Three cases of Indian Covid variant detected in southern France
The cases of variant B.1.617 identified in India have been detected in Lot-et-Garonne and Bouches-du-Rhône departments. Suspected of being more contagious than previous strains of the coronavirus, the variant is believed to be partly responsible for the devastating second wave of the pandemic in India.
Earlier this week, Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, had announced that "no case of the variant of Indian origin had been detected in metropolitan France", stating only two cases confirmed in Guadeloupe.
However, the health ministry announced this Thursday that the variant identified in India has been detected in France.
The first case, in Lot-et-Garonne, had already been announced by the end of the afternoon by the Regional Health Agency of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, while according to the ministry's statement two other cases were detected in the Bouches-du-Rhône.
Quarantined patients had returned from India
According to Benoît Elleboode, director of the ARS in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, "sequencing was done in Toulouse on a patient who had returned from India and who was taking a test again because he had to go abroad."
It was subsequently identified as the Indian variant.
The patient is a woman who tested positive on 9 April and has isolated herself with her family at her home.
- France sends medical supplies in international drive to aid Covid-stricken India
- India hits world’s highest Covid surge, placed on France's travel red list
Meanwhile, the two cases in the Bouches-du-Rhône department involve two people who returned from India, who were quarantined immediately after their arrival.
They reportedly tested positive at the start of their quarantine on 19 and 27 April respectively.
To date, several other suspected infections of the B.1.617 variant have been reported in France in people who have returned from India, but have yet to be confirmed.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe