A school to the north of the French capital has been forced to close after an outbreak of the South African variant of Covid-19 was detected there, the local authority has announced.
College Jules Ferry in Eaubonne, northern Paris, was ordered to close by authorities temporarily after two cases of the new strain were discovered at the school.
The institution will remain closed until a track and trace campaign can be completed to determine the scale of the outbreak and the risk to the wider community.
The school closure comes after the country’s National Union of School and University Physicians called on the French government to close all schools across three geographic areas for a month from February 8 to better impede the possible spread of the virus through educational facilities.
In a statement, the organization explained the measure was being sought “to slow the circulation of the virus in schools in order to try to avoid a closure which may be much longer in the context of confinement, which goes against the interest of the students”.
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While the French government has so far been reluctant to impose a new national lockdown, arguing it is not justified at the moment, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that such a move is under consideration to control the spread of the virus.
France has been one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the Covid-19 pandemic and is in the midst of another wave of the virus. Since the start of the outbreak, the country has recorded over 3.3 million cases and more than 78,000 deaths.
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