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ECONOMY

France’s economy minister tests positive for Covid-19

French economy minister Bruno Le Maire announced on Friday that he had tested positive for Covid-19 but said he had no symptoms and was working from home as cases soared again in France.

France's economy minister tests positive for Covid-19
Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire is responsible for reviving the battered French economy. Photo: Ludovic Marin/AFP
Le Maire, who is responsible for reviving a French economy battered by the months-long pandemic, is not the first member of President Emmanuel Macron's government to have been diagnosed with the disease.
   
“I tested positive for Covid-19 this evening. I immediately placed myself in isolation at home in line with the health regulations issued by the government,” Le Maire said in a tweet.
   
“I show no symptoms. I will remain in isolation for seven days. I continue to exercise my duties,” the 51-year-old minister said.
 
 
   
On March 9, the former culture minister and current minister for external trade, Franck Riester was diagnosed as having Covid-19.
   
The secretaries of state for ecological transition at the time, Brune Poirson and Emmanuelle Wargon, also tested positive for the disease two weeks later.
   
Early in September, Prime Minister Jean Castex placed himself in isolation in his Matignon office because he had been in contact with the director of the Tour de France cycling race, Christian Prudhomme, who had been infected.
   
But the premier ended his quarantine last week, following a negative result to his second test.
   
The country's public health agency announced earlier that France recorded 13,215 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours — a new daily record since a widespread testing campaign was launched — and 123 deaths.
   
The number of deaths is rising for the first time since the end of lockdown in May.

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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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