France Confirms First Case of British Virus Variant.
France has confirmed the first case of a new coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain, its health ministry said. The new strain of the virus, which experts fear is far more contagious, has prompted more than 50 countries so far to impose travel restrictions on the UK.
The first French case, which was found in a citizen living in Britain who arrived from London on December 19, is asymptomatic and self-isolating at home in Tours in central France, the ministry said late Friday, Dec. 25. Health authorities have already carried out contact-tracing for the health professionals who had been taking care of the patient, the ministry said in a statement.
Any of their contacts that were seen as vulnerable would similarly be isolated, it said. In addition to this first case, several other positive samples that “may suggest the VOC 202012/01 variant are being sequenced” by the specialist laboratories of the national Pasteur Institute, the statement added.
On Monday, France’s health minister Olivier Veran had admitted that it was possible the newly discovered strain was already in the country. France’s interior ministry said Thursday that limits on travel from the UK will continue “until at least January 6”.
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