Omicron collapsed at global New Year parties, but South Africa offers hope Reuters


© Reuters. On December 30, 2021, people watch a laser show designed by artist Seb Lee-Delisle and organized by the Newcastle City Council in Newcastle upon Tyne, UK. REUTERS/Lee Smith


Renju Jose and Sisipho Skweyiya

Sydney/Cape Town (Reuters)-The farewell celebrations at Blackjack and Blackjack were almost obscured by the pandemic. But the good news from South Africa-the first country to announce that it has surpassed the Omicron wave-brings hope of a happy new year.

The New Year has quietly started the annual rolling from east to west-there is no official firework show in Auckland, New Zealand.

Australia promised to kick off the global celebrations in a retro style, with its usually spectacular fireworks reflected in the port below the Sydney Opera House (NASDAQ:) building. However, there will be no performances on many traditional landmarks in the world. Fireworks will be set off over the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, Big Ben in London and the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

The golden ball was originally scheduled to fall in Times Square, New York, but the crowd shouting that this year’s countdown to withdraw will be a quarter of the usual size, wearing masks, keeping a distance from society, and holding vaccine papers in their hands.

Nonetheless, South Africa, which first alerted the new rapidly spreading variant of the coronavirus, brought one of the world’s last major surprises this year, announcing that the Omicron wave had reached its peak without a significant increase in the number of deaths. It suddenly lifted the night curfew, allowing the celebration to ring in 2022.

“I’m pretty sure it will be wonderful. I just hope that Cape Town will return to the old Cape Town we all know,” said Michael McDad, the manager of Hard Rock Cafe next to Cape White Beach, on the town’s Camps Bay Beach (Camps Bay Beach), excited to find that he is ready to host an unexpected carnival.

“I’m very excited, you don’t have to go back to the hotel. You can hang out on the beautiful beach here and see if you can bring a party!” said tourist Jochem Verbunt, who said his hope for 2022 is that “the corona will disappear.” .

Very bad

The sudden arrival of Omicron brought a record number of cases to countries around the world. Although the death toll has not risen so fast and people want the new variant to be more moderate, many countries have re-implemented restrictions to prevent the health care system from being overwhelmed. Even in places where gatherings are allowed, many people choose to stay at home.

Le Querida is a restaurant in Madrid’s Pozuelo neighbourhood that serves grilled octopus and stuffed peppers. Only four of the two dozen tables on New Year’s Eve were reserved. Waiter Juan Lozano (Juan Lozano) said that just a few weeks ago, before Omicron went bankrupt, the place was crowded almost every night.

“We all think… we can make some money and pay off a lot of overdue things,” he said. “The outlook is very bad.”

Regional president Isabel Diaz Ayuso promised to celebrate New Year’s Eve with 60% capacity: “If Madrid is not free, it’s not Madrid,” she declared. Revelers will see 12 grapes in the old post office building with the ringing of the bell in the new year. About 1,500 people participated in the rehearsal the night before.

Wendy Garcia took her 7-year-old son on a trial run to avoid the crowds. She said: “It’s time to get together to celebrate the New Year and feel the excitement when the bell rang, sharing chocolates and sweets. .” In the main event.

The celebration in New York had only 15,000 spectators instead of the usual 55,000 spectators. Compared with last year, there will still be a lot of progress, when only a few dozen people received invitations from Times Square. Los Angeles cancelled the countdown party held in the Grand Park. Rapper LL Cool J had to resign from the headlines of the ABC New Year’s Eve TV show after testing positive.

In a party city store in Texas, Dana Fenner’s hands are full of hats and horns, and she is planning a low-key party at home with her husband and three children.

“Normal. I hope everything returns to normal,” she said.

According to data from Reuters, global coronavirus infections hit a record high in the past 7 days. Between December 24 and 30, more than 1 million cases were detected every day globally, an increase of approximately 100,000 from the previous peak released on Wednesday. example.

Nevertheless, in Sydney, there is a long queue at the best viewing point in the morning to watch the fireworks over the harbour. This is the main content of annual TV broadcasts around the world, and it is also one of the first big cities in the world to welcome the New Year.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australians to enjoy the night. Dominic Perrottet, the governor of New South Wales, including Sydney, said he was heartened by the hospital’s response to Omicron: “Our position is still very strong,” he told reporters.

In other parts of Asia, most celebrations have been curtailed or cancelled. In South Korea, the traditional midnight bell- The bell ringing ceremony was cancelled for the second year in a row, and the authorities announced that the stricter distance rules would be extended by two weeks in response to the continuous surge in infections.

Celebrations are banned in Tokyo’s sparkling Shibuya entertainment district, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida urged people to wear masks and limit the number of parties on YouTube.

China, where The coronavirus first appeared at the end of 2019 and was on high alert. Xi’an was under lockdown, and New Year events in other cities were cancelled.

Authorities in Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, plan to close 11 roads that usually attract large crowds during the New Year. Malaysia has banned large gatherings nationwide and cancelled the annual Petronas Twin Towers fireworks display.

The mysterious North Korea promised to hold a midnight fireworks display at Kim Il Sung Square in its capital Pyongyang.

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