| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

New COVID-19 variant would emerge this winter, says French expert

A new variant of Covid-19 disease would “probably” emerge in the winter months this year, the French government’s top advisor on COVID-19 warned Friday.

The country is currently fighting an unprecedented surge in new cases caused by the more contagious Delta strain, which was first identified in India.

“We will probably have another variant arrive during the winter,” Jean-Francois Delfraissy, head of the French government’s scientific council, told the BFM news channel.

He said that he could not predict the consequences, or whether it would be more dangerous, adding that COVID-19 had “relatively limited” capacities to mutate.

The contagious diseases specialist urged French people to return to social distancing and mask-wearing, and said a “return to normal” would probably be in 2022 or 2023.

“The big hurdle for the next couple of years will be how are we going to co-exist, with two worlds: countries that are vaccinated and those that are not,” he said.

The government’s strategy to contain the current fourth wave of cases is based on the introduction of a “health pass” system that requires people to show proof of vaccination or a negative test when entering public venues.

  • AFP