France is unlikely to avoid the new and more contagious “UK variant” of the coronavirus, and may have to consider more restrictions on people’s movements next week, the government’s chief scientific advisor on the epidemic said on Wednesday.

Professor Jean-François Delfraissy, who heads the scientific council that advises the French government on the epidemic, said France already had about 22 confirmed cases of the UK variant.

“In the UK it started in September. It took two and a half months to reach 60% of the virus currently circulating and if we see the same model in France, this means we will see a relatively rapid spread …I think we cannot avoid it,” he said on France 2 television.