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France mulls suspending all flights from India and imposes 10-day quarantine on arrivals

The French government has extended its quarantine list to include India, making a total of five countries from which all arrivals in France will be subject to a compulsory 10-day quarantine.

France mulls suspending all flights from India and imposes 10-day quarantine on arrivals
Signs showing the heath measures travellers need to take at the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport near Paris on March 18th. Photo: ERIC PIERMONT / AFP

Travellers from India will have to undergo a compulsory 10-day quarantine upon their arrival to France or risk fines, government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday.

“For certain countries where the health situation is very serious and worrisome in particular, we will again tighten the screws,” Attal said.

Attal spoke following the weekly Defence Council meeting, where President Emmanuel Macron and selected government ministers discuss what measures, if any, to take to stem the epidemic spread.

The government was considering suspending flights from India, as it did with flights from Brazil, French TV channel BFM reported, based on anonymous sources from the PM’s office. The LCI news channel reported the same, but no flight ban has yet been announced.

India was the fifth country to be added to the list of areas subject to a travel quarantine, a few days after Paris announced a ban on all flights from Brazil to stave off the P1 coronavirus variant, and required quarantines for passengers on flights from Argentina, Chile and South Africa.

Attal said more details on the new travel restrictions would be published soon and that “other countries could be added to the list”. 

Flights from Brazil were suspended until at least Friday (April 23rd) because of concern about the P1 variant of the coronavirus, which is more contagious than the original strain and can also re-infect those who have had the original virus.

Although flights from Argentina, Chile and South Africa will not be suspended, all arrivals from those countries will have to submit to the quarantine or face fines.

Justifying the decision not to ban flights from the other countries, Paris said that those variants had not reached the levels observed in Brazil.

The new quarantine measures will be gradually introduced over the coming days until they are fully enforced by next Saturday, April 24th.

Travel into France from most non-EU countries is already limited, but the new measures will also restrict arrivals from the named countries, mainly to French citizens and their families as well as other EU nationals and people who are permanent residents in France.

Arrivals from French Guyane and the Antilles will also be subjected to tests before and after their flights, said the statement.

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COVID-19

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

France's public health body outlined how Covid-19 rules changed starting on February 1st, including an end to compulsory self-isolation after a positive test result.

France scraps compulsory self-isolation after positive Covid test

Starting on February 1st, Covid rules relaxed in France as the country brought an end to compulsory isolation for those who test positive for the virus.

However, those travelling from China to France will still be required to agree to a random screening upon arrival and to isolate in the case of a positive Covid-19 test result. Travellers aged 11 and over coming from China must also provide a negative test result (less tan 48 hours) prior to boarding and those aged six and over must agree to wear a mask on board flights. These regulations – which was set to last until January 31st – is set to remain in place until February 15th.

The French public health body (The Direction générale de la santé or DGS)  announced the change on Saturday in a decree published in the “Journal Officiel” outlining the various ways the body will loosen previous coronavirus restrictions.

READ MORE: What Covid rules and recommendations remain for visiting France?

Those who were in contact with someone who tested positive – ie a contact cases – will also no longer be required to take a test, though the public health body stressed that both testing after contact and isolating after receiving a positive test remain recommended.

Previously, even asymptomatic people who had been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 were required to test on the second day after being notified that they were a “contact-case”.

These changes took effect on February 1st.

READ MORE: What changes in France in February 2023?

The DGS also said that website SI-DEP, which records test results, will remain in operation until June 30th, however starting in February it will only collect personal data with the express permission of the patient.

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Additionally, the French government announced that sick leave procedures for people with Covid-19 would return to normal starting February 1st – this means that those who test positive for Covid-19 now also have the three-day wait period before daily sick benefits are required to be paid, as is usually the case. Previously, people with Covid-19 could expect daily sick benefits to begin at the start of their sick leave period (arrêt maladie in French).  

READ MORE: How sick leave pay in France compares to other countries in Europe

Covid tests are still available on walk-in basis from most pharmacies are are free to people who are fully vaccinated and registered in the French health system. Unvaccinated people, or visitors to France, have to pay up to a maximum of €22 for an antigen test of €49 for a PCR test. 

If you recently tested positive for Covid-19 in France – or you suspect you may have contracted Covid-19 – you can find some information for how to proceed here.

In explaining the changes that began at the start of February, the French public health body also noted a drop in Covid-19 infections in the past month. As of January 30th, approximately 3,800 people in France had tested positive in the previous 24 hours for the coronavirus – which represents a decrease from the averages of 20,000 new cases per day about one month ago.

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