France increases Covid quarantine period to 10 days

France has increased its Covid quarantine from 7 days to 10 over fears that new variants of the virus remain infectious for longer.

France increases Covid quarantine period to 10 days
Health minister Olivier Véran announced the quarantine rule change on Thursday. Photo: AFP

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.

READ ALSO What is France doing to control new variants of Covid?


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.

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‘Public opinion is ready’ – These French senators want to legalise marijuana

A group of 31 French senators of the Socialist, Green and Republican parties have come together to write a statement calling for the legalisation of marijuana in France.

'Public opinion is ready' - These French senators want to legalise marijuana

France is known for having some of the strictest laws regarding marijuana consumption in Europe – while simultaneously maintaining one of the highest rates of cannabis usage in the EU. 

A group of French senators – coming from the Socialist, Green and centre-right Les Républicains parties – are trying to change those laws, and have come together to call for marijuana to be legalised in France.

The group of 31 co-signed a statement published in French newspaper, Le Monde, on Wednesday, August 10th.

In the statement, the senators promised to launch a ‘consultation process’ to submit a bill to legalise marijuana “in the coming months.”

The proposition was headed by Senator Gilbert-Luc Devinaz, a member of the Socialist Party, and gained support from the party’s leader, Patrick Kanner.

READ MORE: The long and winding road towards changing France’s cannabis laws

A report by the Assemblé Nationale, which was published in May 2021, estimated that nearly 18 million French people (more than 25 percent of the population) had already consumed marijuana, and that an additional 1.5 million consume it regularly.

This, coupled with the 2019 finding that nearly one in two French people (45 percent) said they were in favour of legalisation, according to a survey by the French Observatory of Drugs and Drug Addiction (OFDT), helped strengthen the senators’ position.

“Public opinion is ready, the legislature must act,” they wrote.

Their senators argue that legalising marijuana in France will allow the authorities to better protect French citizens, saying that legalising would not require “minimising the health impacts of cannabis consumption” but rather would allow regulation similar to “public policies for tobacco, alcohol or gambling.”

For the group of 31 senators, the benefits of legalisation would involve a better control over the “health quality of products consumed,” “curbing trafficking in disadvantaged areas,” developing large-scale prevention plans,” and finally the taxation of cannabis products and redirection of law enforcement resources. Decriminalisation – in their opinion – would not be sufficient as this would simply “deprive authorities the ability to act,” in contrast to legalisation. 

READ MORE: Is France moving towards legalising cannabis for recreational purposes?

“In the long term, new tax revenues would be generated from the cannabis trade and from savings in the justice and police sectors”, which would make it possible to mobilize “significant resources for prevention as well as for rehabilitation and economic development,” wrote the senators.

In France, the conversation around cannabis has evolved in recent years – former Health Minister (and current government spokesman) Olivier Véran said to France Bleu in September 2021 that “countries that have gone towards legalisation have results better than those of France in the last ten years,” adding that he was interested in the potential therapeutic use of cannabis.

Currently, the drug is illegal in France. Previously, it fell under a 1970-law of illicit drug use, making it punishable with up to a year prison and an up to €3,750 fine.

However, in 2020, the government softened the penalties, making it possible for those caught consuming it to opt for an on-the-spot fine of €200.

There is also an ongoing trial involving 3,000 patients to test the impacts of medical marijuana usage, particularly with regard to pain relief.