February 22, 2024

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France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads

France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads



France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads

On November 22, the French Ministry of Health issued a public notice, warning the public about the potential widespread transmission of a new and potent variant of the COVID-19 virus during the winter season, supported by various observational findings.

The notice revealed an increasing trend in the number of COVID-19 patients admitted to primary healthcare facilities in France, accompanied by a rise in virological indicators.

France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads

Isabelle Parent du Chatelet, a member of the editorial team of “Public Health France,” noted, “Recently, there has been an upward trend in confirmed COVID-19 cases and positivity rates in urban areas.”

Dr. Bruno Lina, a member of the French Health Risk Prevention and Monitoring Committee (COVARS), stated that the increase in cases is correlated with a decrease in temperatures, predicting a surge in COVID-19 cases in the coming weeks. Dr. Lina emphasized the emergence of a new variant named JN.1 (BA.2.86.1.1) within France, which is expected to contribute to an increase in infection cases across Europe.

In September of this year, French health authorities identified a new variant called Pirola, with JN.1 being one of its mutations.

Compared to the already highly transmissible Pirola, JN.1 has acquired an additional minor escape mutation, enhancing its infectivity. A survey conducted by the French Ministry of Health on November 15 revealed that this variant accounts for nearly 13% of current infection cases, up from 9% in the previous survey.

France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads

Many French epidemiologists believe that France and Ireland may now have the highest number of JN.1 infections in Europe.

With the upcoming winter and major holidays like Christmas, there is anticipated large-scale population movement within France, potentially further expanding the scope of virus transmission.

Most JN.1-infected individuals exhibit familiar symptoms such as fatigue, cough, headache, fever, and runny nose. However, in rare cases, unusual symptoms such as eye discomfort and facial spasms may occur.

In response to this situation, the French Ministry of Health has issued a call for heightened vigilance and reminded the public of the necessity to “implement isolation measures.”

A large-scale vaccination campaign targeting the elderly for both COVID-19 and influenza has been reintroduced, with 3 million French citizens having already received booster shots. However, authorities urge the public not to panic excessively, noting the trend of increasing transmissibility but decreasing severity in the evolution of the COVID-19 virus, including the JN.1 variant.

The current occupancy rates of hospital beds in France support this observation. Despite a rise in COVID-19 patients, the number of hospitalized individuals has not significantly increased, and hospital pressure remains at a relatively low level.

France Raises Alarm as Highly Contagious New COVID Variant Spreads

(source:internet, reference only)


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