(Bloomberg) -- European Union leaders are discussing whether to hold an emergency virtual summit on Friday on how to tackle the new omicron coronavirus variant, even as the bloc was already battling sharply rising case numbers.

The timing of the possible video call has yet to be decided, according to an EU official who declined to be named discussing a confidential issue.

Governments around the world are banning travelers from South Africa and nearby countries amid fears omicron could evade vaccines, exacerbate Covid surges and frustrate efforts to reopen economies. While news of the new variant wreaked havoc in global financial markets on Friday, trading in Asia Monday indicated investors were waiting for more clarity as scientists work to better understand omicron.

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