Having recently spent a few weeks in France, I can confidently say that the experience of life is currently very different from that in England. This is simply because the way that the covid-19 pandemic is being managed differently in the two countries.
France was easy to visit in September, all that was required was to demonstrate double-vaccinated status using the NHS app. To return to England we had to take two covid tests, one in France and one in England (now it is just the one in England) – despite the fact that the French covid statistics were much lower than the UK rate. So English measures are apparently more strict, but actually less effective.
While in France we never felt in great danger from covid-19, simply because mask wearing is widespread, and public spaces such as restaurants require either proof of double vaccination (the NHS app is accepted) or proof of a recent covid test. It became apparent that this is policed by the restaurants themselves, as we witnessed the exclusion of someone whose test had expired just a couple of hours before.
Returning to England, we were shocked by the low level of mask wearing and lack of social distancing in public after ‘freedom day’, particularly at large social events where no vaccine passport is required. For the clinically vulnerable and the elderly, this has now created a two-tier society where these groups are effectively excluded from many forms of social discourse.
The current daily rate of new cases is now below 5000 in France and over 40000 in England, which does suggest that the French ‘control’ approach is keeping the virus under much better control than the English ‘hands off’ approach.
Of course, the French approach is not universally approved of in France, particularly by the large population of French anti-vaxxers – but it works. The English approach is or course applauded by that constitutuency that objects to receiving any instruction from the state, even if it is for the general good – but it seems not to be working.
I know which approach I prefer.
2 thoughts on “Covid-19 in England and France”
Very interesting to get firsthand knowledge of the approaches of the two countries. It has continued to astound me that the UK has stayed so open in the face of daily case numbers that just don’t diminish. And yet it turns out their border requirements are more onerous?! It’s hard to fathom so many decisions that are being made these days. Just be glad you got to spend some time in France! 😊
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Where I live everyone wears masks, though social distancing seems a foreign concept. The cases in the city I live in never got over 100 in a day that I know of, and sometimes are as low as zero. I can’t get a decent vaccination myself. I applied, but as an expat I am low priority, and the US govt., put a lot of people ahead of me when it does ship some vaccines over. But the point is that even with very low cases the people here easily accept wearing masks.
Interestingly, I haven’t had so much as a cold, or even a sniffle, since covid arrived and people started wearing masks. Prior to that I had some whopping lung infections. While I’m quite sick of wearing masks all the time, they do seem to make a big difference in terms of reducing airborne communicable illnesses.
This corresponds a bit with your own observations. If the community in question wears masks, cases go way down, in which case some other measures can be less draconian. I do really look forward to the day when I can see people’s faces again.
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