by International desk;
France has detected the first case of new variant of novel coronavirus, a more contagious version of the virus which was recently identified in the United Kingdom prompting a massive international travel ban.
According to a BBC report, the French health ministry said a French citizen in the central town of Tours was tested positive for the new variant of the virus on December 21, two days after he travelled from London.
The man is asymptomatic, and currently self-isolating at home, the report says.
France closed its border but ended its ban on Wednesday, providing people tested negative before travelling.
Other countries have also reported cases of the new variant: on Friday, Japan confirmed five infections in passengers who had all arrived from the UK, while cases in Denmark, Australia and the Netherlands were reported earlier.
The new variant, which was first detected in England in September, is blamed for sharp rises in levels of positive tests in recent weeks.
BBC says quoting the Office for the National Statistics that about two-thirds of people testing positive in these areas could have the new variant – but this is only an estimate.
The virus is rapidly replacing other versions of the virus. It has mutations that affect part of the virus likely to be important and some of those mutations have already been shown in the lab to increase the ability of the virus to infect cell.