Macron says lockdown for the unvaccinated ‘not necessary in France’

President Emmanuel Macron said France would not impose a lockdown on the unvaccinated like the one seen in Austria, but he didn't rule out expanding the booster dose programme to the general population.

French President Emmanuel Macron sitting in a chair. He has said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated is not necessary in France.
French President Emmanuel Macron has said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated is not necessary in France. (Photo by Thibault Camus / POOL / AFP)

In an interview published on Thursday by La Voix du Nord, Macron said that France would not force the unvaccinated into isolation. 

“Countries which have placed unvaccinated people into lockdown are those which did not implement a [health] pass. This measure [a lockdown for the unvaccinated] is therefore not necessary in France,” he said. 

Austria recently made headlines by forcing the unvaccinated into lockdown. Germany has also announced severe restrictions on the unvaccinated population. France is faring better than these countries and many other EU nations, when it comes to infection rates.

But Macron has said that the country should not not get complacent and he urged. the public to help persuade those not inoculated to get the jab.

READ ALSO How France’s Covid vaccine booster campaign compares to the rest of Europe

“We must all be ambassadors of vaccination. I can see that making public speeches can only go so far. Help me convince the people who are reticent and who remain closed off in isolated defiance.”

The French president did not rule out making booster doses available for the general population. It is currently available for the following groups:

  • The over 65s
  • People suffering from a medical condition that puts you at higher risk from Covid. This includes conditions like obesity, diabetes or asthma, you can find full details here 
  • Health workers or domestic carers
  • People in close contact of someone who is immunodeficient
  • People who have had the single-dose Johnson a Johnson (Janssen) vaccine

From December 1st, 2021, anyone aged 50 to 64, who had their most recent dose of Covid-19 vaccine at least six months previously can also get a booster dose. Appointments for vaccinations in December are open on medical platforms including Doctolib. 

READ ALSO France to deactivate health pass for over-65s who don’t get vaccine booster

From mid-December, health passes will begin to be deactivated for over 65s who are eligible for a booster shot but have not taken up the offer.

Macron suggested that making booster doses available for the general population would depend on scientific advice. 

“For the immunosuppressed and old people, we know that the risk-benefit balance is positive. If it becomes clear that a third dose is effective and necessary for the rest of the public, we will obviously integrate this into our health pass system,” he said. 

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End of the pandemic? What the expiry of Sweden’s Covid laws really means

With the expiry of Sweden's two temporary Covid-19 laws, the downgrading of the virus's threat classification, and the end of the last travel restrictions, April, officially at least, marks the end of the pandemic. We explain what it means.

End of the pandemic? What the expiry of Sweden's Covid laws really means

What are the two laws which expire on April 1st? 

Sweden’s parliament voted last week to let the two temporary laws put in place to battle the Covid-19 pandemic expire on April 1st.

The first law is the so-called Covid-19 law, or “the law on special restrictions to limit the spread of the Covid-19 illness”, which was used during the pandemic to temporarily empower the authorities to limit the number of visitors to shops, gyms, and sports facilities. It also gave the government power to limit the number of people who could gather in public places like parks and beaches. 

The second law was the “law on temporary restrictions at serving places”. This gave the authorities, among other things, the power to limit opening times, and force bars and restaurants to only serve seated customers.  

What impact will their expiry have? 

The immediate impact on life in Sweden will be close to zero, as the restrictions imposed on the back of these two laws were lifted months ago. But it does means that if the government does end up wanting to bring back these infection control measures, it will have to pass new versions of the laws before doing so. 

How is the classification of Covid-19 changing? 

The government decided at the start of February that it would stop classifying Covid-19 both as a “critical threat to society” and “a disease that’s dangerous to the public” on April 1st.

These classifications empowered the government under the infectious diseases law that existed in Sweden before the pandemic to impose health checks on inbound passengers, place people in quarantine, and ban people from entering certain areas, among other measures. 

What impact will this change have? 

Now Covid-19 is no longer classified as “a disease that’s dangerous to the public”, or an allmänfarlig sjukdom, people who suspect they have caught the virus, are no longer expected to visit a doctor or get tested, and they cannot be ordered to get tested by a court on the recommendation of an infectious diseases doctor. People with the virus can also no longer be required to aid with contact tracing or to go into quarantine. 

Now Covid-19 is no longer classified as “a critical threat to society”, or samhällsfarlig, the government can no longer order health checks at border posts, quarantine, or ban people from certain areas. 

The end of Sweden’s last remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions

Sweden’s last remaining travel restriction, the entry ban for non-EU arrivals, expired on March 31st.  This means that from April 1st, Sweden’s travel rules return to how they were before the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

No one will be required to show a vaccination or test certificate to enter the country, and no one will be barred from entering the country because their home country or departure country is not deemed to have a sufficiently good vaccination program or infection control measures. 

Does that mean the pandemic is over? 

Not as such. Infection rates are actually rising across Europe on the back of yet another version of the omicron variant. 

“There is still a pandemic going on and we all need to make sure that we live with it in a balanced way,” the Public Health Agency’s director-general, Karin Tegmark Wisell, told SVT

Her colleague Sara Byfors told TT that this included following the “fundamental recommendation to stay home if you are sick, so you don’t spread Covid-19 or any other diseases”.