contact you with information on the steps to follow. 

Read more: Covid France: can I go out at the end of quarantine if still positive?

Please note that if your initial positive day two test is a self-administered or antigen test you will need to confirm the result with a PCR.

Some rules remain for close contacts 

If they go out after being identified as a close contact of a Covid case, people must still observe certain rules. 

These include: 

  • Strict observance of barrier gestures, most notably wearing a mask both inside and outside when there are other people about
  • Limiting social contact, especially with vulnerable groups such as elderly people
  • Avoiding all contact with people at especially high risk from serious forms of Covid 
  • Remote working where possible

These new measures concern everyone over the age of 12, including collège and lycée pupils, who can continue to go to school even if they are close contacts.

Children under 12 must also take a test on day two after being identified as a close contact.

You can read more about the new rules (in French) on the Assurance maladie website.

Case numbers have been rising in France for several weeks now, and the number of infections detected on average each day has risen from 65,251 last week to 89,002 this week.

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Covid France: can I get a sick note while waiting for a test result?

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