Omicron variant “spreading at lightning speed” in Europe

Written by on December 20, 2021

The Omicron variant is “spreading at lightning speed” in Europe and will likely become dominant in France by the start of next year, French Prime Minister, Jean Castex has warned.

He spoke on Friday, hours before France imposed strict travel restrictions on those entering from the United Kingdom.

The UK has so far been the hardest hit in the region, with nearly 15,000 confirmed Omicron cases on Friday. Europe has already seen more than 89 million cases and 1.5 million Covid-related deaths, according to the latest EU figures.

But Germany’s Health Minister Karl Lauterbach told reporters on Friday that the country must prepare for a challenge that it has not yet had in this form, while its public health agency designated France, Norway and Denmark as “high risk” due to rising infections in those countries.

The warnings came as the UK reported a record number of Covid infections for a third day in a row – more than 93,000 – largely driven by Omicron.

France closed its borders to people travelling from the UK for business or tourism at 23:00 GMT on Friday, with huge queues forming at the Port of Dover and Eurostar terminals as people tried to enter before the ban came into effect.

Ango Bally

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