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EU chief says bloc must consider mandatory COVID jabs

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said it is time to “think about mandatory vaccination” amid the fast-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant.

Von der Leyen said on Wednesday that a common approach on vaccinations at the EU level is needed – although only individual member states can impose vaccine mandates.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the new Omicron coronavirus variant as countries tighten restrictions on international travel in an attempt to slow its spread.

Scientists have been scrambling to learn more about the effects of the Omicron variant, first detected in South Africa last week.

It remains unclear where or when the variant first emerged. But nations have rushed to impose travel restrictions, especially on visitors coming from Southern Africa, despite the World Health Organization’s call for “rational” measures in response to the new strain.

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