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The circulation of the newly detected Omicron variant and the increased COVID-19 infection rates have caused turmoil within the European Union as all Member States are imposing tightened travel rules.
In order to prevent the further spread of the virus and control the circulation of the Omicron variant, the EU countries have imposed stricter entry rules, especially for unvaccinated persons, third country travellers, as well as those travelling from Omicron-affected areas, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.
Nonetheless, even though the movement from the latter has been restricted for almost two weeks now, Omicron infection cases have already been identified within the EU and Schengen Area.
The data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that as of December 8, around 337 infection cases with the Omicron variant have been registered in 21 EU and European Economic Area.
Of all these 21 EU/EEA countries, Denmark has reported the highest Omicron infection cases. Until now, the Danish authorities have confirmed 83 cases. The country is followed by Portugal with 37 cases, the Netherlands with 36 cases, France with 32 cases, and Norway with 29 cases.
Other countries that have identified Omicron cases are Austria (15), Belgium (14), Croatia (3), Czechia (2), Estonia (6), Finland (9), Germany (15), Greece (3), Iceland (12), Ireland (1), Italy (11), Latvia (2), Liechtenstein (1), Romania (2), Spain (11), and Sweden (13).
“The majority of confirmed cases have an epidemiological link to cases with a history of travel to African countries, with some of those having taken connecting flights at other locations between Africa and Europe,” ECDC stated.
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Moreover, the same explained that several EU/EEA countries with high infection rates had detected the Omicron variant in samples from cases that didn’t have a history of travel to the African countries, indicating active secondary community transmission.
Apart from the circulation of the Omicron variant, the Delta variant has also been spreading rapidly as more people are frequenting indoor spaces due to the cold weather.
Through the latest update of maps published today, on December 9, the ECDC has once again pointed out that all EU countries keep identifying increased infection rates. Hence, everyone, mainly unvaccinated and recovered travellers have been advised to refrain from taking non-essential trips.
Based on the data provided by the EU Health Agency, the COVID-19 situation has especially worsened in France in the last seven days as now almost all of its territory is coloured dark red. For this reason, the country decided to tighten its travel restrictions.
Moreover, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Croatia, Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Iceland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, and Slovenia also keep identifying increased infection cases.
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