Three cases of the ‘Indian variant’ of Covid detected in France

Three cases of the 'Indian variant' of Covid-19 have been detected in mainland France, health minister Olivier Véran announced on Thursday. 

Three cases of the 'Indian variant' of Covid detected in France
Illustration photo: Jean-Christophe Verhaguen/AFP

The first case was detected in Lot-et Garonne, in southwestern France. According to French newspaper L’Express, the patient is currently hospitalised in Bordeaux.

The two following cases were detected in the south east of the country – in the Marseille département of Bouches-du-Rhône.

Speaking to BFM TV, Benoît Elleboode, Director of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine regional health agency, said the first case in Lot-et-Garonne concerned a symptomatic woman who tested positive on April 9th.

According to Véran, the two cases in Bouches-du-Rhône concern “two people returning from India without any link to one another.”

Both quarantined immediately after arrival into France, when one tested positive by mandatory antigen test at the airport on arrival, which was later confirmed by a PCR test. 

As of April 22nd, France established new rules for arrivals from “high-risk” countries, which are the strictest imposed thus far.

The rules include a 10-day quarantine on arrivals from India, Brazil, South Africa, Chile and Argentina, and require an antigen test on arrival to France.

READ ALSO These are the quarantine rules for arrivals from ‘high risk’ countries 

Other positive cases from people returning from India are currently being tested for the variant, which is believed to be more contagious than other strains of the virus.



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Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

The cost of using France’s motorway network rose by a below-inflation average of 4.75 percent on Wednesday, February 1st.

Driving in France: Motorway tolls rise from February 1st

Going through the toll booths on France’s motorway network now costs more – though the average 4.75 percent increase remains below inflation, and is lower than the price rise of between 7 percent and 8 percent predicted last September after Transport Minister Clément Beaune called for “reasonable increases”.

“We are well below the reference inflation rate of 6.33 percent,” Vinci Autoroutes, which manages nearly half of the French network, said in a statement.

Even so, motorists may not appreciate the motorway companies’ efforts to ease the effects of the cost of living crisis, as prices rise unevenly across the board.

A journey from Toulon, in the Var, to Mandelieu, in Alpes-Maritimes (113km) now costs €13 in tolls, up from €12.10 in 2022 – an increase of 7.4 percent.

Drivers heading between Lyon and Montpellier now have to pay an extra €1.90 to make their journey, up 6.7 percent on last year’s prices; and motorists will have to pay an additional €2.10 to make the five-hour journey along the A4 between Paris and Strasbourg.

In recent years, the annual rate of the annual increases has been lower. Tolls went up 2 percent on average last year, and just 0.44 percent in 2021. The annual increases are based on a formula that takes into account the rate of inflation and the amount of maintenance work undertaken, which is written into the motorway operators’ contracts with the government.

For home-work trips, Vinci Autoroutes has frozen the prices of 70 percent of trips of less than 30 km, as well as “half of trips of less than 50km and the bypass routes of 35 towns”.

The stretches between Aubagne and Cassis (Bouches-du-Rhône) on the A50, between Villefranche-de-Lauragais and Toulouse sud (Haute-Garonne) on the A61, and between Orléans nord and Olivet (Loiret) on the A10, for example, will see no price increase.

Subscribers to the Ulys 30 electronic toll system, meanwhile, now receive 40 percent concessions, compared to 30 percent previously on their regular commuter route.

According to Vinci, for every €10 in tolls, €4 is then paid to the government in taxes; €3.50 covers maintenance, modernisation and operating costs; and the remainder repays investors and services debts.

However, motorway operators are regularly singled out for the scale of their profits, recorded at €3.9 billion in 2021, 11 percent more than in 2019. 

If you’re driving in French towns and cities, remember that you may need a Crit’Air sticker – full details HERE.