France has confirmed the first case of a new variant of the coronavirus that recently emerged in Britain, its health ministry said.
The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is more contagious, has prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on the UK.
The first French case, found in a citizen living in Britain who arrived from London on December 19, is asymptomatic and isolates himself at his home in Tours, central France, the ministry said Friday. the night.
They were tested at a hospital on December 21 and later tested positive for the strain.
Health authorities have carried out contact tracing for health professionals treating the patient, the ministry said in a statement.
Any of his contacts deemed vulnerable would be equally isolated, he said.
In addition to this first case, several other positive samples that “may suggest the VOC 202012/01 variant are being sequenced” by the specialized laboratories of the National Pasteur Institute, the statement added.
– Borders closed –
On Monday, France’s health minister, Olivier Veran, admitted that the newly discovered strain may already be in the country.
Italian authorities have detected the new strain in a patient in Rome, while the World Health Organization reported that nine cases have been detected in Denmark and one in the Netherlands and Australia.
After the 48-hour ban this week, France had reopened its borders with the United Kingdom, in part to allow French citizens to return home, as well as to alleviate the massive accumulation of freight goods, but had instituted a policy of proof.
France’s Home Office said Thursday that limits on travel from the UK will continue “until at least January 6.”
For now, only citizens of France or the EU, those with residency rights there or business travelers can cross from the UK, if they can show a negative Covid-19 test less than three days old.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that the new viral strain “may be up to 70 percent more transmissible than the original version of the disease.”
Before Christmas, British Health Minister Matt Hancock announced the expansion of strict lockdown measures in other parts of southern England to contain the spread of the disease.
With more than 68,000 deaths from the virus, the UK is one of the worst affected countries in Europe.