Representative image Photograph:( Reuters )
The virus has been found in a French citizen living in Britain who arrived from London on December 19
France has confirmed first case of new coronavirus variant on its soil. The variant, which recently emerged in Britain is considered by experts to be more contagious. The virus has been found in a French citizen living in Britain who arrived from London on December 19. The citizen is asymptomatic and is self-isolating at home in Tours in central France.
Health authorities have carried out contact-tracing for the health professionals 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.
Fears arising from the new variant of the virus have prompted more than 50 countries to impose travel restrictions on UK.
On Monday, France's health minister Olivier Veran had admitted that it was possible the newly discovered strain was already 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 each in the Netherlands and Australia.
Following the snap 48-hour ban this week, France had reopened its borders to the UK -- partly to allow French citizens to return home, as well as to relieve the massive build-up of freight goods -- but had instituted a testing policy.
(With AFP inputs)