French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Monday that it was possible a new strain of the COVID-19 virus was circulating in France, although recent tests had not detected it in the country.
"It is entirely possible that the virus is circulating in France," Veran told Europe 1 radio.
The new variant of COVID-19 sweeping the U.K. seems to be 70% more transmissible, forcing new lockdown measures in Britain and travel restrictions from its European neighbors.
As the World Health Organization (WHO) urged its European members to strengthen measures against a new variant of COVID-19 circulating in Britain, European nations including Germany, Ireland, Bulgaria, Italy, Austria, Romania, the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Sweden said they were moving to block air travel. Beyond Europe, Israel and El Salvador also said late Sunday they were banning flights from the U.K. – the first nations outside of Europe to take measures against the new virus strain.