MAP: Is your French département at risk of being placed under ‘lockdown light’?

Three départements have been added to the list of areas in France on 'lockdown light' and others could follow as the health minister warns of an 'extremely worrying' situation.

MAP: Is your French département at risk of being placed under 'lockdown light'?
Travel between regions on lockdown light is banned. Photo: THOMAS COEX / AFP

The areas of Rhône (including the city of Lyon), Nièvre and Aube were on Thursday added to the areas of France under extra restrictions as case numbers climb.

They join 16 départements, including the whole of the greater Paris region, which were placed under extra measures from Saturday, March 20th.

While the new lockdown measures are considerably more relaxed than those in the spring an autumn, non-essential shops closed, travel banned and socialising limited.

READ ALSO These are the rules in the parts of France on ‘lockdown light’

For the rest of France, life continues as before, and even got slightly easier as the curfew moved back one hour and now runs from 7pm-6am across the country.

However several areas are approaching the same conditions as the 19 under lockdown and risk extra restrictions.

The government has said it will base the decision on three factors; the number of cases per 100,000 of the population, the situation in local hospitals, in particular the intensive care occupancy rate and the speed of the growth in case numbers.

There are 12 départements at risk under this rating, all have passed the threshold of 250 cases per 100,000 people and many are reporting severe pressure on hospitals.

The 15 départements are; Bouches-du-Rhône (including Marseille) Doubs, Eure-et-Loir, Gard, Haute-Savoie, Yonne, Hautes-Alpes, Moselle, Orne, Pyrénées-Orientales and Var.

The tiny département of Territoire de Belfort on the Swiss border is also approaching the threshold, but as its small size means it has a lot of transit through it, it seems likely that extra measures here would be co-ordinated with its neighbouring areas.

However, being on the ‘at risk’ list does not necessarily mean a département will be placed under extra restrictions.

This time the government is making decisions on a case-by-case basis taking into account a range of local factors.

The next scheduled update on the overall health situation and restrictions is on Thursday, April 1st.

Member comments

  1. The only reason the département of Eure is in the Red Zone is because a lot of Parisians fled the capital to Vernon, taking the Covid-19 with them.

    But for them the provinces don’t matter.
    Living at the other end of Eure, our safe little town is rightly highly aggrieved.

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Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

With a sharp rise in reported cases in recent weeks, France appears to be in the middle of a new wave of Covid infections - so what measures are the government taking to control it?

Return of the health pass? How France plans to tackle new wave of Covid cases

Recorded case numbers in France are now over 50,000 a week, and have been since the beginning of June – this is a long way short of the 350,000 weekly cases recorded in January but still the highest since May and representing a steady an increase of 57 percent on the previous week.

Hospital admissions are also on the rise – standing at 707 admissions on Friday, June 24th compared to 400 daily admissions just two weeks earlier.

So what is the French government doing about it?

Since March, almost all Covid-related restrictions have been lifted in France – the health pass is no longer required for everyday activities such as visiting a bar or going to the gym and face masks are now merely advised in all indoor locations. Only hospitals and other health establishments such as nursing homes still have mandatory rules on face masks and health passes.

For international travel, fully vaccinated arrivals from most countries – including the UK, US and the whole of the EU – need only to show proof of vaccination, while unvaccinated travellers need to show proof of a recent negative Covid test – full details HERE.

Health pass

A proposed bill from the health ministry that was leaked to French media talks about re-imposing some form of pass sanitaire (health pass) to get numbers under control.

Some caveats to add here is that the document is only a proposal at this stage and the government has explicitly rules out – for the moment – reintroducing the vaccine pass. The health pass can be used to show either proof of vaccination or a recent negative Covid test, so it is less restrictive for the unvaccinated.

The document suggests re-introducing a health pass for travel – both to and from France – not for everyday activities like going to a café.

Testing and contact tracing

The bill also proposes extending the software involved in contact tracing and the Covid testing programme until March 2023, although this is described as a ‘precaution’.

Testing remains available on a walk-in basis at most French pharmacies and by appointment at health centres and medical labs. Tests are free for fully-vaccinated residents of France who have a carte vitale. Those are only visiting France, who are not registered in the French health system or who are not vaccinated have to pay – prices are capped at €22 for an antigen test and €54 for a PCR test.

READ ALSO How tourists in France can get a Covid test


The government’s Covid vaccine adviser Alain Fischer told France Info that he was in favour of making face masks compulsory on public transport again and said it is ‘being discussed” at government level.

At present masks are not required, but are recommended, especially on busy services where it is impossible to practice social distancing.

Epidemiologist Pascal Crépey said: “In crowded trains, the risk of being in the presence of infected people is high. It would be a good idea for the population to wear the mask, to protect especially the most fragile and avoid massive infection rates.”

Local measures

French local authorities also have the power to impose certain types of restrictions if their area has a particularly high rate of infections.

At present, none have done so, but Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has spoken in favour of possibly bringing back the vaccine pass over the summer.

Second booster shots

A second booster shot of the Covid vaccine is now available to all over 60s and anyone who has a long-term medical condition or who is otherwise at risk from Covid.

It is recommended that the government increase public messaging advising those in high risk groups to get the second booster shot. The medical regular HAS has advised combining second booster shots with the seasonal flu vaccine campaign in September and October.

France is not, at present, considering widening the campaign to the entire popular, but the EU’s vaccine commissioner Thierry Breton says that if necessary, there would be enough doses to cover the whole population.