European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said that the Omicron is expected to be the dominant coronavirus variant in the bloc by mid-January. But von der Leyen said she is confident the EU has the "strength" and "means" to overcome the disease, with over 66% of the EU’s population now fully vaccinated. "Like many of you, I'm sad that once again this Christmas will be overshadowed by the pandemic," she said. The new variant was first identified by South African researchers and was designated a “variant of concern” in late November. It appears to spread much more quickly than previous COVID-19 variants. The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control warned that vaccination alone will not prevent Omicron from spreading. Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the EU public health agency, said that “a further, rapid increase in Omicron cases is imminent” in the European Union and the European Economic Area. “We assess the probability of further spread of the Omicron variant in the EU/EEA as very high and it is considered very likely to cause additional hospitalisations and fatalities,” Ammon said in a video statement. She called for countries to take urgent “strong action” to reduce transmission and alleviate… Read full this story
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