Les autorités françaises ont déclaré dimanche qu'elles faisaient la course pour contenir la variante la plus contagieuse du Covid-19 découverte pour la première fois en Grande-Bretagne, qui a maintenant été détectée dans le port méditerranéen de Marseille et dans les Alpes. </p><div> <p>Le maire de Marseille, Benoit Payan, a déclaré que sept à huit personnes avaient été testées positives pour la nouvelle variante dans la ville, tandis que des tests étaient en cours sur 30 autres personnes qui pourraient également y avoir été exposées.
“Right now every minute counts to prevent the spread of this English variant,” Payan told reporters.
The local health authority for the Hautes-Alpes region, home to many ski resorts that attract British visitors, said the variant was found there as well.
France has the seventh highest death toll from Covid-19 in the world. Deaths have increased by 151 in the past 24 hours to a total of 67,750, while the number of new confirmed cases has increased by 15,944 to around 2.78 million.
The variant, first found in England at the end of last year, has been blamed by the UK government for an increase in cases threatening to invade UK hospitals.
Following the discovery of the variant in Marseille, the French authorities added the city and its surroundings to a list of French departments where a nighttime curfew begins at 6 p.m., two hours ahead of the rest of the country.
Strasbourg and Dijon also have longer curfew hours, while the curfew begins at 8 p.m. in Paris and most other departments.
The government of President Emmanuel Macron has said it will not rule out stricter measures if the Covid-19 situation worsens in France.
The government is scrambling to speed up the rollout of vaccines in the country, which has been criticized by politicians from all walks of life.
France had delivered only 7,000 vaccines in more than a week after the launch of its vaccination campaign on December 27, far behind most Western countries.
The government announced that a second vaccine, manufactured by the American company Moderna, would arrive in France on Monday.
Opinion polls show that around half of the French population is skeptical of the coup – their opposition is significantly higher than in neighboring countries.
<em>(FRANCE 24 avec REUTERS)</em> </div>