The more transmissible South African variant of SARS-CoV-2 has spread at a faster rate, with COVID-19 cases increasing rapidly in many parts of France, French Health Minister Olivier Véran warned on Tuesday. a press briefing. “This week we have seen a sharp increase in the proportion [of Covid-19 cases involving] the South African variant, which represented 6% of diagnoses and which now represents 10%, in particular in the inner suburbs of Paris, ”said Véran. He added that recently, the neglected suburb of the French capital, Seine-Saint-Denis, was the hardest hit, which had drawn criticism for keeping schools open even when the rest of the country entered a strict lockdown for stem the more virulent wave of COVID-19.
In an edifying development, the French Minister of Health told reporters that so far France has not recorded any cases of the Indian variant on the continent. But the new surge in ICU admissions and hospitalizations, caused by the South African variant 501Y.V2, also known as the 20H / 501Y.V2, B.1.351 line in France, has become a “cause for concern.” »Major. Earlier last month, French Health Minister Veran visited the eastern Moselle department to hold an emergency meeting with regional leaders and health chiefs as France was reporting a high number of COVID-19 cases of the new variants, according to French media. In recent weeks, variants of SARS-CoV-2 accounted for 25% of total cases in France and nearly 30% in the capital Paris.
In a statement earlier this month, the office of French Prime Minister Jean Castex said France was blocking its international air travel, adding that the restrictions were due to “the uncontrolled spread of the virus in some countries” and “in particular several variants, raising concerns about a risk of increased transmissibility or vaccine leakage. “
The South African variant “ particularly worries ” France
At least 6,000 COVID-19 patients infected with the more transmissible South African variant were rushed for admission to intensive care on Monday. As many as 400 people have succumbed to the infection despite a strict lockdown in place. During a weekly briefing, French Health Minister Veran said the relentless spread of more infectious strains of Covid-19, especially that detected in South Africa “is of particular concern to us.” Describing the situation as “disturbing”, the French minister said: “We must continue our efforts, in particular in the fight against the spread of the variants which, as we know, are more contagious.” On Tuesday, France, as part of its mass vaccination campaign, managed to inoculate around 20 million people, at least 27% of whom were adults and more vulnerable who received the first dose.