Staff members of a private cleaning and disinfection company disinfect metro trains in Vincennes near Paris, France, April 30, 2020. (Photo/Xinhua)
The novel coronavirus first appeared in France on December 27, 2019, said Yves Cohen, an intensive care chief of a hospital in Paris, in an interview with local media on Sunday.
He said his medical team revisited test results of 24 patients with respiratory infections who tested negative for flu and other kinds of coronavirus in December and January, among them a male patient who showed positive for COVID-19.
The patients, he added, were tested in hospital on December 27, a month before the first French cases were confirmed.
As of Monday, France has reported more than 168,000 cases of COVID-19 with 24,898 deaths nationwide.