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New omicron variant stokes world fears, triggers travel bans

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New omicron variant stokes world fears, triggers travel bans

BRUSSELS (AP) — The world is confronting a new coronavirus variant, and officials have named it "omicron."

A World Health Organization panel has classified it as a highly transmissible virus of concern. Its discovery in southern Africa sent a chill through much of the world as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings.

RELATED: Stocks sink on new COVID variant; Dow loses 905 points

The overall risks of omicron are not yet known. But the 27-nation European Union and some other countries quickly suspended air travel from southern Africa and stepped up other precautions.

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