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Covid-19 Bulletin no. 49 – Relaxation of rules on mask-wearing

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 49 – Relaxation of rules on mask-wearing

Welcome to our forty-ninth bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.  In this bulletin, we bring you news about the relaxation of the wearing of masks and an update on travel arrangements if you are travelling to England plus news about the costs of PCR and lateral flow tests.  

Wearing of Masks Outdoors in Herault

Since 16th September 2021, it is no longer compulsory to wear a mask outdoors in Hérault, with the following exceptions:

  • Outdoor markets, car boot sales.
  • Large assemblies (festivals, outdoor entertainments).
  • Queues.
  • Outdoor areas in railway stations, bus stations, airports, ports, within 50 metres of bus stops and tramway stops.
  • Outdoor areas around shopping centres, schools and places of worship.  
  • Very busy streets and pedestrianised areas.

It will no longer be necessary to show your Pass Sanitaire for access to the three large shopping centres in the area which were previously subject to this rule.

Masks in primary schools in green zone
The French government has announced that as from 4th October 2021 face masks will no longer be required in primary schools in certain departments. For the departments covered by CSF-Languedoc, the Hérault is in the red zone, the Aveyron is in the green zone.

In the green zone, the limits of numbers in indoor public places (e.g., supermarkets, cinemas, museums, sporting facilities etc.) will also be lifted.

No change to the requirements for the Pass Sanitaire.

Travel to England from France

From 4th October 2021, for anyone who is doubly vaccinated, there will be no need for a negative PCR test less than 72 hours old. The Day 8 test will also no longer be necessary.

Travellers from France to England will still be required to:

  • book and pay for a day 2 COVID-19 test – to be taken after arrival in England
  • complete your passenger locator form – any time in the 48 hours before you arrive in England
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 after you arrive in England

You can find a list of authorised travel test providers here – https://www.find-travel-test-provider.service.gov.uk/test-type/green.

For the moment, this applies only to England. Please check for requirements for travel to Scotland,  Wales and Northern Ireland.

Reimbursement of PCR or lateral flow tests

From 15th October 2021, PCR or lateral flow tests in France will only be reimbursed on presentation of a medical prescription*. PCR tests are carried out at specialist testing centres (see here for the interactive map to find your nearest testing centre). Lateral flow tests are carried out at local pharmacies.

The cost of the tests has not yet been published, but it is likely to be similar to the price already paid by foreigners (29€ for the lateral flow test and 49€ for the PCR test).

*NOTE:  As part of the incentive to get people vaccinated, these tests will continue to be reimbursed – and available without prescription- for those who are fully vaccinated.

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).
 
If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com
 
We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 48 – 3 September – Booster vaccinations

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 48 – 3 September – Booster vaccinations

Welcome to our forty-eighth bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.  In this bulletin, we bring you news about the third booster dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.  The HAS (Haute autorité de Santé) recommend the injection of a third booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine for the over-65s and the most vulnerable.  The rules are:

  • There must be a delay of at least six months between the second and third doses of the vaccine.
  • Appointment slots are now open and can be booked via Doctolib. Vaccinations are due to begin on 15th September, however, the vaccines are widely available so you may get your appointment sooner.
  • The boosters are available for Pfizer, Moderna and Astra Zeneca (those vaccinated with Astra Zeneca will receive Pfizer or Moderna as their booster). There has been no decision on Jenssen.
  • Priority will be given to residents of old people’s homes (Ehpad) and long-term care units (USLD), people over 80 living at home, people at very high risk of severe forms of the disease, as well as immunocompromised people.
  • The high-risk categories include obesity, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, respiratory disease), respiratory failure, heart disease, complicated hypertension, Down’s syndrome, solid organ transplants, psychiatric disorder, history of cardiovascular accident. Click here for the full list of rare diseases leading to a high risk of hospitalisation or death from Covid-19.
  • Those who will be eligible for the third dose from 26th October (i.e., those who received their second dose in late April), will be recalled at the same time as they receive their recall for the annual seasonal flu jab, though the vaccinations will not be given at the same time – there will be a compulsory two-week gap between the two vaccines.
  • Veran also said that the government “could not rule out” an extension of the Passe Sanitaire beyond 15th November, but that would not happen without the agreement of Parliament.

In the long term, the third dose will be made available to all those vaccinated. The aim is to reduce the severity of subsequent waves and so limit the effect on hospital capacity as well as to increase the immunity of the wider public to enable a return to a more normal life.

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).
 
If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com
 
We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 47 – 8 August 2021 – Pass Sanitaire

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 47 – 8 August 2021 – Pass Sanitaire

Welcome to our forty-seventh bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.  In this bulletin we bring you news on:

  • Pass Sanitaire to be required in bars and restaurants (including terraces)
  • Masks to be worn outside in some towns and cities in Occitanie
  • France classified as Amber in the UK’s travel rules (was Amber Plus)
  • “Plan Blanc” implemented in Occitanie

The Pass Sanitaire required in bars and restaurants from Monday 9th August 

From Monday 9th August 2021, the owners of restaurants, bars and cafes will be obliged to ask their clients for their Pass Sanitaire (which is already required to visit cinemas, theatres, museums etc.).  You will also be asked for it in the following places:

  • Medical establishments (except in emergencies)
  • When boarding aeroplanes
  • When boarding public transport (only for long journeys by train or bus)
  • Some large shopping centres (this will be decided at Departmental level)

The “Pass Sanitaire” is a document (paper or digital) proving that you have either:

  1. had both doses of the vaccine, or
  2. had a negative Covid test with the last 72 hours, or
  3. had a positive antibody test less than 6 months before (for those who have recovered from Covid).

NOTE: You may also be asked to show photo ID.

For more information about the “Pass Sanitaire” in English, click here.

Masks once more compulsory in some urban areas

Some large towns and cities in Occitanie have re-introduced the compulsory wearing of masks.

Travel  France moves to the amber list

If you arrive in England from France from 4.00 a.m. Sunday 8 August and you are fully vaccinated in the UK, USA or Europe, you will not need to quarantine on arrival in England. 

You are still required to:

  • take a pre-departure Covid test less than 72 hours before you leave France;
  • complete a Passenger Locator form; and
  • book and take a day 2 Covid-19 test

NOTE:  You are no longer required to take a test on day 8 after your arrival in the UK.
For more information, click here.

According to the BBC website, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all confirmed that they will be following England’s travel rules which come into force from 4.00 a.m. on Sunday 8 August 2021.

Emergency hospital “plan blanc” put into effect in Occitanie

Along with other tourist regions of France, Occitanie has seen an alarming rise in Covid cases in recent weeks. The regional health authority has instigated the emergency “plan blanc”. This involves mobilising more staff, providing extra intensive care beds and postponing non-urgent surgical procedures. For more information click on the link below:https://www.occitanie.ars.sante.fr/coronavirus-dernier-point-de-situation-en-occitanie-0

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).

If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com
 
We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 46 – 13 July 2021

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 46 – 13 July 2021

Welcome to our forty-sixth bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.  In this bulletin we summarise the new regulations as announced by President Macron on 12th July 2021.

In his eighth public announcement since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Macron announced, after a meeting of the public health committee, the following:

Extension of the « pass sanitaire »

The “pass sanitaire” is a document (paper or digital) proving that either:

  • you have had both doses of the vaccine; or
  • you have had a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours; or
  • you have a positive antibody test less than 6 months old (for those who have recovered from Covid).

Previously necessary for events of more than 1000 people¸ use of the « pass sanitaire » will be considerably extended, in two stages:

  • From 21st July 2021, it will be required for events of more than 50 people and also indoor public places such as museums, theatres, cinemas, shopping centres etc. where more than 50 people could congregate.”*
  • From the beginning of August, it will be required for entry to restaurants, bars, trains and aeroplanes, medical establishments and even on long bus journeys.

Veran announces that vaccination will be considered complete in France one week after the second dose

Olivier Véran, Minister of Health, pointed out on Tuesday that the vaccination schedule would be considered complete one week after the administration of the second dose, instead of the two currently, a decision matured during discussions during the day with the president of the Scientific Council and the coordinator of the vaccination campaign. This does not, however, apply to travel requirements outside France.

Compulsory vaccination for workers in contact with vulnerable people

From 15th September 2021 vaccination will be compulsory for medical professionals and other staff working in hospitals, clinics and retirement homes, and will include workers caring for the elderly at home.

Booster jabs for those vaccinated in January or February 2021

As from the beginning of September 2021 there will be a campaign to recall those who were vaccinated in January or February 2021 and who were among the most vulnerable. They will be recalled for a booster dose of the vaccine.

Campaign of vaccination for secondary school pupils, sixth form pupils and students

A vaccination campaign for secondary school pupils, sixth form pupils and students will begin when schools reopen in September 2021.

Non-essential tests no longer reimbursed

As from October 2021, a doctor’s prescription will be necessary for reimbursement of the PCR and antigenic tests. These tests are already no longer free for tourists.

Stricter border controls

With immediate effect, there will be stricter border controls and non-vaccinated people from higher-risk countries will be asked to self-isolate.

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).

If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com

We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 43 – 30 April 2021 – Details for Lifting of Lockdown

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 43 – 30 April 2021 – Details for Lifting of Lockdown

Welcome to our forty-third bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.  In this bulletin we give details of the four stages of deconfinement in France, beginning on Monday 3rd May.  The calendar at the bottom of this bulletin (in French) gives you an at-a-glance picture of what changes and when.

On Thursday 29 April, President Macron published details of the timetable for the gradual ending of the current restrictions due to Covid-19. This will involve four major stages.

Stage 1 : from 3 May 2021

  • The 19h00-06h00 curfew remains in place.
  • Working from home wherever possible remains recommended.
  • Non-essential shops remain closed.
  • Secondary schools re-open with 50% home schooling, 50% presence in class for 4eme and 3eme.
  • Lycées re-open with 50% home schooling, 50% presence in class.
  • No attestations will be needed for travel outside curfew hours.
  • Travel between regions is permitted.

Stage 2 :  from 19 May 2021

  • Curfew will be from 21h00 (9 pm) to 06h00.
  • Working from home wherever possible is still recommended.
  • Re-opening of non-essential shops with limits on number of customers.
  • Re-opening of terraces (bars and restaurants) with a maximum of 6 people per table.
  • Re-opening of museums, monuments, cinemas, theatres, concert halls with seated audiences. Maximum of 800 indoors and 1000 outdoors.
  • Re-opening of indoor and outdoor sports venues with spectators limited to 800 people indoors and 1000 people outdoors.
  • Indoor sporting activities are permitted.
  • Meetings of more than 10 people are banned.

Stage 3 : from  9 June 2021

  • Curfew from 23h00 (11pm) to 06h00
  • Working from home is optional.
  • Re-opening of cafes and restaurants with a maximum of 6 people per table.
  • Up to 5000 people allowed in places of worship and sporting venues (with a yet to be confirmed suitable health certificate/negative test/vaccination passport).
  • Re-opening of sporting clubs and gyms, including indoor contact sports.
  • Re-opening of exhibition centres, up to a maximum of 5000 people.
  • Foreign tourists visiting France will be allowed with (yet to be confirmed) health certificate/negative test/vaccination passport.

Stage 4 : from 30 June 2021

  • Curfew will be discontinued.
  • No limit on numbers in places open to the public but social distancing and masks will still be required.
  • Indoor and outdoor events with more than 1000 people will be permitted, with health certificate/negative test/vaccination passport (yet to be confirmed).
  • Upper limit of public attendance for events will be based on the nature of the events and the local Covid-19 health situation.
  • Nightclubs will remain closed.

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).
 
If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com
 
We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 42 – Lifting of Lockdown

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 42 – Lifting of Lockdown

Restrictions being lifted on a step-by-step basis

Welcome to our forty-second bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.

On Thursday evening 22 April 2021, Prime Minister, Jean Castex, announced “the peak of the third wave seems to be behind us”.

The number of daily new cases has fallen by 17% in the last week although it remains just over 30,000 per day. This decrease is particularly noticeable in Ile-de-France, Hauts-de-France and Alpes-Maritime but the virus is still active in most of France. He stressed that the situation is “still fragile” and the re-opening of the country will be “step by step, prudent and progressive”.

The easing of restrictions comprises:

The limit of activity to within 10km of home will be lifted as from 3rd May.

The curfew – 19h00 to 06h00 – will be maintained up to mid-May.

Depending on the evolution of the virus, non-essential businesses could begin to re-open in mid-May, starting with non-essential shops, some cultural and sporting activities and terraces of bars and restaurants. The aim is for all business to return to normal by the beginning of summer.

Schools

  • Primary schools will re-open on 26th April.
  • Secondary schools will begin distance-learning as from 26th April with normal school attendance starting from 3rd May.   However, if just one pupil in a class tests positive, the whole class will be closed.
  • Some 2021 baccalaureate exams (philosophy and oral) will require attendance in person, as will the brevet exams.
  • Strict hygiene rules will be in place in schools. 400,000 saliva tests will be distributed starting with the departments with the highest infection rates.
  • 64 million self-testing kits will be available for teaching staff (twice weekly), then for sixth-form pupils (weekly) from 10th May.

Stricter border controls

People arriving from Brazil, Argentina, Chile, South Africa, and India will have to show a negative PCR test result less than 36 hours old. They will be re-tested on their arrival, followed by 10 days quarantine.

Vaccinations

  • By the end of this week, 24th April, 14 million people will have had at least one dose of the vaccine, representing a quarter of the adult population. More than 70% of people over 75 have had at least the first dose.
  • A new fourth vaccine (Johnson & Johnson) will be available for those over 55 as from Saturday 24th April.  200,000 doses were received at the end of last week, but distribution was delayed until the final decision, on 20th April, of the EMA (European Medicines Agency) who have now decided that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the minute risk of blood clots.
  • New addition to elibigility list:  From Monday 26th April, vaccination will be available to the families of people with immune deficiency illnesses. This will concern several hundreds of thousands of people in France.
  • Consultation is taking place as to whether to extend the eligibility for vaccination to people under 50 with severe obesity who have a high risk of a serious form of Covid-19. A decision will be taken soon, and vaccination could begin in mid-May.

If you have not yet had a vaccination, you can sign up on covidliste.com to receive an alert for an available dose near you. 

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).
 
If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com
 
We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 41 – New Restrictions

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 41 – New Restrictions

Welcome to our forty-first bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic.

President Macron made the following announcement on Wednesday evening 31 March 2021:

  • The situation is now critical with more than 5,000 serious Covid-19 cases in intensive care, worse than the peak of the second wave. New restrictions will be in place for the whole of France during the month of April.

Click here for the entire bulletin.

Posted by steve
Annual General Meeting

Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting is taking place this Thursday, 18th February at 2.30 pm via Zoom.

This year voting is online.

If you are not a member of CSF-Languedoc and would like to become a member, or need help attending via Zoom and/or voting, please contact Jackie at secretary.csflanguedoc@gmail.com.

Posted by steve
Covid-19 Bulletin no. 37

Covid-19 Bulletin no. 37

Welcome to our thirty-seventh bulletin during the Coronavirus epidemic. In this issue we have information about:
-PM Castex’s latest  announcement about C-19 restrictions in France
-Shopping centres closed in the Herault
-New advice about masks
-Further advice on vaccinations Information about GHIC and EHIC cards  

Prime Minister’s Announcement
At 8pm on Friday 29 January 2021 French Prime minister Jean Castex made the following announcement relating to Covid 19 and the restrictions in France:

The pandemic continues to be severe in France.  The R rate (the rate of reproduction of the virus) is 1.12 and 60% of intensive care beds are full of Covid patients.  PM Castex is offering one last chance to avoid another lockdown and invites people to continue to be vigilant. The 6pm curfew across France will remain in place for the time being   He is not ruling out another lockdown in future An almost total ban on travel to and from non-EU countries has been introduced (this includes the UK) Those traveling between EU countries are required to produce a negative Covid 19 test – this is compulsory Businesses are encouraged to increase opportunities for employees to work from home Non-food shops over 20,000 square metres are to shut from Monday.

Shopping centres closed in the Herault
The following shopping centres are closed, with only the food shops and pharmacies remaining open.  In addition, click and collect services are suspended but deliveries are authorised.

Montpellier The Odysseum shopping centre. The Polygone shopping centre, Béziers The Polygone shopping centre. The Auchan shopping centre (Auchan itself remains open) Lattes The Carrefour shopping centre  (Carrefour itself remains open)..  
Those shops permitted to open are required to enforce limits on customer numbers, and the police are being requested to enforce the rules.
Lycees will remain open.

Masks
There is new advice (though this is not a compulsory directive) on the types of face mask which provide the most protection – particularly from the UK variant of the virus, an announcement on 19 January said.  

It is suggested that cloth masks provide insufficient protection and, if you wear a cloth mask you should additionally wear a paper surgical mask. 

An alternative would be to use a professional FFP2 mask which are now easily available to buy on the internet at 1 euro each.  Use this link to purchase yours.   https://www.medisafe.fr/produits-d-hygiene/usage-unique/masque/masques-ffp2.html

Vaccinations
Those aged 75 or over, or with conditions which cause vulnerabilities, are eligible for a vaccine. 

Despite the much publicised shortage of vaccines, it is still possible (though challenging) to get appointment via www.sante.fr.

The Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) – a summary of post-Brexit Arrangements
Here we bring you up to date on current information and outline how you are covered from 1 January 2021 for health care that becomes medically necessary during a stay in another EU country or in the UK.

For those who live in the UK, the current EHIC card has been replaced by a new GHIC card.

People living in the UK will be able to use their existing EHICs until they expire, at which point they will apply for the new GHIC. The GHIC offers almost the same cover as the previous EHIC, but with one difference; unlike the EHIC it can’t be used in Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein or Switzerland.

For UK nationals living in Europe, the EU-issued EHIC will continue to be valid if you travel to the UK, as well as in other EU states, as it is now.  Nothing will change for you and you do not need to take any specific action.

A reminder that the EHIC only covers the cost of treatment which becomes medically necessary during your stay outside your host country. This includes: emergency treatment and visits to A&E treatment for a long-term or pre-existing medical condition routine medical care for pre-existing conditions that need monitoring oxygen and kidney dialysis Some treatments need to be pre-arranged with the relevant healthcare provider in the country you are visiting, for example kidney dialysis or chemotherapy.

You will be reimbursed on the same basis as a national of the country you’re visiting. This means that in some countries you may need to pay a proportion of the cost of the health care you receive.
For more information, see the UK Government’s page.  https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/apply-for-a-free-uk-global-health-insurance-card-ghic/

Cancer Support France-Languedoc (CSF-L), Covid-19 response

CSF-L continues to support English speakers touched by cancer in the Hérault and Aveyron, as well as extending support to people touched by Covid-19 during the crisis. In line with guidance, this is done at distance. Our Helpline can be reached on 04 67 44 87 06. (This is a voicemail service and we aim to return calls within 24 hours of a message being left).

If there is information you would like to share with others, please contact us using our email address: feedback.csflanguedoc@gmail.com

We hope you stay safe and well.

Posted by steve