Omicron COVID-19 variant could become dominant in France by end of January: Government adviser

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PARIS: 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 adviser said on Thursday (Dec 2).

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 the 6,000 to 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.

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