Discover France’s final map of red and green départements for easing restrictions

The French government has revealed the final map which determines how some restrictions

Discover France's final map of red and green départements for easing restrictions
Health minister Olivier Véran. Photo: AFP

When France begins to lift its lockdown on May 11th, there will be local differences, albeit small ones to begin with – and these depend on whether you live in a red or green area.

Preliminary maps have been published throughout the week, but the one revealed by health minister Olivier Véran on Thursday forms the final plan for the lifting of lockdown.

IN DETAIL France's plan for lifting lockdown after May 11th

Three criteria
Three criteria are used to apply the red or green rating;
  • The number of new cases being diagnosed
  • The capacity in local intensive care units 
  • Whether local authorities have a comprehensive testing and tracing programme in place

In the final map four regions of France – Hauts-de-France, Grand-Est, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and the greater Paris Île-de-France region received a red designation, which meant 32 départements in all.

One overseas département – Mayotte – is also red.

The Prime Minister stated that the situation in Mayotte and the Paris region were causing particular concern.

“In Ile-de-France, the number of new cases is decreasing but it remains high, higher than we want it to,” Philippe said.

“We will begin to ease the lockdown (in Île-de-France), but seeing as this region is very densely populated, we need to practice a very strict discipline,” he said.

Earlier versions of the map had taken into account only the circulation of the virus in the area and the hospital situation – the final map includes a third factor; how well organised local authorities are in regard to testing.

Earlier versions of the map also showed some areas in orange – these were the the areas as yet undecided.

The maps will continue to be revised after May 11th, but those areas that are now red will not be able to move to loosen some restrictions until the second phase begins on June 2nd – even if their département changes colour in the meantime.

What is the difference between red and green?
The idea is to enforce looser restrictions in areas where there are fewer cases of coronavirus and where local health services are coping well and tighter restrictions for areas where the virus is still prevalent and hospitals under pressure.

However local authorities have the right to make changes in accordance with local conditions.

The main difference in phase 1 is that parks and gardens will not reopen in red areas on May 11th – meaning that Paris parks will stay closed.

Secondary schools (colleges)  will only be able to reopen in green areas from May 18th although even then it will only be two year groups – years 5 and 6. A decision for when years 3 and 4 can return to the classroom will be take at the end of May.

The health minister has also said local authorities in red areas may be given powers to close shops or schools if necessary.

France's PM also said those départments that remain coloured green in three weeks will be able to ease restrictions even further.

“The country is divided in two: in the major part we managed to slow down the epidemic wave (…) these are the green departments,” said Edouard Philippe. “If they stay green for the next three weeks, we can at the very beginning of June consider a new phase of deconfinement.”

He also suggested those living in red départements must be more vigilant with how they respect social distancing.

READ MORE: What is the difference between a red and green département?

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France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body has outlined how Covid-19 rules will change 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 will relax in France as the country ends 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 will take 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 will return to normal on February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 will 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 will begin in 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.