I am travelling to France from the UK and have seen that I will be able to reduce my self-isolation time by taking a Covid test. How do I go about this in isolation?
The French government has imposed new restrictions on all travellers from the UK, who must now prove that they have an essential reason for travel, take a Covid test in the 24 hours before their journey begins and then self-isolate on arrival.
To ensure that this quarantine period is properly observed, travellers must sign up to this online government platform before they travel. This will generate a prefectural decree requiring them to self-isolate.
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal had originally said that this quarantine period would last for seven days, a time frame still displayed on the UK government's France travel advice pages at the time of writing.
However, the website of the French consulate in London has since been updated to say that the isolation period is in fact 10 days.
The Connexion approached the French consulate for clarification and a spokesperson confirmed that travellers should quarantine for 10 days.
In any event travellers can end the quarantine period early by carrying out a Covid test.
People can leave their isolation after two days if they are able to carry out a PCR or antigen test after this 48-hour mark. The test cannot be done before 48 hours of arrival in France.
When it announced the new restrictions, the French government did not give any extra information on how this test may be taken if the person is required to self-isolate, considering that home self-test kits are not permitted in France.
However, the French consulate has now updated its advice to say that: “You can carry out this test at the nearest pharmacy, laboratory or health professional to your place of self-isolation.”
You can find test centres near you on this government list.
The consulate adds that: “The test must be carried out nearby so that your time out of isolation is as short as possible.”
Residents of France who are fully vaccinated can have the cost of Covid tests reimbursed by Assurance maladie, but unvaccinated people must pay unless they have a doctor’s prescription or have been identified as a close contact of a confirmed Covid case.
If you receive a negative result, you can end your quarantine period, but if it is positive you will need to continue self isolating as per the instructions you will receive from Assurance maladie.
People should note that self-administered tests whose tests are not certified by a health professional are not authorised.
A spokesperson for the French consulate confirmed this information when contacted by The Connexion.
People arriving in France can quarantine in a place of their choosing, whether that be at their home, a hotel or with family.
However, they must be able to stay in that place for the duration of their isolation, and must declare the address to the authorities so that compliance checks can be carried out.