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France tackles coronavirus variants as it readies for tourists

French health authorities are racing to contain scattered cases of the more contagious delta virus variant, as France prepares to reopen its borders to vaccinated visitors and celebrates plunging COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates.

Health Minister Olivier Veran said Sunday that France has multiple clusters of the variant, first identified in India and believed to be fueling a rise in infections in neighboring Britain, notably in the southwest Landes region. Speaking on BFM television, Veran said the variant hadn’t spread widely into the community and that health investigators are working to track cases.

Overall, he insisted, “the epidemic situation continues to strongly improve around the country,” but said the government isn’t preparing to lift mask requirements anytime soon. With growing numbers of people packing into Paris‘ sidewalk cafes, parks and riverside quays, Veran warned that it’s too early for people to let down their guard, notably until more are fully…

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