Coronavirus digest: France cuts COVID-19 isolation time

World Sunday 02/January/2022 15:05 PM
By: DW
Coronavirus digest: France cuts COVID-19 isolation time

Paris: A series of COVID-19 rule changes will cut the amount of time vaccinated people spend in quarantine if infected

The French government will ease quarantine requirements for people infected with the coronavirus despite record numbers of new cases, Health Minister Olivier Veran said.

Starting Monday, fully vaccinated people who test positive for the coronavirus will only have to isolate for seven days and can leave quarantine after five days if they show a negative test, Veran told the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche.

Unvaccinated people would have to quarantine for 10 days and their isolation time could be shortened to seven days with a negative test, he said.

Meanwhile, fully vaccinated contacts of positive cases will no longer need to isolate provided they test themselves every other day for six days. Unvaccinated contacts will have to isolate for seven days.

The change in regulations should allow a "benefit-risk balance aimed at ensuring the virus is controlled while maintaining socio-economic life," the Health Ministry said.  

To be considered fully vaccinated, an individual must have received a booster dose no later than seven months after being immunised. Veran said this period will now be shortened to four months from February 15.

The UK has so far refused to curb socializing and large events despite record infections last week, citing a less dramatic increase in hospitalizations when compared with case numbers.

"Curbs on our freedom must be an absolute last resort and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avert them," Health Secretary Sajid Javid wrote in the Daily Mail newspaper.

"I've been determined that we must give ourselves the best chance of living alongside the virus," he added, noting the "enormous health, social and economic costs of lockdowns," he added.

In New South Wales (NSW), Australia's most populous state, COVID-19 numbers have decreased. Newly diagnosed cases in NSW dropped to 18,278 from 22,577 the day before as the number of tests carried out on New Year's Day declined by a quarter, Health Department figures showed.

However, hospitalisations jumped by 18% to 1,066, prompting growing concerns about potential strains on the country's health system.

Ecuador saw COVID-19 cases triple in the last quarter of 2021, following the appearance of the Omicron variant, according to official figures.

December recorded a total of 24,287 cases, more than double the number reported in November (9,513), and more than three times the number reported in October (7,556).

Ecuador ended 2021 with a total of 551,620 confirmed cases in its last quarter, including 33,682 deaths, reflecting an increase of 61% and 58% over the same period in 2020, respectively.