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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greek lawmakers on Wednesday approved legislation making vaccination for COVID-19 mandatory for all residents aged over 60, to deal with an infection surge and the emergence of the omicron variant.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee on Wednesday halted dozens of exemptions that allowed businesses and public entities to require people to take COVID-19 preventive measures in spite of a state law severely limiting them, citing court rulings that blocked some of President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates.

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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The U.S. recorded its first confirmed case of the omicron variant Wednesday — in a vaccinated traveler who returned to California after a trip to South Africa — as scientists around the world race to establish whether the new, mutant version of the coronavirus is more dangerous than previous ones.

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's new cases of COVID-19 nearly doubled in a day, authorities reported Wednesday, signaling a dramatic surge in the country where scientists detected the omicron variant last week.

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A pandemic-weary world faces weeks of confusing uncertainty as countries restrict travel and take other steps to halt the newest potentially risky coronavirus mutant before anyone knows just how dangerous omicron really is.

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Tourism businesses that were just finding their footing after nearly two years of devastation wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic are being rattled again as countries throw up new barriers to travel in an effort to contain the omicron variant.

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The chief of the European Union's executive arm said Wednesday that EU nations should consider making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory because too many people still refuse to get shots voluntarily.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel of U.S. health advisers on Tuesday narrowly backed a closely watched COVID-19 pill from Merck, setting the stage for a likely authorization of the first drug that Americans could take at home to treat the coronavirus.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho is bracing for the likely appearance of the omicron variant, state officials said Tuesday, noting the state is well-positioned to detect its arrival but a poor vaccination rate among residents is problematic.

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