The omicron variant of the new coronavirus will become the dominant variant in Europe in mid-January, European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on Wednesday.

During a parliamentary debate in Brussels, Von der Leyen said that the bloc is currently facing a “double challenge” due to a spike in covid-19 cases mainly caused by the delta variant and the increase in omicron.

Ómicron is spreading fast. That is concerning even if it turns out to be mild.

“We are seeing increasing numbers of people getting sick, a greater burden on hospitals and, unfortunately, an increase in the number of deaths,” said von der Leyen.

“It is very important to bear in mind that this large increase in the number of infections is due almost exclusively to the delta variant, and what worries me is that now we are seeing the new variant, omicron, on the horizon, which apparently is even more contagious, ”he said.

“We were told that by mid-January, we should expect omicron to be the new dominant variant in Europe,” added Von der Leyen.

The EU chief said Europe was “in a better position now to fight the virus”, with “enough doses of vaccine for every European”, adding that more than 300 million people in the EU had been fully vaccinated.

He added that 62 million people have received a booster dose.

“Initial omicron data shows us that this triple injection is the best protection against the new variant,” said Von der Leyen.

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