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World braces for virus surge in New Year

World braces for virus surge in New Year

Millions around the world braced Thursday for drastically curtailed New Year celebrations as record coronavirus cases fuelled by the Omicron variant saw the WHO warn a Covid “tsunami” threatens to overwhelm healthcare systems. The number of daily new Covid cases worldwide crossed one million for the first time, according to an AFP tally on Thursday, with more than 7.3 million in the last seven days, driven mainly by the new Omicron variant. From Greece to Mexico, from Barcelona to Bali and across swathes of Europe, authorities have cancelled or curtailed public gatherings. In France, wearing masks outdoors will be compulsory while walking the streets of Paris from Friday for everyone over the age of 11. Nightclubs have been closed until well into January. In Spain, public festivities have been cancelled across most regions and in the biggest cities except Madrid, where a stripped-down gathering is scheduled with the crowd limited to 7,000 people compared to 18,000 in 2019. On Thursday, Britain’s National Health Service announced that it would start opening temporary field hospitals to contain a possible overspill of inpatients. The number of patients occupying beds in English hospitals rose to 11,452, official data from NHS England showed on Thursday, up by 990 from a day earlier. Indonesia, which has reported more than 4.2 million confirmed cases, warned that foreign travellers may be deported from the resort island of Bali if they are caught violating Covid rules. Bali has barred carnivals, fireworks and gatherings of more than 50 people over the Christmas and New Year period. Mexico City has also cancelled its massive New Year’s Eve celebrations as a preventative measure after a rise in Covid cases. In Saudi Arabia, authorities reimposed social distancing measures at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, after recording the highest number of infections in months. 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. “I am highly concerned that Omicron, being more transmissible, circulating at the same time as Delta, is leading to a tsunami of cases,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Russia is bracing itself for another Covid-19 wave early next year, three sources in political circles told Reuters. “There is the expectation of a new wave in January-February,” said a source close to the Kremlin, adding that daily infections of more than 50,000 were possible. J&J booster effective A booster dose of Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose Covid vaccine was 84% effective at preventing hospitalisation in South African health care workers who became infected as the Omicron variant spread, researchers said on Thursday. The real-world study, which has not been peer-reviewed, was based on a second dose of the J&J vaccine administered to 69,092 workers between November 15 and December 20..

world-news 2021-12-31 hindustantimes