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Omicron could become dominant in France by end of January: expert 

  • >> Reuters
    Published: 2021-12-02 15:28:15 BdST

People wait inside a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination centre in Nice, France, Dec 1, 2021. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

The omicron coronavirus variant could become the dominant strain in France by the end of January, but meanwhile it should be possible to have a good Christmas if steps are taken to curb the Delta strain, France's top scientific advisor said on Thursday.

Jean-Francois Delfraissy told BFM television the "true enemy" for now was still delta, spreading in a fifth wave.

"We should see a progressive rise of the omicron variant, which will take over from delta", possibly by the end of January, he said.

"Christmas is not at risk if the population and decision-makers are all very cautious," he said, reiterating that social distancing and a third, booster shot of vaccines were key weapons in the fight against COVID-19.

France recorded nearly 50,000 new conformed COVID-19 cases over 24 hours, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

There were 1,886 people in intensive care units with COVID-19 on Wednesday, a level Delfraissy said was not yet a peak, particularly when compared to 6,000-7000 at the height of the second wave in France last autumn.

The local health body for the Ile de France region of greater Paris said in a statement on Thursday that a case of omicron variant had been found in a person who returned from Nigeria, the first confirmed case in Metropolitan France.