France should consider closing its borders with Britain and other countries that have a strong presence of the new variant of the coronavirus first found in the UK, a French epidemiologist and government adviser said on Monday.
“It is important that we consider whether we need to close the borders to a limited number of countries, notably the United Kingdom and Ireland,” Arnaud Fontanet, a member of the scientific council that advises the government on COVID-19 policy, said on BFM television.
“This is certainly a point for the agenda. It is not up to the scientific council to decide this, but we want to raise the issue.”
French authorities said on Sunday that the more infectious variant had now been detected in France’s Mediterranean port of Marseille and in the Alps.
“The new COVID variant is nearly a new epidemic within the epidemic,” Fontanet said.
He said the new variant was more contagious, but that for now there were no signs that its mortality rate was higher.
Fontanet also said on BFM television that to get the epidemic under control, France needed to vaccinate 10 to 15 million people by the end of March and 25 to 30 million people by the end of June.