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France to ease COVID-19 isolation rules

PARIS (AFP) – France will relax COVID isolation rules from today, the government announced, in a bid to ease their impact on society and the economy.

Fully vaccinated people who test positive will only have to isolate for seven days regardless of the coronavirus variant they were infected with, but can leave quarantine after five days if they show an antigen or negative PCR test.

There will be no quarantine for fully inoculated individuals who have a close contact test positive.

However, people must respect protective measures and “undergo regular testing”, Health Minister Olivier Veran said in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche.

Until now, those who tested positive in France had to isolate for 10 days with their close contracts also quarantined for a week.

The maximum isolation period could be up to 17 days – regardless of the variant – if a household contains a positive case.

The change in rules responds to the need “to take into account the extremely rapid evolution of the spread of the Omicron variant in France”.

It should allow a “benefit-risk balance aimed at ensuring the virus is controlled while maintaining socio-economic life”, said the Ministry of Health.

Additionally, “the first available virological data” showed “the incubation period of Omicron appears to be faster than previous variants, favouring a possible reduction in the length of isolation”.

Meanwhile, people who test positive for the virus – but who are not fully vaccinated – must complete a 10-day quarantine, according to the same rules, but shortened to seven should they present a positive antigen or negative PCR test.

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