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HEALTH

Reader question: In lockdown areas of France, when can I walk my dog and how far can I go?

As any dog owner will tell you, walkies do not stop for a little thing like a year-long health crisis, so here are the rules on walking the dog if you live in one of the 16 areas of France now under 'lockdown light'.

Reader question: In lockdown areas of France, when can I walk my dog and how far can I go?
Fortunately you don't need a form for each dog. Photo: Bulent Kilic/AFP

Question: I live in Paris and I’m confused about the rules on dog walking – can I walk the dog at all after 7pm? And do I need a form if I’m going out during the day?

Under the more relaxed lockdown rules now in place in these 16 départements of France there are indeed new rules on dog walking, but it depends on what time of day you are going out.

6am-7pm

During the day people are allowed out of their homes for exercise – including dog-walking – for an unlimited amount of time, so you and your furry friend can head out to the park for a good long walk.

However, you must stay within 10km of home.

If you are out for any of the permitted reasons – shopping, exercise, going to an medical appointment etc – you won’t need an attestation permission form as long as you are within 10km of home. You should however have ID and something to prove your address (eg a utility bill) with you in case of a police check.

7pm – 6am

In the evening, however, the rules are different as the curfew is still in place the rules here are stricter on leaving the home. Essentially you are only allowed to leave home for one of a short list of essential reasons.

A dog-walk does count as an essential reason, but you must stay within 1km of home.

An attestation is needed if you are walking the dog after 7pm.

So in short, your pet can get a nice long run out during the day and then a quick leg-stretch and final pee in the evening. 

We try to help our members out with all aspects of living in France, so if you have a question on any topic, email us us [email protected]

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HEALTH

Experts warn of high levels of flu in France this winter

Experts have warned of a particularly bad flu epidemic this winter in France due to a combination of lowered immune systems and 'vaccine apathy' - urging high-risk groups to get their shot as soon as the flu vaccination campaign begins in October.

Experts warn of high levels of flu in France this winter

France’s annual flu vaccine campaign will officially get under way on October 18th this year – and medical experts have warned that this year’s season may be a bad one amid fears of “vaccine apathy”.

When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters in France this autumn

Immunologist Alain Fischer, who chaired France’s Conseil d’orientation de la stratégie vaccinale throughout the Covid-19 pandemic said that the high number of flu cases in Australia and the southern hemisphere in its winter were “a warning sign” that this winter’s flu, coupled with rising cases of Covid-19, could lead to a sharp rise in hospitalisations again in the winter.

“For two years, influenza has been kept at bay, thanks to the barrier measures we have put in place against Covid,” he told Le Parisien. 

“This year, it will be difficult to maintain the same level of protection: masks, distancing, intensive hand washing … Faced with this relaxation, there is a serious risk of flu epidemic.”

Between two million and six million people contract flu every winter in France. The infection is responsible for between 4,000 and 6,000 deaths every year, usually among people aged 65 and over. But in ‘bad’ flu years, that mortality figure can rise rapidly.

READ ALSO When, where and how to get flu shots and Covid boosters this autumn in France

The country, meanwhile, is at the start of what is being described as an “eighth wave” of Covid, and the Haute Autorité de santé recommends the eligible, vulnerable people ensure they are vaccinated against both viruses as early as possible. “A Covid-flu cohabitation is not a good thing,”  Fischer said. “It is synonymous with a very high number of hospitalisations. 

“Hence the objective of two strong vaccination campaigns – Covid and flu – especially for the most vulnerable.”

“The double injection is very good, and practical for patients. But I think that we should not wait, especially vulnerable people. It is a mistake to think that you will get your Covid booster when the flu vaccine is here – the Covid jab should not be delayed.”

Currently less than 40 percent of people eligible for a fourth Covid vaccine have received their latest dose.

Dual-strain Covid-19 vaccines designed to combat both delta and omicron variants will be available in France from October 3rd.

READ ALSO France approves new vaccines for Covid Omicron sub-variants

“It is quite possible to get your Covid injection in early October and flu vaccine in late October – you will need both anyway,” Fischer said.

The Haute Autorité de Santé recommends influenza vaccination for the following groups:

  • people aged 65 and over; 
  • people with chronic diseases; 
  • pregnant women;
  • people suffering from obesity (BMI equal to or greater than 40 kg/m 2 );
  • Infants under 6 months at risk of serious influenza;
  • Families and others close to immunocompromised people; 
  • home help workers caring for vulnerable individuals.

For anyone in these groups, the flu vaccine is 100 percent covered by health insurance and delivered free of charge to the pharmacy, on presentation of a voucher.

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