COVID-19: the situation in France (21.07.21)

After vaccination campaigns and measures that allowed the number of infections to fall below 2,000 per day, France is once again facing the prospect of a rapid resumption of the epidemic, like most European countries. Faced with the spread of the Delta variant, which is 60% more contagious than previous variants, the President of the Republic announced on July 12 several measures to encourage the French to get vaccinated to get out of the health crisis, to prevent a new epidemic wave, and to protect the French population and foreign visitors.

Latest measures announced

  • Faced with the resurgence of the epidemic in Martinique and Reunion, a state of health emergency was declared as of July 13. A curfew is again established between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. in Martinique and from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. in La Réunion. Compelling reasons are reinstated for travel to or from Martinique as of July 21 at midnight for non-vaccinated persons except minors accompanying vaccinated adults. Martinique joins Guyana, Reunion and Mayotte in these restrictions.
  • From July 21st, the use of the health pass will be extended to leisure and cultural places gathering more than 50 people. This pass will be required for anyone over the age of 12 years old. Minors between the ages of 12 and 18 will be exempted until August 30th.
  • From August 1, this health pass will also be required to go to cafés, restaurants, shopping centers (of more than 20 000 m²), long-distance transportation (plane, train, bus), and hospitals for anyone older than 12 years old. Minors between 12 and 18 years old will be exempt until August 30th.
  • Border controls will be reinforced as of this week for nationals coming from countries at risk, with forced isolation for unvaccinated travelers (see below the new rules applicable as of July 17 for international travel)

International travel to/from France

Since June 9, the flow of travelers between France and foreign countries has been reopened according to modalities that vary according to the health situation in third countries and the vaccination of travelers.

A classification of countries into 3 color categories (green, orange, red) has been defined based on health indicators.

The lists of countries are likely to be adapted according to the evolution of their epidemic situation (to be found on the government website).

As of July 17, all vaccinated persons coming from countries classified as green, orange or red can enter France without restriction.

« Green » countries: no active circulation of the virus, no variants of concern identified.

  • European Union member states as well as Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Norway, San Marino, Switzerland and the Vatican. The following countries are also on the list: Albania, Australia, Bosnia, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kosovo, Lebanon, North Macedonia, Montenegro, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States and Vanuatu.

Among the green-listed countries, Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece are placed under surveillance as of July 17 within the European Union.

  • Vaccinated travelers from these countries can enter the territory without performing a PCR test.

Travelers (12 years and older) who have not been vaccinated must present a negative PCR or antigenic test that is less than 72 hours old (less than 24 hours old for the countries under surveillance: Spain, Portugal, Cyprus, the Netherlands and Greece). Children under 12 years of age are exempt from testing.

« Orange » countries: active circulation of the virus in controlled proportions, without diffusion of variants of concern.

  • All countries except “green” and “red” countries.
  • Vaccinated travelers from these countries may enter the country without performing a PCR test.

Unvaccinated international travelers must have a compelling reason and must present a negative RT-PCR test less than 72 hours old or a negative antigen test less than 48 hours old before departure (PCR or antigen test less than 24 hours old for the United Kingdom).

Children under 12 years old are exempt from testing. A random test may be performed upon arrival at the port of entry. Finally, travelers will be required to perform a 7-day self-isolation.

« Red » countries: active virus circulation, presence of variants of concern.

  • Afghanistan, Argentina, Bangladesh, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Russia, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Tunisia, Uruguay and Zambia.
  • Vaccinated travelers (EMA-recognized or similar) from these countries may enter without performing a PCR test.

Unvaccinated international travelers must have a compelling reason and present a negative RT-PCR or antigen test less than 48 hours prior to departure. They will also be required to undergo an antigenic test upon arrival and a 10-day self-isolation period monitored by the authorities.

Vaccines approved by France

The vaccines accepted by France are those recognized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA): Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

The proof of vaccination is only valid if it shows a complete vaccination schedule, i.e:

2 weeks after the 2nd injection for dual-injection vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Covishield);

4 weeks after the injection for vaccines with a single injection (Johnson & Johnson);

2 weeks after injection for vaccines in people with a history of Covid-19 (only 1 injection required).

Travel to Corsica

A specific system has been put in place for travel to Corsica.

As of June 9, any person over 11 years old wishing to travel to Corsica from France must have:

  • Either the result of a PCR test less than 72 hours prior to travel or antigenic test less than 48 hours. The only antigenic tests that are valid are those allowing the detection of the N protein of SARS-CoV-2; self-tests are not accepted for travel.
  • Proof of vaccination status (full schedule),
  • Or a certificate of immunity for people who have already contracted Covid. This proof consists of a positive result of an RT-PCR or antigenic test performed more than 15 days and less than six months before the trip (this is the result of the test you had performed at the time you reported the disease)
  • And a sworn statement of no symptoms.

Travelers should pay attention to the fact that trips of less than 24 hours from Corsica to the continent are no longer allowed as of June 14th.

More information is available on the website of the Corsican Regional Health Agency.

Overseas territories and departments

Specific measures have been taken for the overseas territories.

  • As of July 18, travel of non-vaccinated persons, wherever they come from, to French Guiana, Reunion, Mayotte are subject to compelling reasons except for minors accompanying vaccinated adults. As of July 21, 2021 at midnight, the measure will also apply to Martinique.
  • A curfew is currently in force in French Guiana, Martinique, Saint Martin, Reunion, Mayotte and Walis and Futuna.
  • For air travel to the French Overseas Departments and Territories, the PCR test within 72 hours or the antigenic test within 48 hours before boarding is still mandatory for passengers coming from France or from abroad (countries classified as “green” or “orange”). Passengers coming from a “red” country must provide a PCR test or an antigen test less than 48 hours old.
  • For flights in the French Overseas Territories: In view of the local epidemiological situation, the prefect may impose compelling reasons for departure and arrival in the territories. Proofs are then checked by the airlines or the Border Police.
  • For international flights: restrictions decided locally by the State representative or the competent authority apply.

In addition, the Ministry of Overseas France invites people wishing to travel to an overseas territory to find out in advance on the restrictions in place to fight against the epidemic of Covid-19 by checking the website of the prefecture or the high commission.

Security measures and restrictions.

  • As of June 17, wearing a mask outdoors is no longer mandatory, with some exceptions (gatherings, lines, markets, stadiums…).

However, some tourist communities have passed by-laws making it mandatory to wear a mask outdoors.

  • As of July 17 and until August 6, wearing a mask in public places is once again mandatory in the department of Pyrénées-Orientales, which is currently experiencing an important phase of virus propagation, particularly the Delta variant. This measure does not apply on the beach and in large natural areas
  • However, wearing a mask is still mandatory in enclosed public places (companies, stores, transportation…) throughout the country for anyone aged 11 years and over (and from 6 years old at school) and in public transportation.
  • Gatherings, meetings or activities in public spaces involving more than 10 people at the same time remain prohibited.
  • The consumption of alcohol in public spaces remains prohibited.

Openings / closings in France

Are open / can open:

  • The counters of public services and banks,
  • Shops, markets, pharmacies,
  • Parks, gardens, forests and beaches,
  • Public transportation,
  • Hotels, collective hostels, tourist residences, residential tourist villages, vacation villages and family vacation homes as well as camping and caravanning sites,
  • Places of worship,
  • The terraces of restaurants and cafés,
  • The interior spaces of cafés and restaurants (50% capacity, tables of 6 people maximum),
  • Museums, theaters, cinemas, monuments as well as theaters with a seated audience (with an adapted protocol and attendance capacity: 8 m² per visitor and 800 spectators maximum),
  • Thermal establishments,
  • Casinos,
  • Sports halls and gymnasiums,
  • Nightclubs (since July 9) with heath pass.

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