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How Omicron Could Knock Economic Recovery Off Track


LONDON — This week, Marisha Wallace finally had to admit that her planned five-day ski holiday in Switzerland in mid-December was not salvageable: The Swiss government’s sudden decision to impose a 10-day quarantine on some international travelers meant she wouldn’t be able to leave her hotel or return home to London on her scheduled flight.“It’s the way of the world right now,” said Ms. Wallace, an actress and a singer. “You can’t plan anymore.”That provisional state, amplified across the world, has left the still-fragile economy in a state of suspense as spiking coronavirus infections and the new variant Omicron have popped up around the globe.“There’s no way to know how bad it will get,” said Ángel Talavera, head of European economics at Oxford Economics.The forecasting firm has sketched out three scenarios, including one that predicts no discernible effect on economic growth and one severe enough to slash next year’s in half. It will take several weeks before there is more clarity, Oxford concluded.The current round of restrictions has already reduced travel and dampened consumer confidence. A virulent, vaccine-resistant strain could send the economy into a tailspin again …

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