France says it will reduce the isolation period for fully vaccinated people who test positive for COVID-19.
Health Minister Olivier Veran told the newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche on Sunday that fully vaccinated people will only have to isolate for seven days instead of 10, beginning on Monday.
They can leave quarantine after five days if they test negative for coronavirus, he said.
There will also be no quarantine for fully inoculated individuals who have a close contact test positive.
But those who are not vaccinated and who test positive “will have to self-isolate for 10 days, with a possibility to come out of isolation after seven days under the same terms”, Veran said.
Other countries such as the United States also reduced this week the isolation period for COVID-19 to five days in a bid to prevent disruptions in industries for lack of staff.
The French Ministry of Health said the changes in rules respond to the need “to take into account the extremely rapid evolution of the spread of the Omicron variant in France”.
It said the decision to reduce isolation periods was “aimed at ensuring the virus is controlled while maintaining socioeconomic life”.
Additionally, it said that “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”.
France on Saturday became the sixth country in the world to report more than 10 million COVID-19 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Health authorities reported 219,126 new confirmed cases in a 24-hour period, the fourth day in a row that the country has recorded more than 200,000 cases.
In his New Year’s Eve address, French President Emmanuel Macron said the next few weeks would be difficult, but he stopped short of imposing new restrictive measures to contain the virus.