SHARE
COPY LINK

COVID-19

France mulls third lockdown if Covid cases keep rising

France has not ruled out imposing a third nationwide lockdown if coronavirus cases continue to rise, its health minister said on Sunday, as the country braces for a possible post-Christmas spike.

France mulls third lockdown if Covid cases keep rising
Olivier Veran arrives at a TV studio to be interviewed before Christmas. Photo: Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/AFP
“We will never exclude measures that are necessary to protect the public,” Olivier Veran told the Journal du Dimanche.
   
“That is not to say we have made a decision, but that we are watching the situation hour by hour.”
   
France has been registering around 15,000 new infections per day, and on Friday confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain.
   
The new strain, which experts fear is more contagious, prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the UK.
   
Following a snap 48-hour ban on UK arrivals this week, France has reopened its borders — partly to allow French citizens to return home but also to relieve the massive build-up of freight goods.
   
On Saturday it took delivery of the first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine it will use in its mass inoculation campaign.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

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.

SHOW COMMENTS