At least eleven EU countries to have so far the occurrence of the coronavirus variant Omikron has been reported. As the EU health authority ECDC wrote in an Omikron update, there were 59 infected people recorded by Wednesday noon. The Stockholm-based authority listed 16 cases in the Netherlands, 14 in Portugal and 9 in Germany. There were also reported infected people in Italy, Denmark (4 each), Sweden, Austria (3 each), Belgium, Spain (2 each), the Czech Republic (1) and one on the island of Réunion, which belongs to France. It remained unclear whether the ECDC information was the result of simple PCR tests for corona variants or whether the entire genome was actually examined, which is currently still necessary at Omikron. However, the EU authority announced that there were a number of other suspected cases in the European Economic Area (EEA) that were being investigated.
The majority of the cases listed are related to travel to southern Africa, said the EU health authority. So far, there have been no serious illnesses or deaths among these infected people. Beyond the EEA, cases have been reported in twelve other countries and territories, according to the ECDC. These included Switzerland, Great Britain and Australia.
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has open to a Europe-wide debate about compulsory vaccination shown against the coronavirus. “It is understandable and appropriate that we are now having a discussion about how we can promote and possibly consider compulsory vaccination in the European Union,” said the trained medical doctor in Brussels. The decision, however, is the responsibility of the respective national governments. “We have the life-saving vaccines, but they are not used everywhere in sufficient quantities,” said the CDU politician. This would result in enormous healthcare costs for society. Around 150 million people in the EU have not yet been vaccinated. In Germany, the Federal Chancellor-designate Olaf Scholz (SPD) is calling for a general vaccination requirement to apply at the beginning of March at the latest.