French TV personality Grichka Bogdanoff dies of Covid-19

French TV personality Grichka Bogdanoff has died at the age of 72, his family has said.

File photo of French TV personality Grichka Bogdanoff, who has died at the age of 72
Grichka Bogdanoff. Photo: Yann Coatsaliou / AFO

Grichka Bogdanoff died in hospital in Paris, aged 72, his agent confirmed on Tuesday, while twin brother Igor is being treated for the virus at the same hospital, according to reports.

The twins became famous as TV personalities and hearthrobs in the 1980s, but in later years were best known for their increasingly bizarre appearance as they underwent dozens of cosmetic surgery procedures.

READ ALSO The Bogdanoff twins: The story of France’s TV heart-throbs turned ‘freak shows’

The family’s lawyer later confirmed to Le Monde that Grichka died of Covid-19, and had not been vaccinated. He was hospitalised on December 15th.

“Surrounded by the love of his family and his family, Grichka Bogdanoff passed away peacefully on December 28, 2021 to join his stars,” his family said in a short statement.

The brothers, who have links to European royalty, presented the popular TF1 science programme Temps X, from 1979 to 1987, and went on to present or feature in a number of science and sci-fi programmes on French TV.

Their lives later descended into academic controversy and legal troubles. In 2001, the “Bogdanoff affair” alleged that the brothers wrote nonsensical advanced physics papers that were published in reputable scientific journals.

They have also had a number of brushes with the law.

In recent years, they had become popular figures in the cryptocurrency community and in 2020 appeared on TF1’s celebrity show Mask Singer.

They had been working towards what they hoped would be a return to French TV screens, but plans for a new science-based show on pay-TV broadcaster Canal+ had been put on indefinite hold.

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French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The French parliament has passed the controversial health bill which updates France's emergency provisions for Covid - and allows the return of negative Covid tests for all travellers at the border, if the health situation requires.

French government votes to allow return of Covid tests at border

The Loi sanitaire was eventually approved by the Assemblée nationale on Monday after several variations and amendments added on its passage through the Assemblée and the Senate. It was voted on and passed Tuesday, May 26th. 

The bill replaces the State of Health Emergency that has been in place since March 2020 and puts in place provision for government actions should the health situation deteriorate or a dangerous new variant of Covid emerge.

The original text had a provision for the return of the health pass at the border, but this has now been scrapped and instead the government has the right to make a negative Covid test a condition of entry for all travellers.

At present negative tests are required only for unvaccinated travellers, and the new test requirement would only be put into force if a dangerous new variant emerges.

The government will be able to implement the testing rule by decree for two months, but a further parliamentary debate would be required to extend it beyond that.

From August 1st the State of Health Emergency will be formally repealed, which means that the government no longer has the power to introduce major limits on personal freedom such as lockdowns or curfews without first having a debate in parliament.

The bill also allows for an extension of data collection required for the SI-DEP epidemic monitoring tools such as the contact tracing app Tous Anti Covid until June 30th, 2023 and Contact Covid until January 31st, 2023. 

The most controversial measure in the bill was the reinstatement of healthcare workers who were suspended for being unvaccinated – this actually only involves a couple of hundred people but medical unions and the medical regulator Haut Autorité de Santé (HAS) have both been against it.

However the bill allows for the eventual lifting of the requirement for Covid vaccination for healthcare workers, when the HAS judges it is no longer necessary and once the requirement is lifted, the suspended healthcare workers will be reinstated “immediately”.

The bill was approved on Monday evening with 184 votes to 149, the result of a joint committee that was able to harmonise the versions of the Assembly and the Senate.

The final vote passed the Senate on Tuesday.