France: Expert fires warning over spread of UK variant
Emmanuel Macron was advised that while the spread of the coronavirus is slowing down, the British variant will still cause aggravation for researchers studying the virus and for French citizens. France has extended closing its borders to countries outside of the EU unless travel is essential in a bid to slow down the infection rate. France has closed borders with the UK since December 20 in response to the new variant.
Mircea Sofonea, an epidemiologist at Montpellier University, told France 24: “If the UK variant continues to spread, which will be extremely likely, it will be in mid-March that there will be a problem.
“So whatever happens now, decision must be made to limit the circulation of the virus.”
According to the latest statistics, France has had over three million positive cases with around 76,000 deaths.
While Britain’s neighbouring country is positive they have a lower spread rate of the British strain, it is still growing by 50 percent each week compared to 70-100 percent in other countries.
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Dr Anne-Claude Cremieux, Head of the Infectious Diseases Department at the Raymond Poincaré hospital added: “It’s true that we don’t know as much about how to control the (British strain), while we thought we’d learned how to deal with previous viruses.”
France is also suffering badly with its economy as stats revealed its GDP fell by 8.3 percent in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The country is also falling behind on its vaccination programme as supplies run low with just over a million vaccinated.
This is compared to the UK which has vaccinated around nine million people already.
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The French programme began in chaos as every citizen was allowed a vaccine at the beginning.
This meant supplies quickly ran out and left those who required two doses without the second.
The EU blames pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca for not fulfilling their contractual obligations to provide vaccines.
The contracts, which had parts of it made public last week, said AstraZeneca would provide 300 million doses with an extra 100 million to be provided if required.
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The bloc then implemented export bans of the vaccines created in Europe and demanded AstraZeneca gave them stockpiles meant for the UK.
AstraZeneca CEO, Pascal Soriot, said the UK secured their contracts several months before the EU did so was the reason behind its supposed “favouritism”.
EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders has warned of a “vaccine war” and said: “The EU Commission has pushed to co-ordinate the vaccines contracts on behalf of the 27 precisely to avoid a vaccines war between EU countries, but maybe the UK wants to start a vaccine war?
“Solidarity is an important principle of the EU, with Brexit, it’s clear that the UK doesn’t want to show solidarity with anyone.”
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