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France Covid update: Contact case rules to be simplified

The change lessens the number of tests that need to be taken from three to one

From the end of February, all fully vaccinated people will only need to initially take a self-test if they are flagged as a close contact of someone with Covid Pic: loreanto / Shutterstock

All people who are signalled as being a close contact of someone positive with Covid (a cas contact, in French) will from February 28 only need to take one self-test two days after being flagged up.

You can buy self-tests in French pharmacies, and they are free if you can present proof of being a cas contact – this could be confirmation from France’s health insurance service Assurance maladie. 

Read more: Price of Covid self-tests in pharmacies in France raises questions

If the test is negative, they can continue on as normal. If it is positive, they must take a second test (this time either PCR or antigen) to confirm the result, and then follow the appropriate self-isolation protocol (as defined below in this article). 

Currently, all people who are considered to be fully vaccinated – as defined as someone who is eligible to have a vaccine pass – need to take three Covid tests after being signalled as a cas contact, on days zero, two and four. If all are negative, they can go about their lives as normal. 

All non-fully vaccinated people must immediately self-isolate for seven days before taking a Covid test, which, if negative, will mean they can end their quarantine. 

See our chart in this article to know if you qualify as “fully vaccinated” under the vaccine pass scheme: Easy-look chart: Who can now get a Covid vaccine pass in France?

The February 28 update to close contacts comes alongside the end of masks in certain indoor public spaces where a vaccine pass is demanded. 

Read more: Where face masks will no longer be needed in France from February 28

What do you do if your Covid test is positive?

You are fully vaccinated (as defined in our article here):

Once you have confirmed the positive result of your self-test with a PCR or antigen test, you must self-isolate immediately. 

On day five, you should take a rapid antigen test (It is not stated on Ameli whether a PCR test can be used in this case, although it is unlikely to make a difference). 

If it is negative and you have not experienced any Covid symptoms in the 48 hours leading up to it, you can end your self-isolation. 

If the test is positive or you decide not to take a test on day five, you must continue self-isolating until seven days after your first positive test.

At the end of the seven days you can end your self-isolation without taking another test. 

You are not fully vaccinated:

Once you have confirmed the positive result of your self-test with a PCR or antigen test, you must self-isolate immediately. 

You can then take a Covid test (PCR or antigen) on the seventh day after your first test. 

If it is negative and you have not experienced any Covid symptoms in the 48 hours leading up to it, you can end your self-isolation. 

If the test is positive or you decide not to take a test on day seven, you must continue self-isolating until 10 days after your first positive test.

At the end of the 10 days you can end your self-isolation without taking another test. 

For more information on self-isolation protocol, see France’s health insurance service’s website Ameli here

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French senators call for immediate end to vaccine pass in open letter

Mask-wearing could end in French schools ‘within a few weeks’

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