The circulation of the newly discovered Omicron variant and the increasing infection rates of COVID-19 have caused turmoil within the European Union as all member states impose strict travel rules.
In order to prevent further spread of the virus and to control the circulation of the Omicron variant, European Union countries have imposed stricter entry rules, especially for unvaccinated people, travelers from other countries, as well as those traveling from Omicron affected areas, SchengenVisaInfo. com reports.
However, although movement has been restricted from the latter for nearly two weeks now, cases of Omicron infections have already been identified within the European Union and the Schengen area.
Data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) shows that as of 8 December, about 337 cases of the Omicron variant have been recorded in 21 European and European Economic Areas.
Of all the 21 EU/EEA countries, Denmark has reported the highest Omicron infection. So far, Danish authorities have confirmed 83 cases. It 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), Czech (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 European Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that “the majority of confirmed cases have an epidemiological link with cases with a history of travel to African countries, with some of these making connecting flights in other locations between Africa and Europe.”
>> The EU health agency says travel restrictions could delay the effect of Omicron in the EU by just two weeks
Moreover, the same indicated that several EU/EEA countries with high infection rates detected the Omicron variant in samples from cases with no history of travel to African countries, indicating active secondary community transmission.
Apart from trading the Omicron variant, the Delta variant is also spreading rapidly as more and more people are frequenting the indoor spaces due to the cold weather.
With the latest update of the maps published today, on December 9, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention again indicated that all EU countries continue to identify increasing infection rates. Hence, all, especially unvaccinated and recovered travelers, have been advised to refrain from taking non-essential trips.
Based on data provided by the European Union’s health agency, the COVID-19 situation has particularly worsened in France in the past seven days with almost all of its territory now marked in dark red. For this reason, the state decided to tighten travel restrictions.
Moreover, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia, Ireland, Estonia, Poland, Iceland, Latvia, Netherlands, Lithuania, Hungary, Greece, Liechtenstein, Slovakia and Slovenia continue to identify increasing cases.
>> Explanation of the new COVID-19 travel restrictions imposed by EU/Schengen countries throughout the weekend