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Why France will not enforce 10-day isolation after positive Covid test

The measure would threaten individual freedoms and be ‘neither necessary nor suitable nor proportionate’, France’s constitutional court has ruled. Self-isolation will be ‘recommended’ only

Woman wearing mask looks outside and holds hand up to window in isolation. Why France will not enforce 10-day isolation after positive Covid test

Self-isolation in the event of a positive Covid test will not be mandatory, only strictly recommended, the court said Pic: Liudmyla Guniavaia / Shutterstock

The French constitutional court has validated plans for the extension of the health pass but rejected mandatory 10-day self-isolation for people who test positive for Covid. We explain.

The Conseil constitutionnel’s decision came yesterday (August 5).

The court approved the health pass rules but rejected the government’s proposal to make the 10-day quarantine period for people who test positive for Covid-19 mandatory, and ‘automatic’. 

The self-isolation rules were as follows:

  • Only allowed to leave home between the hours of 10:00 and 12:00
  • Leaving in case of emergency allowed
  • Leaving to do “strictly necessary” errands that were not possible during 10:00-12:00

People who were found to be breaching these rules would have faced a fine of up to €1,500 for the first offence, and €3,750 and up to six months in prison for three or more violations in 30 days.

But the court found that making self-isolation mandatory would be “neither necessary nor suitable, nor proportionate”, and would deprive people of freedoms “without giving them a personal choice”.

After the court’s decision, self-isolation will remain recommended but voluntary.

In response, the prime minister’s office Matignon has said: “The government takes note of the cancellation of the...isolation obligation for people who have been diagnosed as having the disease.

“The public authorities will endeavour to remind all persons suffering from Covid-19, including in an asymptomatic form, of the need to scrupulously respect the medical recommendations on isolation.”

Mandatory vaccination but contracts cannot be broken

The court also approved mandatory vaccination for healthcare professionals and the need for some workers to show a health pass, but rejected the ability to break short-term work contracts if a worker does not show a valid pass or proof of vaccination.

It said: "By saying that the failure to present a health pass constitutes a reason for early termination of a fixed-term contract, the legislator has introduced a difference in treatment between employees...which is unrelated to the objective.”

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