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COVID-19

France to release smartphone version of lockdown permission form

The French government has announced that it will soon make a smartphone version of the compulsory lockdown permission form available to the public.

France to release smartphone version of lockdown permission form
A smartphone permission form will be available from Monday. Photo: AFP

Up until now, the attestation de déplacement dérogatoire, which everyone must carry with them when they leave their home, has only been allowed in paper format.

This has meant members of the public who need to leave their homes to go shopping or for a short jog have needed to either print or write out their permission slip.

READ ALSO How does the new smartphone permission form work?

But on Thursday Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told Le Parisien newspaper that from Monday April 6th a smartphone version will be made available.

“The service will be accessible online, via the Ministry of Interior's website as well as the French government's.

“From now one the French are used to the rules of lockdown, so it's right that they are given a little flexibility via this tool,” said Castaner.

Since the rules around leaving the home were tightened last week, members of the public have to include the time when they left home on the signed and dated form.

This will still be compulsory but with the smartphone version police will be able to determine the time when someone edited the document.

This will prevent people simply filling out the document when they see the police, the minister says.

The smartphone document will include a QR code which will give the police the information they need.

The form does not need to be signed as was first suggested by authorities.

READ ALSO: This is how France's lockdown permission form works

The form currently has to be either printed out or – for people who do not have a home printer – written out in full. Photo: AFP

In the event of being stopped, the police officer will be able to scan the QR code on your phone. This prevents the police officer from exposing themselves to the risk of infection by touching hundreds of people's phones.

It also ensures that no data gets collected from the user, France's Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said when presenting the plan to Le Parisien.

The government briefly attempted to launch a permission form on a smartphone application in the first days of the lockdown, which begun on March 17th.

But because of the difficulties of controlling the app and a risk of having the data stolen, they quickly stopped.

 

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COVID-19

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.

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