France ends Covid state of emergency and dissolves scientific council

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A new committee for monitoring and anticipating health risks was created in France on Sunday to replace the scientific council on Covid and the steering committee for the vaccine strategy, ending the state of emergency imposed since the start of the pandemic.

The two authorities, on which the government relied during the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, were dissolved on Monday, effectively ending the state of emergency.

According to the French Ministry of Health, the new committee will be composed of sixteen scientific or health professionals who will be appointed soon.

Reporting to the Minister of Health and Prevention, François Braun, and to the Minister of Higher Education and Research, Sylvie Retaille, the new body will be responsible for scientific monitoring of new health risks “linked to human infectious agents and animals, environmental and food pollutants and climate change”, and also issue recommendations.

Emergency lockdowns are over

Although the Covid is still there, from August 1, only the surveillance of the pandemic will be maintained and “the measures limiting freedom of movement, freedom of enterprise and freedom of assembly” can no longer be imposed by the French government.

This puts an end to emergency closures, travel certificates for shopping or on foot, curfews, compulsory teleworking, the ban on “non-essential” businesses and health passes.

Vaccination passes and all measures “limiting freedom of movement, freedom of business and freedom of assembly” have been lifted, according to the government, as posted on its Vie Publique website.

Prevention measures in place

Even if the government will no longer be able to impose the wearing of masks – as well as in health and medico-social establishments – hospitals have indicated that they will still impose the wearing of face coverings.

However, it may be made compulsory again in the form of ministerial or prefectural decrees, depending on the evolution or deterioration of the health situation; if a new problematic variant of the virus is identified, screening tests could also be set up at the French borders.

Meanwhile, the new health law will also lead to the reinstatement of unvaccinated health personnel who are currently suspended from duty.

As of July 28, according to Covidtracker, 19.1% of French people have not been vaccinated.

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