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COVID-19 RULES

Explained: How to get a certificate of recovery from Covid in France

When the health pass becomes a vaccine pass on Monday, it will still be possible to use proof of recovery from Covid-19 as a way to access various public venues - but there are limitations.

Getting proof of recovery from Covid in France is easy.
Getting proof of recovery from Covid in France is easy. But if you were infected overseas, the process is a little more complicated. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

Since the health pass transformed into a vaccine pass on January 24th, one of three things is required to enter venues including bars, cinemas, restaurants, gyms, leisure centres, sports grounds, tourist sites and long distance trains

  • Proof of full vaccination (with booster if eligible)
  • Proof that you cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons – full details on that HERE
  • Proof or recovery from Covid, known as a certificat de rétablissement

Negative Covid tests are no longer accepted. The rules apply to everyone in France – including tourists and visitors, such as visiting sports professionals.

READ MORE What changes on Monday when France brings in the vaccine pass?

Proving recovery from Covid is very straightforward in France.

Although the rules refer to a certificat de rétablissement you don’t actually need a new certificate, you simply need a positive Covid result obtained via a PCR or antigen test (not a self-test), that is more than 11 days old, but less than six months old.

From February 15th, this time period shrinks to more than 11 days old but less than four months old. 

If you tested positive more than six months ago – or more than four months ago from February 15th – you can no longer use the positive test result, but are eligible to be vaccinated.

If you tested positive in France, you will normally be sent a link via email or SMS, from the SI-DEP website. You will be able to print out proof of your positive test result from this web page – this is considered a certificat de rétablissement

You may also be able to get a paper copy of your test result from the site you were tested, if it was at a bio-medical lab, pharmacy or GP for example. This is considered a certificat de rétablissement

If you use the TousAntiCovid app you can scan the QR code from your positive test result via the carnet or “wallet” section of the app. This allows you to carry a digital copy of your recovery everywhere you go. You can of course stick to carrying around paper versions if you want to. 

What if I tested positive overseas?

In theory, you can use a positive Covid test taken abroad to obtain a certificat de rétablissement if the test itself conformed to EU standards and provided you with a QR code that can integrated with the bloc’s Digital Covid Certificate system. 

The EU has tried to harmonise testing procedures among member states and has published a list of approved Covid test manufacturers to ensure some level of uniformity.

A number of non-EU countries also provide tests recognised by the bloc. These include: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Cape Verde, El Salvador, the Faroe Islands, Georgia, Israel, Iceland, Lebanon, Lichtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Saint-Marino, Serbia, Singapour, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Togo, Turkey, Ukraine, UAE, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the Vatican City. 

Not all tests types performed in these countries will give you the necessary QR code to obtain a certificat de rétablissement in France. The French government has created a platform for you to check whether the test you took is recognised by the French health authorities, which is available here

If you were tested outside the European Union or the other countries listed above, your chances of being able to obtain a certificat de rétablissement are slim. Your best hope is to go to a testing site with proof that you tested positive overseas and politely ask one of the staff to update your health/vaccine pass accordingly. 

Some readers have said that they managed to do this successfully to benefit from the “one infection = one dose” rule. 

READ MORE Will my health pass deactivate if I can’t get a booster because I caught Covid?

It is worth remembering that if you test positive for Covid and have already received your initial cycle of vaccines, you become eligible for a booster dose three months after the date of infection. 

What about travelling out of France?

The above rules apply for the domestic pass – needed for access to bars, cafés etc – but for international travel the rules are different. 

Until as recently as early January, people who had tested positive for covid and uploaded the result on their phone would receive an alert, saying that an extra certificate was required for travel within the EU.

Screen shot from the TousAntiCovid app

However, this has now been simplified so that a positive covid test result alone, downloaded from the SI-DEP website can be used for travel within the EU and Schengen zone.

However, only PCR tests are accepted for this, antigen tests cannot be used, in contrast to the domestic health pass.

Once outside the EU, travel rules vary. You should check with the health authorities and embassies in the country you intend to travel to, in order to find out whether they will let you use proof of recovery from Covid as an alternative to full vaccination as a means to gain entry. 

Member comments

  1. Can you please advise on how USA travelers (vaccinated ONCE with Pfizer) might enter France on the basis of recovery from Covid? Thanks.

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COVID-19 ALERT

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

A resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe, this time driven by new, fast-spreading Omicron subvariants, is once again threatening to disrupt people's summer plans.

Covid-19: European summer holidays threatened by rise of subvariants

Several Western European nations have recently recorded their highest daily case numbers in months, due in part to Omicron sub-variants BA.4 and BA.5.

The increase in cases has spurred calls for increased vigilance across a continent that has relaxed most if not all coronavirus restrictions.

The first resurgence came in May in Portugal, where BA.5 propelled a wave that hit almost 30,000 cases a day at the beginning of June. That wave has since started to subside, however.

READ ALSO: KEY POINTS: German Health Ministry lays out autumn Covid plan

Italy recorded more than 62,700 cases on Tuesday, nearly doubling the number from the previous week, the health ministry said. 

Germany meanwhile reported more than 122,000 cases on Tuesday. 

France recorded over 95,000 cases on Tuesday, its highest daily number since late April, representing a 45-percent increase in just a week.

Austria this Wednesday recorded more than 10,000 for the first time since April.

READ ALSO: Italy’s transport mask rule extended to September as Covid rate rises

Cases have also surged in Britain, where there has been a seven-fold increase in Omicron reinfection, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The ONS blamed the rise on the BA.4 and BA.5 variants, but also said Covid fell to the sixth most common cause of death in May, accounting for 3.3 percent of all deaths in England and Wales.

BA.5 ‘taking over’

Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at the University of Montpellier, said Covid’s European summer wave could be explained by two factors.

READ ALSO: 11,000 new cases: Will Austria reintroduce restrictions as infection numbers rise?

One is declining immunity, because “the protection conferred by an infection or a vaccine dose decreases in time,” he told AFP.

The other came down to the new subvariants BA.4 and particularly BA.5, which are spreading more quickly because they appear to be both more contagious and better able to escape immunity.

Olivier Schwartz, head of the virus and immunity unit at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, said BA.5 was “taking over” because it is 10 percent more contagious than BA.2.

“We are faced with a continuous evolution of the virus, which encounters people who already have antibodies — because they have been previously infected or vaccinated — and then must find a selective advantage to be able to sneak in,” he said.

READ ALSO: Tourists: What to do if you test positive for Covid in France

But are the new subvariants more severe?

“Based on limited data, there is no evidence of BA.4 and BA.5 being associated with increased infection severity compared to the circulating variants BA.1 and BA.2,” the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said last week.

But rising cases can result in increasing hospitalisations and deaths, the ECDC warned.

Could masks be making a comeback over summer? (Photo by OSCAR DEL POZO / AFP)

Alain Fischer, who coordinates France’s pandemic vaccine strategy, warned that the country’s hospitalisations had begun to rise, which would likely lead to more intensive care admissions and eventually more deaths.

However, in Germany, virologist Klaus Stohr told the ZDF channel that “nothing dramatic will happen in the intensive care units in hospitals”.

Return of the mask? 

The ECDC called on European countries to “remain vigilant” by maintaining testing and surveillance systems.

“It is expected that additional booster doses will be needed for those groups most at risk of severe disease, in anticipation of future waves,” it added.

Faced with rising cases, last week Italy’s government chose to extend a requirement to wear medical grade FFP2 masks on public transport until September 30.

“I want to continue to recommend protecting yourself by getting a second booster shot,” said Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza, who recently tested positive for Covid.

READ ALSO: Spain to offer fourth Covid-19 vaccine dose to ‘entire population’

Fischer said France had “clearly insufficient vaccination rates” and that a second booster shot was needed.

Germany’s government is waiting on expert advice on June 30 to decide whether to reimpose mandatory mask-wearing rules indoors.

The chairman of the World Medical Association, German doctor Frank Ulrich Montgomery, has recommended a “toolbox” against the Covid wave that includes mask-wearing, vaccination and limiting the number of contacts.

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