France bans flights to and from Brazil indefinitely

France bans flights to and from Brazil indefinitely
Paris’ Charles de Gaulle Airport. Photo: Katherine Welles/Shutterstock

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the European country has suspended all flights to and from Brazil “until further notice.” The decision comes amid fears of importing cases of the P.1 variant, first spotted in the Amazon region and has labeled the “Brazilian variant” worldwide.

“We realize that the [pandemic] situation is getting worse,” Mr. Castex told the National Assembly.

A study published by the flagship Brazilian medical institution Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, and signed by 31 Brazilian researchers, has identified mutations in the coronavirus variants currently circulating in Brazil. A genomic survey spotted 11 SARS-CoV-2 sequences from five different Brazilian states (Amazonas, Bahia, Maranhao, Parana, and Rondonia) that harbor a variable combination of mutations.

“These findings support that the ongoing widespread transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Brazil is generating new viral lineages that might be more resistant to neutralization than parental variants of concern,” say the researchers.