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UPDATE: Where are France’s 42 coronavirus ‘red zones’?

The number of Covid-19 'red zones' in France - meaning the virus is actively circulating has risen to 42. Here's where they are.

UPDATE: Where are France's 42 coronavirus 'red zones'?
Photo: AFP

France has seen a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases over recent weeks across the territory, and the government this week bumped another 14 départements up to “red” alert. 

Previously there were 28 (see map below) zed zones in France, but French PM Jean Castex announced the number had risen to 42 during a televised speech on Friday September 11th.

The government categorises a département as red when the spread of Covid-19 in the area reaches a level they consider alarming enough give local authorities extra powers to contain the spread.

A  red zone generally has recorded more than 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last seven days, but the government also looks as other factors such as pressure on hospitals in the area.

In summary, if a département is classed as red it's not positive news.

France's Health Ministry published the latest list and a map of the 42 départements.

The latest list of “red” départements in mainland France is as follows: Paris,
Seine et Marne, Yvelines, Essonne, Hauts-de-Seine, Seine-Saint-Denis, Val-de-Marne, Val-d’Oise, Loiret, Côte d’Or, Seine-Maritime, Nord, Pas-de-Calais, Bas-Rhin, Sarthe, Maine-et-Loire, Loire-Atlantique ;Îlle et Vilaine, Gironde, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Hérault, Haute-Garonne, Gard, Tarn-et-Garonne, Pyréné, Orientales, Aude, Rhône, Ain,  Puy-de-Dôme, Loire, Isère, Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches du Rhône, Var, Vaucluse, Corse-du-Sud, Haute-Corse.

 

 

 

The overseas départements of Guadeloupe, La Reunion and Martinique are also red zones.

Guyane and Mayotte are classed purple because they are still under a state of health emergency.

The government bases its decision to label a zone red on data collected by the public health agency Santé Publique France, which follows the development of Covid-19 in France in detail, both on a nationwide and a local level.

The ruling strategy since the end of lockdown has been to avoid nationwide blanket measures to the extent possible and rather trust local authorities with the power to take the best decisions adapted to their zones. 

Some local authorities in hotspot areas have issued rules such as closing bars earlier than usual. In Marseille, which has been a red zone for several weeks, all bars bars and restaurants close at 11pm in a attempt to curb the spread. 

To know exactly what it means to be living in a red zone CLICK HERE.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Paxlovid, tests and isolation: Covid care for tourists in France

With travel opening up, many people are planning trips to France over the next few months, but the Covid pandemic has not gone away. Here are your questions answered on testing, isolation and medical treatment if you do fall sick while on holiday.

Paxlovid, tests and isolation: Covid care for tourists in France

Travel rules

Covid-related travel rules have mostly been relaxed now but you will still need to show proof of being fully vaccinated at the French border. If you are not vaccinated you will need to show a negative Covid test – find the full breakdown of the rules HERE.

Testing

Once in France if you develop symptoms or you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive you will need to get a Covid test.

The good news is that testing is widely available in France, both for residents and tourists.

The easiest way to get a test is head to a pharmacy, most of which offer the rapid-result antigen test on a walk-in basis Tests are available to everyone who wants one, there is no need to fulfill any set criteria.

For full details on how to get a test, and some handy French vocab, click HERE.

The difference for tourists is that you will have to pay for your test, while residents get their costs reimbursed by the French state health system.

In the pharmacy you may be asked for your carte vitale – this is the health card that residents use to claim refunds. As a tourist you won’t have the card – you can still get the test, you will just need to pay for it. Costs vary between pharmacies but are capped at €22 for an antigen test or €54 for a PCR test.

Isolation

If your test is positive you are legally required to isolate, but how long your isolation period is depends on the your vaccination stats – full details HERE.

Treatment

For most fully-vaccinated people without underlying health conditions the symptoms of Covid are fairly mild, but if you do become ill, here’s how to access medical help while in France.

Pharmacy – one of the first things you will notice about France is that pharmacies are everywhere, just look out for the green cross. As well as selling over-the-counter medication, pharmacies all have at least one fully-qualified pharmacist on the staff who can offer medical advice. 

Take advantage of pharmacists – they train for at least six years so they’re very knowledgeable and they’re easy to access by simply walking into the shop. In tourist areas it’s likely that they will speak English. Pharmacists can also signpost you to a nearby doctor if you need extra help.

Doctors – if you need to see a doctor, look out for a médecin généraliste (a GP or family doctor). There is no need to be registered with a doctor, simply call up and ask for an appointment if you need one. If you have a smartphone you can use the medical app Doctolib to find a généraliste in your area who speaks English. You will need to pay for your consultation – €25 is the standard charge and you pay the doctor directly using either cash or a debit card.

You may be able to claim back the cost later on your own health/travel insurance depending on the policy.

Ambulance – if you are very sick or have difficulty breathing you should call an ambulance – the number is 15. All non-residents are entitled to emergency treatment in France, whether or not you have insurance, but if you are admitted or have treatment you may need to pay later.

READ ALSO Emergency in France: Who to call and what to say

Paxlovid – several readers have asked whether the Covid treatment drug Paxlovid is available in France. It was licenced for use in February 2022 and is available on prescription from pharmacies, mainly for people with underlying health conditions or an impaired immune system. You can get a prescription from a medical practitioner.

The drug is reimbursed for French residents, but as a tourist you will have to pay.

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