'Every minute counts' as France detects COVID-19 variant first found in England

MARSEILLE/PARIS (Reuters) - French authorities said on Sunday they were racing to contain the more infectious variant of COVID-19 first found in Britain, which has now been detected in France's Mediterranean port of Marseille and in the Alps. Marseille Mayor Benoit Payan said seven to eight people had tested positive for the new variant in the city, while tests were underway on 30 others who may also have been exposed to it

Reuters January 11, 2021 03:10:52 IST
'Every minute counts' as France detects COVID-19 variant first found in England

Every minute counts as France detects COVID19 variant first found in England

MARSEILLE/PARIS (Reuters) - French authorities said on Sunday they were racing to contain the more infectious variant of COVID-19 first found in Britain, which has now been detected in France's Mediterranean port of Marseille and in the Alps.

Marseille Mayor Benoit Payan said seven to eight people had tested positive for the new variant in the city, while tests were underway on 30 others who may also have been exposed to it.

"Right now, every minute counts in terms of preventing the spread of this English variant," Payan told reporters.

The local health authority in the Hautes-Alpes region, home to many ski resorts which attract British visitors, said the variant had also been discovered there.

France has the seventh-biggest COVID-19 death toll in the world. Deaths rose by 151 over the last 24 hours to reach a total of 67,750, while the number of new, confirmed cases rose by 15,944 to stand at around 2.78 million.

The variant, first found in England late last year, has been blamed by the British government for a surge in cases threatening to overrun British hospitals in the last month.

In response to the discovery of the variant in Marseille, the city imposed moved the start time of an evening curfew two hours earlier to 6 p.m.

Marseille joined other major cities such as Strasbourg and Dijon in having longer curfew hours. In Paris, 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew hours remain unchanged for now.

President Emmanuel Macron's government has said it will not rule out stricter measures if the COVID-19 situation worsens in France.

Macron has been working on speeding up the country's vaccine rollout. France had delivered just 7,000 shots more than a week after launching its vaccination campaign on Dec. 27. The government said a vaccine made by Moderna will arrive in France this week.

(Reporting by Marc Leras in Marseille, and Sudip Kar-Gupta and Matthieu Protard in Paris; Editing by Mark Heinrich, Raissa Kasolowsky and Peter Graff)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.