France ends Covid state of emergency, dissolves scientific council

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A new committee to monitor and anticipate health risks was created in France on Sunday to replace the scientific council on Covid and the vaccine strategy steering committee, bringing an end to the state of emergency imposed since the beginning of the pandemic.

The two bodies, on which the government relied during the government during the Covid-19 pandemic, were dissolved this Monday effectively putting an end to the state of emergency.

According to France's Ministry of Health, the new committee will be made up of sixteen scientific or health professionals who will be appointed in the near future.

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

Emergency lockdowns are over

Although Covid is still here, as of 1 August only the monitoring of the pandemic will be maintained and "measures limiting freedom of movement, freedom of enterprise and freedom of assembly" can no longer be imposed by the French government.

This brings to an end any emergency lockdowns, travel certificates for shopping or walking, curfews, compulsory teleworking, bans on "non-essential" shops and health passes.

Vaccination passes and all measures "limiting freedom of movement, freedom of enterprise and freedom of assembly," have been lifted, according to the government, as published on its Vie Publique website.

Prevention measures in place

Although the government will no longer be able to impose the wearing of masks - as well as in health and medical-social establishments - hospitals have said they will still enforce 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 degradation of the health situation; if a new problematic variant of the virus is identified, screening tests could also be set up at France's borders.

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

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