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Towards a New Year under the sign of Covid-19

The Covid-19 pandemic will again this year weigh on the New Year’s festivities tomorrow, Friday, December 31, with restrictions in many countries, against the backdrop of a “tsunami” of contamination putting health systems under pressure. What say, in pictures, the French and German health ministers, and the boss of the WHO.

Paris will not be a party, nor will Athens or Mexico City. “Music will be banned” in bars and restaurants, warned Thanos Plevris, the Greek Minister of Health, Wednesday in a televised message, in an attempt to limit the desires of his fellow citizens for New Year’s Eve.

“Bars and restaurants will close at midnight. For Christmas Eve on December 31, they will be allowed to stay open until two in the morning, but still without music, ”said Thanos Plevris.

No large New Year’s Eve tables either in Greece, which on Wednesday recorded a new contamination record with 28,828 new cases: from this Thursday until January 16, tables in restaurants will be limited to six people.

In France, nightclubs will remain closed on the 31st, and this for several more weeks. And in Paris, for the New Year, the prefecture also announced the closure of drinking establishments on Saturday 1er and Sunday January 2 from 2:00 a.m.

“More than a million French people are currently positive for the coronavirus” and “10% of the French population is in contact”, warned, in a deep voice, the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, in front of the deputies.

In Mexico City, the town hall canceled New Year’s celebrations and Cyprus banned dancing in public places.

Restrictions not sufficient

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach warned on Wednesday that the new restrictions that came into effect on Tuesday will not “be enough” in the face of the Omicron variant, which is expected to cause a “sharp rise” in cases in the coming weeks.

In Germany, where nightclubs will also remain closed for New Year’s Eve, private meetings of more than ten people are prohibited, even for vaccinated and cured people. For the unvaccinated, the limit drops to two members of different outbreaks.

Contamination “Tsunami”

The Omicron variant is currently causing a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases in many European countries, some of which have been breaking records since the start of the pandemic.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday evoked a “tsunami” putting “immense pressure on an exhausted health workforce and health systems on the verge of collapse”, two years after the start of a pandemic with more than 5.4 million deaths.

Across the world, more than 935,000 cases of Covid-19 on average were detected each day between December 22 and 28, a number never reached since the start of the pandemic at the end of 2019, which represents an increase of 37% by report to the previous week, according to an AFP count made from official reports.

Most of the new infections are found in Europe where several countries have recorded new daily case records.

In England, more than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, a first since early March.

Denmark, currently the country in the world with the most new cases of Covid-19 compared to its population, also smashed its record, with 23,228 additional cases in 24 hours.

Same thing in Spain, yet one of the champions of vaccination, with 100,760 new cases identified in 24 hours.

With more than 265,000 daily cases on average for a week, the United States also faces a record of infections, with Omicron as the dominant variant.

So far, the explosion of the pandemic has not translated into an overall increase in the death toll, which has been declining for three weeks worldwide.

In China, which records an epidemic outbreak within 40 days of the Beijing Winter Olympics, the measures are more radical.

After the city of Xi’an, subjected for a week to quarantine and which is now experiencing supply difficulties, several tens of thousands of residents of a district of the city of Yan’an, 300 kilometers from Xi ‘ year, will spend the New Year confined too.


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