Omicron variant: what we know about confirmed and suspected cases in France

It is present on French territory. A day after the French government announced the tightening of conditions for access to its territory for all travelers, two first cases of the Omicron variant were identified in France. The first in Reunion, Tuesday, and the second, in Ile-de-France, Thursday, December 2. Franceinfo takes stock of what we know about the presence of this highly contagious variant on French territory.

>> Covid-19: follow the latest information on the Omicron variant in our direct

In Ile-de-France, a first confirmed case

The first case of the Omicron variant in France was identified on Thursday morning in Ile-de-France, according to a press release from the Regional Health Agency (ARS). This is a traveler who lives in Seine-et-Marne, tested positive for Covid-19 when he got off the plane that brought him back from Nigeria on November 25. Sequencing of the sample revealed that it carried the variant identified for the first time in South Africa. This man, aged “50 to 60 years”, did not present symptoms at the time of the test and was not vaccinated, specifies the ARS of Ile-de-France.

Two other people from his close entourage are also concerned, but the Omicron variant has not yet been identified. His wife, who accompanied him on this trip, also tested positive for Covid-19. For now, the ARS is awaiting the results of the sequencing to find out whether it has been infected with the Omicron variant. Finally, a third person living under the same roof performed a test on Thursday to find out if they had contracted the virus and if they were a carrier of the variant.

None of these three people are vaccinated. They were placed in solitary confinement and the Regional Health Agency affirms “continue the health investigation to identify, test and, if necessary, isolate other possible risk contacts”.

In Reunion, an equally positive traveler

Earlier in the week, the Omicron variant had already been detected on Tuesday on French territory, on the island of Reunion, reports La 1ère. He is a 53-year-old man, returning from Mauritius, after a trip to Mozambique and a stopover in South Africa, the country where the Omicron variant was first identified. This traveler had performed tests upon departure and arrival, both negative.

It was then that he felt the first symptoms of Covid-19 and that he tested positive. It was placed “immediately to isolation at his home”, specifies the ARS of Reunion in a press release. Contacted by La 1ère, the French public health agency specifies that this man had a complete vaccination schedule (two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine). The 50-year-old was among a group of six people who tested positive for the virus on their return from travel. But he is the only one to have tested positive for the Omicron variant.

As a precaution, France has suspended all flights from seven countries – South Africa, Botswana, Eswatini (formerly called Swaziland), Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia and Zimbabwe – since November 26. Government spokesman Gabriel Attal announced on Wednesday that flights would resume on Saturday, but with “an extremely strict and drastic framework”.

Eight suspected cases identified

The Ministry of Health said, Sunday, November 28, in a statement, that eight suspected cases were being sequenced. Sont considered as “possible cases of contamination with the Omicron variant in people having traveled to southern Africa in the last 14 days and having a positive test result with a negative screening for the mutations found in the other variants of concern (Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta ) “.

According to the Ministry of Health, “Reinforced measures for identifying and isolating possible cases and their contact persons at risk have been implemented”, And this “even before obtaining of the sequencing results “. It is not yet known whether the two cases confirmed in Ile-de-France and Reunion are among the eight suspected cases identified by the authorities.Contacted by franceinfo, the Ministry of Health did not respond to our requests.

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