How to avoid a peak in contamination at Christmas and a third wave of covid in January? In a scientific background note published on December 14, the scientific Council recommends self-containment for a week for those wishing to spend family holidays, and the use of testing for risky contact before Christmas Eve.

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Take time off or work from home

Experts recall that it is necessary to “limit family and friends meetings as much as possible, especially during this end of year period, by discussing the reasons with those around them“.

For those who will still spend the holidays with the family, the best is to confine themselves preventively: take leave or tele-work a week before December 24 or 31, they advise.

This self-containment is all the more important for those who plan to meet elderly people, the most vulnerable to the virus, during the holidays, underlines the scientific council.

“Tolerance” for student absences

What about schoolchildren and high school students? The Council calls for strengthening barrier gestures in this last week before the holidays. But that’s not all: a “tolerance“will be applied Thursday 17 and Friday 18 for the absences of students who self-confine before the holidays, according to the opinion of the scientific council, specified to AFP the office of the Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blank.

Whenever possible, especially if we have to receive vulnerable people at Christmas, the Scientific Council (…) has said (…) if you can not take your children to school on Thursday and Friday ( …), you do it“, said Prime Minister Jean Castex on Europe 1 December 15. Parents must, however, notify schools.

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Testing the residents of nursing homes

But should we get tested? First point: nursing home residents who will leave the establishment for a few hours or a few days will have to be tested by PCR on their return, the experts specify.

For all the others, the scientists call for resorting if necessary to the tests on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday before Christmas and New Year’s Eve. But without giving in to the feeling of “false security“: the tests do not make it possible to exclude 100% an infection and the barrier gestures must continue to be respected.

Do not saturate the test system

In detail, a symptomatic person in the week before Christmas or New Year’s Day should be tested and self-isolate without waiting for the result. Without symptoms, you can be tested if you have taken a risk, for example in the event of multiple contacts or with a positive case.

On the other hand, without symptoms or risk taking during the week, it is better to abstain so as not to saturate the test system. “It is not a question of limiting access to the test, but of demonstrating a “citizen spirit”“, finally specifies the scientific council.