What do we know about South African variant contaminations in France?

Olivier Véran gave details on Thursday concerning the presence of the South African variant in France.





© Thomas Coex/Pool via REUTERS


They are commonly referred to as the English variant and the South African variant. France is not spared by these two mutant strains of covid-19, cases of which have been detected in the country. Few “scientific data” exist for the time being on that from South Africa, Olivier Véran recalled Thursday at a press conference, but it would be “probably more contagious” than the version of the virus which traditionally circulates in France. “At this stage, there is no reason to believe that it causes more serious forms,” added the Minister of Health, who indicated that “a few cases” of this variant, called by scientists 501Y.V2 , had been detected in France.

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Two people returned from Mozambique

The minister cited the case of a woman “hospitalized in very serious condition in a hospital in Île-de-France”, who traveled to Mozambique in December with a religious congregation. Several positive cases were then detected in his entourage. “All the people were isolated,” said Olivier Véran. He also mentioned the existence of a “cluster” of the 501Y.V2 variant in Nantes with a person “contaminated during this trip to Mozambique”.

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Regarding the variant which is rampant across the Channel, it contaminates between “200 to 300 people” every day in France. It does not “give more serious forms” and “is sensitive to the vaccine” reassured the minister, but it is also “more contagious”, from 30 to 70% according to scientists. It is “potentially more contagious in children”, he added, recalling that “reinforced surveillance” will be applied in schools. He had already announced earlier Thursday the establishment of a new screening protocol in schools with 1 million tests per month among students and teachers.

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