France rapped for Covid ban on outings from care homes

France rapped for Covid ban on outings from care homes
An elderly woman at EHPAD in southern Paris, on November 12th, 2020. Photo: Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP
France's top administrative court has struck down the government's advice to elderly care homes not to allow residents out because of the risk of Covid-19, saying that "forced confinement" could harm their mental health.

In a ruling published late Wednesday, the Council of State said the months-long ban on all outings was “disproportionate” and suspended the measure with immediate effect.

Responding to a complaint lodged by a resident’s family the council said prolonged confinement could “alter the physical and psychological state of many residents, as numerous studies have shown.”

It noted that most care-home residents had already been vaccinated against the virus and were therefore not at risk.

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By March 1st, 82 percent of people in retirement homes had received their first jab and 57 percent had received a second.

The minister in charge of the elderly, Brigitte Bourguignon, said the government had “taken note” of the ruling and would consult with residents’ families as well as legal and medical experts on a new set of recommendations.

At the outset of the pandemic last year, France, like many countries, banned care-home residents receiving visitors. It later rescinded the ban after it was widely slammed as inhumane.


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