French Prime Minister Jean Castex says the Omicron variant will be the dominant strain of coronavirus in France from the start of 2022, comparing its spread in Europe to “lightning”.

Iran Press/Europe: 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 on Friday, hours before France imposed strict travel restrictions on those entering from the United Kingdom.

Amid travel restrictions and stringent testing, Omicron continues to spread like fire. On Friday, Italy, New York, and the UK reported the biggest one-day increase on record- 28,632; 21,027 and 93,045 fresh coronavirus cases, respectively. Passengers in France rushed to beat a midnight deadline for travel to and from Britain and France before the country bans non-essential travel between both countries to contain rampant Omicron infections.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation on Friday issued an emergency use listing for anti-COVID vaccine Covovax produced by Serum Institute of India under licence from Novavax, expanding the basket of jabs validated by the global health body against the viral disease. Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), hailed WHO’s decision as “yet another milestone” in the fight against COVID-19. 219