The new variant is more easily transmitted, warn scientists at Henri Mondor hospital, with the risk of a new wave of growth. They said the variant had 18 new mutations, including two that can spread faster and fight vaccines more successfully than the original COVID-19.
“And another mutation at position 452, which has been suggested to potentially decrease susceptibility to the effect of vaccination. ”
So far there seems to be little case of this variant, dubbed the Henri Mondor variant, but it is said to be spreading rapidly.
Dr Pawlotsky told French media LCI: “The appearance of a cluster in a hospital near our hospital has shown us that these four people have been infected with a new virus. ”
LCI said that since then cases have been detected in the Brittany department in north-western France.
The cases quickly rose to more than 190 infected people. The doctor hopes, however, that it will not become a leading variant, given that it currently represents only about 2% of cases in France, against 63% for the British variant (76% according to the national body of Health Public Health France).
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Mr Macron has sought to avoid a third large-scale lockdown since the start of the year, betting he could pull France out of the pandemic without shutting down the country, he would give the economy a chance to recover from a deep recession.
However, in recent weeks his options have narrowed as the highly contagious and virulent variant of the coronavirus first detected in Britain swept across France and much of Europe.
The number of intensive care patients surpassed 5,000 on Tuesday, the highest number this year and surpassing the peak reached during a six-week lockdown in the fall. Thousands of school classes have been closed.
A government source told Reuters that three scenarios were under consideration: a massive operation to transfer intensive care patients from overburdened hospitals to less affected areas; school closures; strict lockdown in the hardest-hit regions of France.
France must tighten its measures as neighboring Britain slowly emerges from a lockdown imposed in early January.
The French parliament will hold a debate and vote on Thursday on the newly announced measures to fight the pandemic.