France registers first case of COVID-19 variant linked to South Africa

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Paris [France], January 1 (ANI/Sputnik): France has registered its first case of a new coronavirus strain, known as 501.V2 variant and linked to South Africa, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday.

According to the statement, a man, who has recently returned to the country from South Africa and lives in the French department of Haute-Rhin near the Swiss border, was confirmed to have contracted the virus. A few days after returning from South Africa, the man showed symptoms of COVID-19. His PCR test came back positive.

Swiss and French infectious disease specialists conducted a study and confirmed that this is 501.V2 strain.

In addition to France, several other countries have reported 501.V2 strain of SARS-CoV 2, including Switzerland, Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the 501.V2 variant is even more dangerous than another new coronavirus strain that has been spreading in his country since September and is known to be up to 70 percent more contagious. South Africa said there was no evidence to support this claim.

Many countries around the world have halted air traffic with the UK and South Africa over new coronavirus variants. (ANI/Sputnik)