A French doctor said the country had seen its first coronavirus patient in December, weeks before its first officially registered case.
Dr. Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at several hospitals in Ile-de-France, Paris, said that new tests on patient samples confirmed that the virus was in France just after Christmas.
His team reviewed the negative coronavirus and flu tests of 24 patients admitted to the hospital with respiratory symptoms in December and January, he told French TV channel BFMTV.
Dr. Yves Cohen, head of resuscitation at several hospitals in Ile-de-France, Paris, said that new tests on patient samples confirmed that a patient in France had a coronavirus on December 27
A man, now in good health, has been identified as carrying a coronavirus, but Dr. Cohen said the man was “surprised” because he did not understand how he was infected.
He said, “Of the 24 patients, we tested positive for Covid-19 on December 27 when he was in the hospital with us.
He said his team had repeated the tests to confirm the results, Metro reported.
That would make the country’s first case a month earlier than expected.
Dr. Cohen requests that other negative samples be analyzed at around the same time and he has reported the case to regional health authorities.
This comes as France announces that it plans to lift the lock on May 11, when children will gradually return to schools in stages and some companies will be allowed to reopen.
People line up in front of a supermarket in Paris on May 4 as France announced that it would gradually start lifting the lock on May 11
People will be allowed to travel within 100 km (60 miles) of their home without giving a reason for their movement.
But Health Minister Olivier Véran said it would depend on further reductions in infection rates, particularly in the hardest hit areas like Paris and northeastern France.
French authorities have also confirmed that it will not quarantine travelers from the European Union and Britain.
This clarified their contradictory statement on Saturday, when the government said it planned to impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine on all travelers entering France.
When the lock begins to be lifted, people will be able to travel within 100 km (60 miles) of their home without giving a reason for their movement.
They have now said that the quarantine would not apply to people from the borderless area of Europe, including Switzerland, Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland.
More quarantine rules for those arriving from other places will be released in the coming days.
France is also debating a new bill to extend the “state of health emergency” until July 24 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
France has registered more than 131,000 confirmed cases and 24,895 deaths, but the number of new cases has decreased considerably since mid-April.