Omicron may soon cause over half of Covid infections in Europe: EU

Estimate could lend weight to preliminary information about very high transmissibility of the variant

Reuters December 02, 2021
A sign that reads "Observe the obligation to cover your mouth and nose" is placed on Hohe Strasse shopping street as the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues in Cologne, Germany, December 1, 2021. PHOTO: REUTERS


The European Union's public health agency said on Thursday that the Omicron variant could be responsible for more than half of all Covid-19 infections in Europe within a few months.

The estimate could lend weight to preliminary information about the very high transmissibility of the Omicron variant, above that of the Delta variant, which before Omicron was considered the most contagious of the main coronavirus strains.

"Based on mathematical modelling conducted by ECDC, there are indications that Omicron could cause over half of all SARS-CoV-2 infections in the EU/EEA within the next few months," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement.

Read more: US, Germany plan new restrictions as Omicron rattles investors

There is no conclusive evidence about Omicron's transmissibility so far but the World Health Organisation's lead person on Covid-19, Maria van Kerkhove, said on Wednesday the agency expected to have data on this within days.

Europe has so far recorded a few dozens of infections with the Omicron variant, which was first detected in southern Africa last month.

The European Union and European Economic Area (EEA) include the 27 EU member states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.

Earlier on Thursday, the French government's top scientific adviser Jean-Francois Delfraissy said that Omicron could take Delta's place already by the end of January.


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