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LIVING IN FRANCE

Coronavirus lockdown in France: Can you tick several boxes on your permission form?

People in France are to leave their homes as little as possible during the coronavirus lockdown period. But is it possible to indicate several reason for leaving home on the permission form?

Coronavirus lockdown in France: Can you tick several boxes on your permission form?
French police control the lockdown permission slip of passersby. Photo: AFP

There are seven legitimate reasons to leave home under France’s current lockdown restrictions. They can all be found on the government’s official permission form – accessible to print or on your smartphone – which people must carry on them at all times when outside.

The government issued the permission slip to codify the lockdown rules and ensure that the population stay home as much as possible. Police officers patrol the streets and roads to ensure that people comply with the rules.

French authorities have stressed that the time of being outside should be restricted to once a day and never surpass an hour for certain errands like walking the dog or doing some individual physical activity.

This has lead to some confusion as to whether you had to choose between doing your groceries or going for a brief jog, or if on the contrary you could pop by the boulangerie after having taken the dog out for a walk.

As it turns out, you may indeed run several errands at the same time. Ticking off more than one of the boxes on your form is not prohibited, according to French Daily Libération’s fact checking service CheckNews

CheckNews put the question to the French Interior Ministry, who said that, to reduce the total number of going outs, ticking several boxes on the permission slip was possible.

Le Parisien reported the same, pointing out that the Interior Ministry in fact had outlined that ticking more than one box and thereby grouping different errands was better than leaving home several times. 

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COVID-19

Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

With a sharp rise in reported cases in recent weeks, France appears to be in the middle of a new wave of Covid infections - so what measures are the government taking to control it?

Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

Recorded case numbers in France are now over 50,000 a week, and have been since the beginning of June – this is a long way short of the 350,000 weekly cases recorded in January but still the highest since May and representing a steady an increase of 57 percent on the previous week.

Hospital admissions are also on the rise – standing at 707 admissions on Friday, June 24th compared to 400 daily admissions just two weeks earlier.

So what is the French government doing about it?

Since March, almost all Covid-related restrictions have been lifted in France – the health pass is no longer required for everyday activities such as visiting a bar or going to the gym and face masks are now merely advised in all indoor locations. Only hospitals and other health establishments such as nursing homes still have mandatory rules on face masks and health passes.

For international travel, fully vaccinated arrivals from most countries – including the UK, US and the whole of the EU – need only to show proof of vaccination, while unvaccinated travellers need to show proof of a recent negative Covid test – full details HERE.

Health pass

A proposed bill from the health ministry that was leaked to French media talks about re-imposing some form of pass sanitaire (health pass) to get numbers under control.

Some caveats to add here is that the document is only a proposal at this stage and the government has explicitly rules out – for the moment – reintroducing the vaccine pass. The health pass can be used to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, so it is less restrictive for the unvaccinated.

The document suggests re-introducing a health pass for travel – both to and from France – not for everyday activities like going to a café.

Testing and contact tracing

The bill also proposes extending the software involved in contact tracing and the Covid testing programme until March 2023, although this is described as a ‘precaution’.

Testing remains available on a walk-in basis at most French pharmacies and by appointment at health centres and medical labs. Tests are free for fully-vaccinated residents of France who have a carte vitale. Those are only visiting France, who are not registered in the French health system or who are not vaccinated have to pay – prices are capped at €22 for an antigen test and €54 for a PCR test.

READ ALSO How tourists in France can get a Covid test

Masks

The government’s Covid vaccine adviser Alain Fischer told France Info that he was in favour of making face masks compulsory on public transport again and said it is ‘being discussed” at government level.

At present masks are not required, but are recommended, especially on busy services where it is impossible to practice social distancing.

Epidemiologist Pascal Crépey said: “In crowded trains, the risk of being in the presence of infected people is high. It would be a good idea for the population to wear the mask, to protect especially the most fragile and avoid massive infection rates.”

Local measures

French local authorities also have the power to impose certain types of restrictions if their area has a particularly high rate of infections.

At present, none have done so, but Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has spoken in favour of possibly bringing back the vaccine pass over the summer.

Second booster shots

A second booster shot of the Covid vaccine is now available to all over 60s and anyone who has a long-term medical condition or who is otherwise at risk from Covid.

It is recommended that the government increase public messaging advising those in high risk groups to get the second booster shot. The medical regular HAS has advised combining second booster shots with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign in September and October.

France is not, at present, considering widening the campaign to the entire popular, but the EU’s vaccine commissioner Thierry Breton says that if necessary, there would be enough doses to cover the whole population.

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