In its attempt to ease staff shortages at hospitals and other facilities, France is allowing infected health care workers who show few or no symptoms to keep on treating patients rather than self-isolate.
It is a calculated risk, with the possibility that health care workers with COVID-19 could infect colleagues and patients being weighed against what the government says is a need to keep essential services running.
For those not covered by the special exemption, France’s quarantine rules require at least five days of self-isolation for the fully vaccinated who test positive. For the unvaccinated, self-isolation is at least seven days.
Governments and industries have warned that isolation rules are creating staff shortages across a range of sectors as the omicron variant causes surges in infections in many countries. In some places, quarantines have been shortened, including France, to get workers back to their posts.
But in Europe, France appears to be alone in now also opening up the possibility for health care personnel to work while infected.