WHO says France COVID-19 case in December 'not surprising'

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday that it was "not surprising" that a report of COVID-19 had emerged in December in France, earlier than it was thought to have spread there, saying more reports of early cases were possible.

"It's also possible there are more early cases to be found," said WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier at a UN briefing in Geneva. 

He also encouraged other countries to check records for cases in late 2019, saying this would give the world a "new and clearer picture" of the outbreak.

Read more: First coronavirus case in France appeared in December: expert

The novel coronavirus first appeared in France on December 27, 2019, said Yves Cohen, an intensive care chief from Avicenne Hospital in Paris, in an interview with local media BFMTV on Sunday. 

He said his medical team revisited test results of 24 patients with respiratory infections and tested negative for flu and other kinds of coronavirus in December and January, among them a male patient showed positive for COVID-19.


(With input from Reuters)