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 last evening, 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 by yesterday.

Across the continent, health officials are bracing for a wave of infections.

Additional restrictions were announced in Germany, the Republic of Ireland and the Netherlands as governments seek to stem the tide.

Europe has already seen more than 89 million cases and 1.5 million Covid-related deaths, according to the latest European Union figures. END.

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