The French health ministry on Friday confirmed that a person who recently arrived in the country from London has tested positive for the new variant of coronavirus, reported Reuters. The person arrived from the United Kingdom capital on December 19 and was found in the French city of Tours, the ministry said, adding that he was asymptomatic and currently self-isolating, according to BBC.
Meanwhile, Japan also confirmed five infections of the new variant in passengers, who had all arrived from the UK, BBC reported. Cases in Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands were reported earlier.
The new strain of the virus was first detected in the UK, following which several countries, including India suspended flights from the country. At least 20 passengers have arrived in India from the UK before the flight restriction came into effect, but the new strain has not yet been detected in the country.
UK’s public health officials said the new variant, which has been identified and is known as VUI, was first seen in mid-September in London and Kent. By December, it had become the “dominant variant” in London. Nearly a third of England’s population entered a lockdown, days before Christmas, as authorities warned that the new strain of the virus was going “out of control”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson had on Saturday said the new strain “may be up to 70% more transmissible than the old variant” although there was no evidence it was more deadly or led to a more severe illness.