Lunchtime News Monday 30th August 2021


Rules on teleworking to be left to the discretion of the company - The rules for working from home are to be laid out later today, with a new protocol being published by the government on Tuesday evening. Speaking to French radio this morning the employment minister Elisabeth Borne, said that the “decision will be handed back to companies and that there will no longer be a minimum number of days”.

On June 9th, the rules for teleworking were relaxed, with a new protocol allowing companies to bring their employees back to the office several days a week, while recommending that a "minimum number of days" be respected. This will no longer be the case.

Covid figures stabilising - Meanwhile the latest figures from Public Health France have shown that the health crisis is stabilising in mainland France. The pressure on hospitals has stopped increasing. The number of hospitalized patients stands at 11,092 and has remained between 11,000 and 11,200 for the last six days. The intensive care units, which admit patients with the most serious forms of Covid-19, currently treat 2,276 patients. This figure has fluctuated between 2,200 and 2,300 for six consecutive days, after an increase between the end of July and mid-August corresponding to the "fourth wave" of the epidemic in France.

Over the past seven days, there have been 5,321 hospitalizations in total, while in mid-August there were more than 9,000 per week. Covid has caused the death of 114,210 people in France since the start of the pandemic, including 53 in the last 24 hours.

Vaccination campaign - The vaccination campaign is keeping its pace. According to the Directorate General of Health, 48,390,138 people have received at least one injection (i.e. 71.8% of the total population) and 43,584,130 people have benefited from a complete vaccination schedule (i.e. 64.6%) .

Booster jab appointments open from today - From today Monday 30th August, those eligible for the covid booster jab will be able to make an appointment. From mid-September France will offer an additional vaccine dose to all over 65s and people at risk of serious forms of Covid-19. There must be a gap of at least six months between the patient’s second and third vaccine dose except for those who have a serious underlying health issue.

Study suggest the appearance of a new covid variant - The appearance of a new covid variant has been suggested in a new study published last week. As scientist express their concern the Minister of Health has issued an “alert” and the WHO says it is monitoring the situation.

This time, the new variant would come from South Africa and would have been detected in several countries. According to several epidemiologists including the American Eric Feigl-Ding, it would be much more contagious than the other variants and would make vaccines ineffective. This study is currently in "preprint", which means that it has not yet been validated by peers but has clearly raised concerns.

This variant has already been detected in England, Switzerland, Portugal, Mauritius, China and New Zealand. The scientists added that more work is needed to understand the exact impact of these mutations and see if they give this new variant an advantage over the Delta variant.

1.8 million employees required to have a health pass from today - From today Monday 30th August some 1.8 million employees in France will be required to have a health pass. Many sectors of activity are concerned in both public and private sectors with the rist of fines being applied for offenders. The health pass is now an obligation for all employees, volunteers, service providers, temporary workers, subcontractors who work in establishments which welcome the public. For a full list of workplaces concerned go to the service-public website. There are some exceptions as the measure does not apply to people working in spaces not accessible to the public, such as offices and employees under the age of 18 will not be affected by this obligation until September 30th.


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