France: All travelers from outside EU will need negative COVID test

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Travelers reaching France from outside the European Union will be subject to the obligation of a negative COVID-19 test, regardless their vaccination status, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

The move is part of a bundle of measures aimed at tackling a new surge in infections as worries caused by the newly detected Omicron variant loom.

Read the latest updates in our dedicated coronavirus section.

Talking to journalists after a government meeting, Attal said that decisions regarding intra-EU-travel would be coordinated by European leaders later this week.

Mandatory vaccination

It is time for the European Union to “think about mandatory vaccination” against COVID-19, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, while stressing member state governments would decide.

“My personal position is... I think it is understandable and appropriate to lead this discussion now,” she told a media conference, underlining that a third of the EU population of 450 million was still unvaccinated.

“How we can encourage and potentially think about mandatory vaccination within the European Union? This needs discussion. This needs a common approach. But it is a discussion that I think has to be led,” she said.

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Ireland reports first Omicron variant case

Ireland has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant, the National Public Health Emergency Team said in a statement on Wednesday.

The case is associated with travel from one of the seven southern African countries that Ireland has imposed travel restrictions on, the statement said.

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Japan starts booster COVID-19 vaccinations amid scare over Omicron variant

Saudi Arabia detects first case of COVID-19 Omicron variant in Kingdom

Air travelers to US set to face tougher COVID-19 testing in response to Omicron

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