Fearing omicron, many reduce Christmas plans

LONDON (AP) – Christmas festivities across Europe are taking a tighter turn, and U.S. authorities are stepping up calls for vaccinations over the new omicron variant, which threatens to ruin a second Christmas season that many hoped would serve to rescue Mexico. industries hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scotland and Wales pledged on Friday to earmark millions of pounds for companies harmed by the latest wave of infections in Britain, a move that increases pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government to do the same in England.

The Secretary of the Treasury, Rishi Sunak, met with representatives of companies, who have been demanding more support and denounced a “stealth confinement” in which government officials recommend that people reduce their social activities as much as possible, without officially imposing the strict rules of previous confinements.

In the United States, the administration of President Joe Biden is reluctant to tighten restrictions, but it also poses dire scenarios for the unvaccinated, pleading with the undecided to get vaccinated.

“For those who are not vaccinated, a winter of serious illness and death awaits, for yourselves, your families and the hospitals that you could soon overwhelm,” said the coordinator of the White House response to the coronavirus, Jeff on Friday. Zients.

The new variant is already “in full swing” in New York City, said Mayor Bill de Blasio. Cases reached a daily record Thursday with more than 8,300 infections. But new hospitalizations and deaths – so far – are very high. below their peak in spring 2020 and even relative to where they were at this time last year, according to municipal data.

Several European countries are suspicious of the spread of the omicron. On Friday, Denmark decided to close theaters, concert halls, amusement parks and museums in response to the rapid increase in cases of the virus. In Spain, friends and classmates canceled the traditional end-of-the-year dinners.

The omicron concerns were especially palpable in Britain, which recorded a record number of infections three days in a row this week, the latest on Friday with more than 93,000 cases recorded.

Businesses from travel agencies to taverns to theaters are reporting a wave of cancellations as customers are deciding not to party for now rather than risk catching and missing out on family celebrations later. Experts say the omicron appears to be more contagious, but not much else is known, and the uncertainty in itself is enough for many people to change their plans.


Associated Press journalists Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington, Mae Anderson in New York, Aritz Parra in Madrid, Barry Hatton in Lisbon and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.


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