France waits on tests for 8 suspected omicron variant cases

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FILE - Funeral house employees drag a coffin on a trolley as they arrive at the University Emergency Hospital morgue to take a COVID-19 victim for burial, in Bucharest, Romania, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021. This was supposed to be the Christmas in Europe where family and friends could once again embrace holiday festivities and one another. Instead, the continent is the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic as cases soar to record levels in many countries. With infections spiking again despite nearly two years of restrictions, the health crisis increasingly is pitting citizen against citizen the vaccinated against the unvaccinated. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)

PARIS – French authorities are waiting Monday for laboratory confirmation of eight suspected cases of the new variant of the coronavirus, involving people who traveled recently to southern Africa.

Testing already conducted determined that the travelers were positive for the virus but not for one of its previous variants. Follow-up genetic testing was being done to see if they were infected with the new omicron variant.

The Health Ministry said Sunday night that results could take several days.

If confirmed, they would be France’s first known cases of the omicron variant.