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Cannes film festival postponed as France remains on lockdown

The Cannes film festival will not take place as planned in May because of the coronavirus, its board said Thursday, with its directors looking at postponing it until late June.

Cannes film festival postponed as France remains on lockdown
Photo: AFP

While a slew of other major events including the Eurovision Song Contest and the French Open tennis championship have fallen victim to COVID-19, the world's biggest film festival has been bullish about its chances of survival.

Director Thierry Fremaux said last week that you “cannot look at May through the lens of March”.

But the Cannes board conceded on Thursday that in the light of the severity of the pandemic they were now looking at rescheduling the 12-day festival, which was due to start on May 12, until “the end of June-beginning of July”.

Several other smaller film festivals, including Tribeca, SXSW and Edinburgh have already been cancelled or put back.

Doubts still remain though about whether Cannes will be able to go ahead, with film shoots halted or called off across the world.

The board said postponement was the main one of “several options” it was looking at.

France is currently on lockdown with everyone ordered to stay at home and only venture out on essential errands. Anyone leaving their home is required to fill in a travel certificate.

READ ALSO France's coronavirus lockdown: What are the rules?

The current restrictions are in place until the end of March, but health chiefs say it is highly likely they will be extended.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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