Health Minister Olivier Véran announced the change in his Thursday evening briefing, saying that there is some evidence that the UK, South African and Brazilian variants of the virus remain infectious for longer.
The change applies to all people who test positive for Covid, who must now self-isolate for 10 days.
People identified as a contact case but who test negative for the virus continue to quarantine for 7 days.
New arrivals in France from non-EU countries – those who meet the 'vital reasons' travel criteria – are requested to quarantine for 7 days and as of Friday morning this had not changed. The quarantine for travellers can be done at home and is based on an 'honour' system as no checks are in place.
New variants of the Covid virus are steadily spreading in France – latest figures show that 36 percent of all cases are the UK variant, while the South African and Brazilian variants account for a further 5 percent. Overall, however, the number of new cases in France is showing a slight but sustained fall, now standing at around 18,000 new cases a day.
Véran said the French government was awaiting the final results of a study from Harvard university in the USA, which suggested that the higher contagion rate of the new variants may not be linked to a higher viral load, but rather to the fact that patients remain contagious for longer.
Employees in France who need to quarantine and who cannot work from home can obtain an arrêt de travail online via the Ameli site, which signs them off work and ensures that they continue to be paid. There is also home help available for people who live alone and need assistance while quarantining.