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Covid contact case: Do vaccinated people have to quarantine in France?

We explain the steps to take if you come into contact with someone who tests positive for Covid, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people

A Covid test showing a positive result Pic: Jarun Ontakrai / Shutterstock

People who are fully vaccinated against Covid do not need to self-isolate if they are signalled as being a contact of someone who tests positive, unless they themself also test positive. 

We explain how it works here. 

How do you know you are a contact case?

Anyone who tests positive for Covid 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, if you have it activated. 

Finally, you may also be notified by a friend or family member, or you are considered a contact case if you live with someone who tests positive.

You are fully vaccinated and have been in contact with someone who tests positive, you should…

First, take a rapid antigen test, available in many pharmacies around the country.

If the test is negative, you do not need to self-isolate.

For one week after your last contact with the person who tested positive, you should still take care.

  • Wear a mask in all public places, even when it is not required by law

  • Avoid contact with elderly or vulnerable people

Read more: Checklist: When do I pay for France Covid test and when is it free?

At the end of the one-week period, you should take a second test, known as a control test. If it is negative, you are in the clear.

if it is positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. If you develop symptoms in these 10 days, then you must self-isolate for a further 10 days from the day you started to develop symptoms. 

For more information, follow the advice on Ameli here.

If you live with a person who tests positive for Covid, there is a slightly different procedure, which is explained further down in this article.  

If at any time you experience symptoms of Covid - dry cough, fever, loss of smell and taste, - then you should immediately take a test, or, depending on how serious the symptoms are, book a doctor’s appointment or phone an ambulance (phone 15 to reach the Service d'aide médicale urgente). 

If the test is positive after you have been signalled as a contact case, you will need to self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the test.

In this time, you should look out for any symptoms, and contact a doctor or call 15 (Samu) if you need to.

After 10 days, you can end your quarantine, as long as you have not had any symptoms in the preceding 48 hours. 

When you test positive, you may be contacted by Assurance maladie and asked for a list of your recent close contacts.

You can also get a prescription from Assurance maladie to stop working if you have to stay at home during this period. See more information here

You are fully vaccinated and live with someone who tests positive for Covid, you should…

First, take a rapid antigen test, available in many pharmacies around the country.

If the test is negative, you do not need to self-isolate but should avoid taking risks for at least the next week - wear a mask in public places and avoid meeting with elderly or vulnerable people.

You must then take a second control test seven days after the person in your family has recovered from Covid - which is to say 10 days after they tested positive. That means your second test should be taken 17 days after the person’s Covid test or the first appearance of their symptoms. 

If your second test is negative, you are in the clear.

If it is positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days. There is no need to take a control test at the end of this 10-day period. 

If at any time you experience symptoms of Covid - dry cough, fever, loss of smell and taste, - then you should immediately take a test, or, depending on how serious the symptoms are, book a doctor’s appointment or phone an ambulance (phone 15 to reach the Service d'aide médicale urgente). 

France’s health ministry offers advice for how to live safely with someone who has Covid.

It suggests to: 

  • Avoid sharing spaces or objects with the person

  • Not eat meals in the same place at the same time (if possible)

  • Air your home for at least 10 minutes each day

  • Ask the positive person to regularly clean the items and appliances that they use 

  • Wear a mask when indoors

  • Try to limit face-to-face conversations with the person with Covid

Assurance maladie also states that if you do not have enough space in your home to safely self-isolate, it can help you to find temporary alternative housing for the period of your quarantine (for adults only). 

You are not fully vaccinated and have been in contact with someone who tests positive, you should…

First, take a rapid antigen test, available in many pharmacies around the country.

If the test is negative, you must still self-isolate for seven days. 

If you are not in regular contact with the person, then after one week you should take a second test. If you are in regular contact with the person (you live with them), then you should wait 17 days before taking a second test.

If it is negative again, you are in the clear. If it is positive, you have Covid and should self-isolate for a further 10 days.

If the test is positive, you must self-isolate for at least 10 days (or longer if you have symptoms that persist beyond 10 days). 

If at any time you experience symptoms of Covid - dry cough, fever, loss of smell and taste, - then you should immediately take a test, or, depending on how serious the symptoms are, book a doctor’s appointment or phone an ambulance (phone 15 to reach the Service d'aide médicale urgente). 

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 two metres, 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

For government advice on what to do if you are a contact case, see the Health Ministry’s website here (in French)

Related stories:

Does France accept UK-administered Covid vaccines for contact tracing?

Coronavirus: Daily updates on the situation in France

Covid France: Can foreign residents get booster without carte Vitale?

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