A year and a half into the pandemic, Covid-19 has implanted itself in our lives, along with an assortment of words and phrases that we have come to use on a daily basis.
If you are out and about in France, we have a list of some of the Covid-related terms that you might see or hear and need to understand.
Getting a test
Lieux de dépistage Covid-19 - This refers to the places in which you can access a Covid-19 test. A list of all of these services can be found on the DépistageCovid website.
Les tests virologiques - Virological testing devices for Covid-19 include PCR devices, which involve collecting a sample of respiratory material from the inside of the nose and/or throat.
Les tests antigéniques - This refers to antigen tests, also known as lateral flow tests, which look – as the name suggests – for antigens (proteins) on the surface of the virus. Because they can be easily detected, laboratory testing is not necessary, and so results can be provided more quickly than in the case of PCR tests.
Un prélèvement nasopharyngé - Translates to a nasal swab in English, and describes the process involved in taking a Covid test.
Les autotests nasaux - These are self-testing lateral flow kits that you can use on your own, without having to go to a pharmacy or other test centre.
Prendre rendez-vous - to make an appointment
Écouvillon - a swab
Se faire dépister - to take a Covid test (test de dépistage)
Une ordonnance - prescription
For information on Covid tests in France see:
How do I get a Covid-19 test in France to return to the UK?
Showing your health pass
Justificatif d’identité - an identity card such as a driving licence. This should only be asked of you by police officers and not staff at the venues you are visiting.
En format numérique - in digital form. For example, you may display your health pass on the TousAntiCovid app.
Un schéma vaccinal complet - full vaccination. A person has a schéma vaccinal complet if they have had both doses of the Covid vaccine (or a single dose in the case of the Janssen vaccine).
Certificat de rétablissement - a document proving that you have had Covid and recovered. This normally takes the form of a negative PCR or antigen test taken 11 days to six months after the date you tested positive.
Preuve sanitaire - proof of your Covid-19 status
Augmenter la luminosité - while checking your health pass, a member of staff may ask you to augmenter la luminosité (‘increase the brightness level’) of your phone screen.
Un écran intact - a clear phone screen with no cracks. This makes it easier for staff members to scan your pass.
For information on showing your health pass in France see:
Other useful terms
Distanciation sociale - social distancing. You may also see signs saying ‘garder la distance’ (‘Please maintain a safe distance’).
Port du masque obligatoire - means that mask-wearing is compulsory in the establishment or space that you are in.
Gestes barrières - protective measures or safety precautions
Auto-isolement - self-isolation
Taux d’incidence - the infection rate. In France, this is usually measured by the number of infected people for 100,000 residents.
Couverture vaccinale - vaccination coverage, or the number of people who have been vaccinated against Covid.
Difficultés respiratoires - breathing difficulties
La toux - a cough
La fièvre - fever
Des courbatures - stiffness
La fatigue inhabituelle - abnormal levels of tiredness
Une perte de goût ou d’odorat - a loss of your sense of taste or smell
Des maux de gorge - a sore throat
Des maux de tête - a headache