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Home / News / World /  France confirms first case of new coronavirus strain in London returnee

France recorded its first case of the new Covid-19 variant on Friday, as the number of cases and deaths from coronavirus mounted in the country, increasing concerns of a new wave of the virus hitting the euro zone's second-biggest economy.

The first case of a particularly infectious coronavirus variant that recently emerged in Britain has been confirmed in a French citizen living in Britain.

The person had tested positive for the new variant of the coronavirus. He is asymptomatic and self-isolating at home in Tours in central France, the French health ministry said.

The ministry said the case - the first in France - had been found in the city of Tours. The man in question arrived from London on 19 December. He was currently self-isolating and felt alright, the ministry added.

"The 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, the statement said.

In addition to this first case, "to date, several 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.

Spike in UK Covid cases linked to new virus strain

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock had said on 14 December that a spike in coronavirus cases in the United Kingdom might have been linked to the new strain of the virus in the country.

Hancock said more than 1,000 cases of the new variant had been identified, mainly in southeastern England.

Countries around the world have in recent days closed their borders to both Britain and South Africa following the identification of cases of the new, fast-spreading variant of the coronavirus in those countries.

France recorded 20,262 fresh, confirmed cases of coronavirus and 159 more related deaths in hospitals in the last 24 hours.

France's number of confirmed coronavirus cases now stands at 2,547,771 while its Covid-19 death toll stands at 62,427 - the seventh-highest in the world.

With agency inputs

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