Omicron dampens global New Year celebrations

The Omicron coronavirus variant dampened New Year festivities around much of the world, with Paris cancelling its fireworks show, London relegating its to television, and New York City scaling down its famous ball drop celebration in Times Square.

The illuminated ball made of Waterford crystal panels slid down its poll at the midnight hour in Times Square, but only 15,000 spectators were allowed into the official viewing area instead of the usual 58,000.

Worldwide infections hit a record high over the past seven-day period, with an average of just over a million cases detected a day between December 24 and 30, according to Reuters data.

In the Netherlands, where outside groupings of more than four people are banned, police dispersed several thousand people who had defiantly gathered at Amsterdam’s central Dam Square.

In┬áSouth Korea, a traditional midnight bell-ringing ceremony was cancelled for the second year, while festivities were banned in Tokyo’s glittering Shibuya entertainment district, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida took to YouTube to urge people to wear masks and limit numbers at parties.

China, where the coronavirus first emerged in late 2019, was on high alert, with the city of Xian under lockdown and New Year events in other cities cancelled.

 

Source: VOV5

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