TSA Orlando Airport

Air passengers heading to their departure gates enter TSA precheck before going through security screening at Orlando International Airport in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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.

The overall risks of omicron are not yet known. But the United States, the 27-nation European Union and some other countries quickly announced restrictions on travel from southern Africa and stepped up other precautions.

Copyright 2021 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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