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Soaring Covid cases hit New Year celebrations

Soaring Covid cases hit New Year celebrations

New York: 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. China ends 2021 with highest weekly cases China ended the final week of 2021 with its biggest tally of local Covid-19 cases for any seven-day period since it contained the country’s first pandemic nearly two years ago. The National Health Commission reported on Saturday 175 new community infections with confirmed clinical symptoms for December 31, bringing the total number of local symptomatic cases in mainland China in the past week to 1,151, driven mostly by an outbreak in the northwestern industrial and tech hub of Xian. This is a modal window. Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window. End of dialog window. This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button. Australia starts 2022 with record Covid cases Australia started 2022 with a record number of new Covid-19 cases as an outbreak centered in the eastern states grew, and New South Wales eased its isolation rules for healthcare workers as the number of people hospitalised with the virus rose. New South Wales, the most populous state, and Victoria posted daily record case numbers of 22,577 and 7,442 respectively on Saturday, health department figures showed. ‘New Covid restrictions would be a last resort’ New restrictions in England to slow the spread of Covid-19 will only be introduced as a last resort, health minister Sajid Javid said, stressing that although hospitalisations were rising, the number of patients in intensive care was stable. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant across the UK has sent infections to record highs, with close to 190,000 new cases reported on Friday..

world-news 2022-01-02 hindustantimes