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.

France is allowing health workers who are infected with the coronavirus but have few or no symptoms to keep treating patients rather than self-isolate, an extraordinary stop-gap measure aimed at alleviating staff shortages at hospitals and other medical facilities caused by an unprecedented explosion in infections, AP reports.

The special exemption to France’s quarantine rules being rolled out to hospitals, elderly care homes, doctors’ offices and other essential health services testifies to the growing strain being placed on the French medical system by the fast-spreading omicron variant.

It is a calculated risk, with the possibility that COVID-positive health workers and carers could infect colleagues and patients weighed against what the government says is a need to keep essential services running.

Outside the health sector, for people not covered by the special exemption, France’s quarantine rules require at least five days of self-isolation for fully vaccinated people who test positive.

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