Updated May 27: The government announced today travelers arriving from the U.K. will have to isolate for a period of seven days. This will impact air, rail and bus travel and the confinement will be subject to controlled visits with a €1,500 fine for non-compliance.
Clément Beaune, the French Europe minister, tweeted on Wednesday night that from Monday, May 31, travelers arriving from the U.K. will have to provide a negative PCR or antigen test carried out within 48 hours before departure and self-isolate for seven days. Those who are neither French nationals or residents will additionally have to provide a “compelling reason” for their trip.
The new restriction reflects a bid to control the super-spreading Indian variant. The first case of B.1.617.2 appeared in India in December 2020 and now the “Indian” strain is present in 60 countries. In France, 84 cases have been detected in 9 regions, mostly from families returning from India.
The Pfizer vaccine is 88% effective against the Indian variant (93% against the British variant) while AstraZeneca is 60% effective against both the Indian and British strains.
According to gov.uk, 70% of the British population have received at one dose of the vaccine (nearly 40% have had both shots) but there have been 3,424 recent cases of the Indian variant recorded in the U.K. The country is set to lift all lockdown measures on June 21.
Germany reacted by imposing a two-week quarantine period for all travelers arriving from the U.K., what they referred to as a “mutation zone,” from May 23, regardless of whether they can provide a negative Covid test result.
From tonight, 24 million people in France (nearly 35% of the population) will have been vaccinated with one injection. 80% are those over 55 are now vaccinated.
Monaco typically releases its figures on Friday but as of May 18, 15,688 people (40.91% of the population) have had their first shot. For the week ending May 23, 4,629 PCR and antigen tests were carried out on residents and non-resident with a positivity rate of 0.41%. The incidence rate has again dropped to 20.86 per 100,000 people from 36.5 on May 16.
In the Alpes-Maritimes, the incidence rate has fallen to 46 (it is one of six departments under the 50 “alert” barrier) with a positivity rate of 1.2%. 429,733 people (39.15% of the population) have received at least one dose.
In France, the incidence rate is 124 with a positivity rate of 3.48%. From June 9, the second stage of deconfinement kicks in. Curfew will be bumped again by two hours to 11 p.m. (still until 6 a.m.) and cafés and restaurants can open for indoor service with a 6-person max per table and at total 50% capacity. Gyms and sports stadiums can reopen.
Those with a health pass (pass sanitaire) will have access to events, sports stadiums, expos and fairs with a maximum capacity of 5,000. Foreign tourists can also enter France with a health pass.
Also from this date, QR codes will be displayed at the entrance of all bars, restaurants and gyms. Using the government TousAntiCovid app, anyone entering an establishment can scan the QR code anonymously and should another person present within the same two-hour period test positive for Covid, an orange alert will be sent with instructions to get tested or a red alert instructing testing and self-isolation.
And with the easing of the work from home rule also coming into effect on June 9, an Opinion Way poll has revealed that 33% of employees who have been working remotely say they are “depressed.”
Half do not want to return to the office 100% of the time, and 80% would like to continue to work from home 1 to 3 days a week.
Since returning to the office, four out of ten feels that colleagues are more aggressive.
And in non-Covid news, two individuals on scooters robbed a retired couple sitting on a bench near Port Canto in Cannes on Tuesday afternoon. The victims were threatened with a weapon and the two suspects, who were wearing sanitary face masks, escaped with a necklace and two Rolex watches worth around €40,000.
On Sunday, a Monegasque couple with a villa on avenue du Danemark in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin returned home after watching the Grand Prix and were met by several armed robbers wearing helmets who made off some €600,000 of goods.