The coronavirus variant detected on French soil

The suspension of links between France and Great Britain on December 20 will not have prevented the VOC 202012/01 variant of the Sars-Cov 2 coronavirus from crossing the Channel. A first contamination was detected in Tours, said the Directorate General of Health (DGS) on December 25. This is a man of French nationality, who arrived from London on December 19. The patient presents with an asymptomatic form of Covid-19. After being taken care of at Bretonneau hospital in Tours, he is currently in isolation at his home, according to information provided by the DGS. All people, including health professionals, who came into contact with him were placed in solitary confinement.

Several cases under review

The result of his test, carried out as soon as he arrived on French soil, presented elements likely to suggest the variant circulating in Great Britain. Sequencing was then requested from the National Reference Center for Respiratory Infections Viruses (CNR) at the Institut Pasteur, which confirmed the infection with the VOC 202012/01 variant on December 25. Currently, several positive samples that may evoke the VOC 202012/01 variant are also being sequenced by the CNR laboratories.

This screening is part of the system for detecting and monitoring possible cases of infection or carriage of the 202012/01 VOC variant, set up by the CNR and Public Health France. In this protocol, analytical laboratories must ask the CNR for sequencing for any positive PCR test on a person returning from the United Kingdom or having been in contact with a person returning from the United Kingdom, but also, more generally, any result. that may resemble the variant virus. The same procedure was adopted for returnees from South Africa, where another variant of SARS-CoV-2 is actively circulating.

Near Dover, a Christmas Eve in their trucks for stranded drivers
Cases of the new variant spotted in England have also been confirmed in several European countries, including Belgium, Denmark and the Netherlands. Traffic was re-established between the United Kingdom and France from December 22, but the entry into French soil of travelers coming from across the Channel remains conditional on the presentation of a negative PCR test.


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