French Health Minister Olivier Veran talks to journalists after visiting a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination center in Paris, France, November 28, 2021 Photograph:( Reuters )
French health minister said that as cases had been found in England, Italy and Belgium, it was likely that the virus was already circulating in France
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Sunday that Omicron variant of coronavirus may already be spreading in France. He said that government was taking measures to contain spread of the variant. Omicron variant had been first detected in South Africa and is potentially more contagious than previous variants.
Experts however, are yet to fully determine whether Omicron will cause more or less severe COVID-19 compared to other strains
"There is no identification yet, but it's a matter of hours," Olivier Veran told reporters at a vaccination centre in Paris.
"Once the variant is circulating in England, in Italy, in Belgium, it is probable that there are already cases in circulation here. We will identify them and (...) we will slow down its spread as much as possible."
France is in the midst of a fifth wave of the virus.
The Health Ministry recommended on Saturday the isolation of any contact person at risk of a possible case or a confirmed case of the Omicron variant, even vaccinated, in documents sent to establishments and health professionals.
Those people should be considered "high risk" and quarantined, the document said.
Until now, contact cases of an infected person had to be isolated only when they were not fully vaccinated or when they had weak immune systems.
(With inputs from agencies)