Home LATEST NEWS Omicron disrupts Christmas celebrations around the world | Coronavirus

Omicron disrupts Christmas celebrations around the world | Coronavirus


Only a month after its identification in South Africa, Omicron has already been identified in nearly 80 countries and is making rapid progress in Europe, where it could become dominant by mid-January, according to the European Commission.

Omicron is already dominant in the British capital, where the mayor, Sadiq Khan, said on Saturday immensely concerned and triggered an alert procedure involving a coordinated response from the public services.

This procedure had already been triggered on January 8, 2021, at the height of the pandemic, when London hospitals were threatened with being overwhelmed.

The British health security agency said on Saturday that more than 10,000 new confirmed cases of the Omicron variant have been detected, bringing the total to nearly 25,000.

According to several British media, the government plans to ban private indoor gatherings after Christmas, for two weeks, in an attempt to break the wave of contamination.

Not just in the UK

In Paris, the town hall announced on Saturday the cancellation of the fireworks and concerts planned on the famous avenue des Champs-Élysées for New Year’s Eve. Prime Minister Jean Castex asked town halls on Friday to give up concerts and fireworks on the evening of December 31, during which alcohol consumption on public roads will be prohibited.

In Ireland, bars, pubs and restaurants will have to close at 8 p.m. from Sunday until the end of January.

Denmark, which on Friday recorded a new absolute record of 11,000 cases, including 2,500 of Omicron, will close its theaters, cinemas and concert halls for one month on Sunday, as well as its amusement parks and museums.

And in the Netherlands, strict anti-COVID measures were announced on Saturday evening, the team of experts advising the government having advocated a return to containment in order to curb the spread of the variant.

In Asia, South Korea reinstated mandatory closing times for cafes, restaurants, cinemas and other public places on Saturday. Private gatherings there must now be limited to four people.

Travel restrictions

The first travel restrictions also started to fall this weekend.

France has reinstated the obligation to compelling reasons for travelers to and from the UK.

Within the European Union, some countries, such as Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Greece, now require European travelers, even vaccinated, to test negative.

Germany, which on Friday classified France and Denmark as areas of infections with high risk, will impose a period of quarantine on unvaccinated travelers from these countries.

German regions further called on the central government on Saturday to toughen entry rules to curb the spread of Omicron and to suspend traffic from the UK.

Pressure on the unvaccinated

Everywhere, these new measures are accompanied by increased pressure against the unvaccinated, which can go as far as compulsory vaccination.

Thus, in Los Angeles, as of Saturday, all city employees, police and firefighters included, who have not obtained an exemption for a medical or religious reason will have to be vaccinated, under penalty of being placed on administrative leave. . According to city hall services, just over 43,800 municipal employees, or about 79% of the total, were up to date this week.

This vaccination obligation has been strongly contested by some police or firefighters who have tried, so far unsuccessfully, to have the measure suspended by the courts.

In Switzerland, from Monday, only people vaccinated or cured will have access to the interior of restaurants, cultural establishments and sports and leisure facilities, as well as to events inside.

An obligation that should also come into force at the start of the year in France, where the health passport will become a vaccine pass, announced Friday evening Jean Castex.

At the same time, vaccination is spreading almost everywhere to children, with Brazil having joined other countries which practice it such as Canada, the United States, Israel, Chile, Portugal, Italy and Greece.

Portugal, one of the countries with the highest vaccination coverage rate in the world, on Saturday launched its vaccination campaign for children aged 5 to 11. France should follow the country on Wednesday if all goes well, said his Minister of Health, Olivier Véran on Saturday.

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