Omicron wave envelopes New Year celebrations

One Record wave The Covid-19 infection, driven by the spread of the infectious Omicron variant, casts a shadow over New Year celebrations around the world, and party attendees are urged to be cautious in the face of the surge in cases.

Although it is hoped that after many celebrations were closed by the pandemic last year on New Year’s Eve, normalcy will be restored in 2021, but many cities and countries have cancelled or reduced planned celebrations and urged residents to limit the scale of gatherings.

London cancelled fireworks displays on New Year’s Eve, but Times Square celebrations in New York City will continue even if the city’s infection rate soars to a record high. Despite this, only 15,000 people will be allowed to participate in the drop-ball event, which usually attracts nearly 60,000 people from all over the world.

Pope Francis arrives at St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican on Friday to celebrate New Year’s Eve Prayer Mass © AP

Guests participating in outdoor activities must be vaccinated and wear masks, but public health experts question whether the activity should continue. The event will not be open to the crowd in 2020.

Eric Adams As a result of the surge in cases canceling his indoor inauguration in Brooklyn, shortly after the ball fell, he will be sworn in as the new mayor of New York City at a celebration in Times Square.

According to a report, the Covid-19 infection rate in New York State is more than twice the national average, with more than 230 cases per 100,000 people, the highest level since the pandemic began. FT analysis data.
The line extending several city blocks has become a common sight outside the test center.

Experts warn against holding large gatherings because the average number of new cases in the United States in seven days has soared to nearly 350,000, the highest level ever. San Francisco cancelled the firework show, and Atlanta, Georgia cancelled the annual “Peach Drop” event.

During the New Year’s Eve celebrations in Melbourne, Australia, revellers celebrated the New Year in front of Flinders Street Station. © Getty Images

At the White House press conference on Wednesday, Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said that for those planning to attend large gatherings, “Everyone hugs, kisses each other and wishes each other a happy new year— I strongly recommend that we don’t do this this year.”

New Year celebrations around the world started in a low-key manner. Australia continues to hold traditional fireworks displays on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, but after the country’s health authorities have reported a record 32,000 new cases of Covid, the crowd is much smaller than usual, most of them in New South Wales.

At the same time, New Zealand did not report any local spread of Omicron, and cancelled the regular firework show in Auckland in favor of a smaller light show.

Students hold candles during the rally to pray for peace in Lahore, Pakistan on New Year’s Eve 2022 © RAHAT DAR/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

In Germany, Olaf Scholz uses his First New Year Message As prime minister, he is pushing an ambitious plan to provide 30 million doses of Covid-19 boosters by the end of January, as the country is preparing for a surge in Omicron variant cases.

Germany introduced strict new contact restrictions to curb the spread of Omicron and limit the number of people attending social gatherings. “Tonight we will again have no big New Year’s Eve party or grand fireworks show,” Scholz said.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa (Cyril Ramaphosa) said in a television New Year’s Eve speech on Friday that after avoiding a significant increase in the death toll, South Africa officially surpassed the peak of the fourth Omicron-driven wave, and 2022 is “better” The era is coming”.

On Friday, a runner wearing a custom coronavirus hat waited for the start of the San Silvestre International Race in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The game cancelled last year due to Covid is closed to spectators © AP

Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, South Africans will be able to go out to celebrate New Year’s Eve for the first time after midnight, after the Ramaphosa government ended the curfew, which is one of the last remaining major lockdown restrictions in the country. On the night when the curfew was lifted, the restaurant manager hurriedly told the customers the news, and a celebration was held in a bar in Cape Town.

Ramaphosa said that in 2021, South Africa has experienced a heavy death toll caused by the wave of the past. In Africa’s most industrialized economy, “millions of families are working hard to put food on the table”.

However, “we thank the nearly 18 million South Africans who have been vaccinated against Covid-19” and “scientists who have helped us better understand the pandemic and plan and respond accordingly”, he added. South African scientists are one of the first scientists in the world to discover a variant of Omicron.

Reporting by Guy Chazan in Berlin, Joseph Cotterill in Johannesburg, and Madison Darbyshire and Imani Moise in New York

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