Soaring COVID cases hit New Year celebrations | Daily News

Soaring COVID cases hit New Year celebrations

France becomes sixth country with over 10 mn infections
England sees another virus record

US,FRANCE,UK,: The world ushered in 2022 on Saturday with scaled-back celebrations due to new restrictions aimed at slowing soaring Covid cases - although hope remained for a better new year.

New York revived its New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square in limited form, Paris nixed its fireworks show over rising Omicron cases and London’s pyrotechnic display was broadcast on TV to discourage crowds.

More than 5.4mn people have died since the coronavirus was first reported in central China in December 2019.

France on Friday became the latest country to announce Omicron was now its dominant coronavirus strain. In Britain, the US and even Australia - long a refuge from the pandemic - the Omicron variant’s prominence is driving record numbers of new cases. Celebrations the night before, from Seoul to San Francisco were either curtailed or cancelled in the face of the infection surge.

New York’s annual New Year’s Eve ball drop - cancelled last year - was scaled-down, welcoming fewer revellers than in previous years, with only about 15,000 people - all required to show proof of vaccination - allowed in.

In Madrid’s Puerta del Sol, about 7,000 people - half the usual capacity - rang in the new year by eating grapes, one for each time the clock chimed up to 12.

Dubai went ahead with its celebrations undeterred, with 36 firework displays at 29 locations. But authorities warned they would fine anyone in attendance not wearing a mask.

Menwhile, France became the sixth country in the world to report more than 10 million COVID-19 infections since the outbreak of the pandemic, according to official data published on Saturday. This news comes as health authorities in the country confirmed more than 200,000 daily COVID cases for a fourth straight day. France joins the United States, India, Brazil, Britain and Russia in having had more than 10 million cases.

Meanwhile, England reported a record high daily total of 162,572 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday, up from 160,276 the previous day, official data showed.

The daily number of confirmed infections across the UK repeatedly broke records in December as the Omicron variant spread rapidly. However, hospitalisations and deaths have remained at lower levels than during previous waves.


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