Macron says lockdown for the unvaccinated ‘not necessary in France’

President Emmanuel Macron said France would not impose a lockdown on the unvaccinated like the one seen in Austria, but he didn't rule out expanding the booster dose programme to the general population.

French President Emmanuel Macron sitting in a chair. He has said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated is not necessary in France.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated is not necessary in France. (Photo by Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP)

In an interview published on Thursday by La Voix du Nord, Macron said that France would not force the unvaccinated into isolation. 

“Countries which have placed unvaccinated people into lockdown are those which did not implement a [health] pass. This measure [a lockdown for the unvaccinated] is therefore not necessary in France,” he said. 

Austria recently made headlines by forcing the unvaccinated into lockdown. Germany has also announced severe restrictions on the unvaccinated population. France is faring better than these countries and many other EU nations, when it comes to infection rates.

But Macron has said that the country should not not get complacent and he urged. the public to help persuade those not inoculated to get the jab.

READ ALSO How France’s Covid vaccine booster campaign compares to the rest of Europe

“We must all be ambassadors of vaccination. I can see that making public speeches can only go so far. Help me convince the people who are reticent and who remain closed off in isolated defiance.”

The French president did not rule out making booster doses available for the general population. It is currently available for the following groups:

  • The over 65s
  • People suffering from a medical condition that puts you at higher risk from Covid. This includes conditions like obesity, diabetes or asthma, you can find full details here 
  • Health workers or domestic carers
  • People in close contact of someone who is immunodeficient
  • People who have had the single-dose Johnson a Johnson (Janssen) vaccine

From December 1st, 2021, anyone aged 50 to 64, who had their most recent dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least six months previously can also get a booster dose. Appointments for vaccinations in December are open on medical platforms including Doctolib. 

READ ALSO France to deactivate health pass for over-65s who don’t get vaccine booster

From mid-December, health passes will begin to be deactivated for over 65s who are eligible for a booster shot but have not taken up the offer.

Macron suggested that making booster doses available for the general population would depend on scientific advice. 

“For the immunosuppressed and old people, we know that the risk-benefit balance is positive. If it becomes clear that a third dose is effective and necessary for the rest of the public, we will obviously integrate this into our health pass system,” he said. 

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Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.