A “worrying situation“in Moselle. The Minister of Health Olivier Véran alerted on February 11 to the large number of cases of South African and Brazilian variants of the coronavirus in this department of the Grand-Est region. A finding that could justify new health measures .

300 suspicious mutations in four days

And for good reason: these last four days, “more than 300 cases of mutations suggestive of South African and Brazilian variants“were identified thanks to analyzes by screening PCR test, according to Olivier Véran. Knowing that the department already had”200 additional cases identified in previous days“, he clarified.

The minister is therefore going to Moselle on February 12 to “assess the situation, discuss with all the elected representatives of the territory, the health actors, the prefect, the managers of the Regional Health Agency, and lead a consultation in order to anticipate the answers that we will have to find collectively“.

Also read: English, South African, Brazilian… what do we know about new covid variants?

Soon a local re-containment?

Asked about BFMTV, the mayor (LR) of Metz François Grosdidier spoke in favor of local re-containment, evoking “Alas” an emergency. “If this is confirmed with these hundreds of cases and in addition with these African and Brazilian variants on which the vaccine is clearly inoperative, yes, these measures must be taken.“, he insisted.

For Olivier Véran, “we must be ready to act obviously, if the situation were to require it, in order to protect the population in a territory which has already paid a heavy price for the pandemic“.

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The fear of uncontrolled diffusion

These Brazilian and South African variants are particularly watched. Like the British variant, they are more contagious but they could also be “less sensitive to some available vaccines“and”escape the manufactured antibodies“by people cured of covid-19, emphasized Olivier Véran. This means that reinfection by these variants would be possible.

And, in Moselle, the cases cannot all be linked to grouped sources of contagion (clusters), to trips abroad or to contacts with people who have traveled, specified the minister. This could indicate the start of uncontrolled dissemination of these variants in the population.

4 to 5% of national cases

The other French departments are much less affected by these two variants, with between zero and “nearly 40 cases“(in Dordogne), and a proportion”around 4 to 5%“of all the positive cases across the country, finally noted Olivier Véran.

But at the same time, the British variant, suspected to account for 15% of the total positive cases just a week ago, is probably “responsible for 20% to 25% of infections“today, estimated Olivier Véran. Locally, this variant is more worrying, as in the region of Dunkirk or Gravelines (North), where it would represent 68% of positive cases according to the mayor of Dunkirk.