Coronavirus: Can we really put in place the isolation of people who test positive?

 EPIDEMIC The draft bill providing for new sanitary measures is due to be presented to the Council of Ministers on Monday. The isolation of people sick with Covid-19 had not been announced by Emmanuel Macron in his speech

A PCR test carried out, which could soon, in case of positivity, lead to an isolation of ten days — Philippe LOPEZ / AFP
A PCR test carried out, which could soon, in case of positivity, lead to an isolation of ten days — Philippe LOPEZ / AFP

  • The executive wants to put in place ten-day isolation for people who test positive for the coronavirus in France.
  • An unprecedented measure on the territory since until then, only people returning from abroad in the red zone were concerned.
  • But the bill, far from being validated, poses several questions.
If Emmanuel Macron's speech on Monday spent a long time on the extension of the health pass and, more generally, the importance of vaccination, certain measures that the government wishes to put in place were not announced by the government. President of the Republic on television.

One of the most important concerns is a ten-day isolation project for people who test positive for the coronavirus in the territory, unveiled by the Politico and Context sites and confirmed by the executive. Until then, only people returning from certain countries had to self-isolate for seven days. The Health Insurance already asked for ten-day isolation for positive people, but the latter was not enshrined in law. This will be done after the adoption of the text that will be presented on Monday.

How does it work?

A person who tests positive for Covid-19 will have to isolate himself for 10 days in a place whose address must be communicated during the examination of the positive test. The draft provides for the maintenance of an exit permit between 10 a.m. and 12 a.m., as well as possible adaptations concerning "the continuation of family life", "the special condition of minors", or the case of persons whose safety would be threatened during their isolation.

Compliance with this solitary confinement can be monitored by the police and gendarmerie, thanks to random checks, as already exists for travelers returning from a country on the red list. The proceedings are under the supervision of the liberty and detention judge.

Is isolating a person legal?

The draft law, together with all the measures, was transmitted on Tuesday by the government to the Council of State, which must validate the matter. The Council of State has intervened several times during this health crisis, for example on the gauge of up to 30 people per place of worship, judged a "serious and manifestly illegal attack on the fundamental freedom that is the freedom of religion".

The Council of State is due to give its opinion on the text on Monday, a text that will then be read in the National Assembly on 20 or 21 July, then in the Senate. The validation of the three agencies is necessary.

Invited on BFMTV, Health Minister Olivier Véran admitted that he could not ensure that the measure was validated: "It is not certain, if we put it in a bill, that the Council of State would tell us: 'We can do it '. It is not certain that if it were in a bill that Parliament would say to us, "You can do it." »

Is the measure applicable?

The whole problem with this measure could be its inapplicability with the outbreak. France has gone from an average of 1,800 cases per day over the last week of 26 June to more than 5,000 daily cases on average over the past seven days, and this does not seem to be coming to an end. According to Olivier Véran, France could experience 10,000 positive people per day from the beginning of August.

However, the more people there are to isolate, the more problematic it is. If the measure is validated, the obligation of isolation would be in the form of an individual prefectural order – for each positive person, therefore. That is, from the beginning of August – if Olivier Véran's forecasts are good – 70,000 orders to be signed by the prefects per week.

The problem is the same for controls. While the police are less present and have other missions in the summer – including the surveillance of beaches and the main tourist places – how to ensure that the measures are respected if there are more than 100,000 people to monitor?

Another fact of the equation: Olivier Véran had made his predictions before the extension of the health pass, which should logically boost the number of tests – now almost mandatory for all activities in closed places in case of absence of complete vaccination – and therefore the number of positive cases.

As for hoping for a decrease thanks to the measures announced by Emmanuel Macron on Monday, these should begin to take effect in three weeks in the best case, leaving by then a potential explosion of positive cases that could compromise this measure aimed precisely at controlling them.a

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