First case of UK variant detected in France

Infektionsschutzzentrum im Kulturquartier/Rautenstrauch-Joest-Museum, Köln

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

France has confirmed its first case of the more contagious coronavirus variant recently isolated in the United Kingdom.

The French health ministry said that the person is a French citizen from the town of Tours who had arrived from London on 19 December.

The person who is asymptomatic and is currently self-isolating at home, tested positive on 21 December.

The newly detected variant led to a number of countries curbing travel to and from the United Kingdom in a bid to keep it out of the country.

France closed its border but ended its ban on Wednesday, providing people tested negative before travelling. Thousands of lorry drivers spent Christmas Day in their cabs in Kent waiting to cross the English Channel.

Malta had initially request arriving passengers to go into mandatory quarantine upon arrival from the UK. Flights were banned to and from the UK on the following day. Individuals residing in Malta will still be able to return but are required to show a negative PCR test and will have to quarantine upon arrival.

Other countries have also reported the detection of the new variant. These include Japan with five cases being confirmed on Friday, while cases in Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands were reported earlier.

The new variant first detected in England in September is blamed for sharp rises in levels of positive tests in recent weeks in London, the east of England and the South East.