PARIS: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– New Year celebrated under shadow of Covid –
The world celebrates the New Year with festivities cancelled or severely curtailed, with the third year of the pandemic marked by an explosion of infections but timid signs of hope for 2022.
Britain, the United States and even Australia, long protected from the pandemic, break records for new recorded cases, while France announces that Omicron is now the dominant strain in the country.
– Sporting calendar thrown into chaos –
The Omicron variant disrupts the sporting calendar with countless fixtures postponed all over the world in sports ranging from football and rugby to basketball, boxing and volleyball.
– British health minister says ‘learn to live with virus’ –
Britain’s health minister insists that reimposing coronavirus restrictions in England will be “an absolute last resort” and that the country must “try to live with Covid“.
“Curbs on our freedom must be an absolute last resort and the British people rightly expect us to do everything in our power to avert them,” Health Secretary Sajid Javid writes in an article.
– Dutch police raid Covid rule breaking rave –
Dutch police break up a rave party in breach of Covid rules that was attended by hundreds in a disused factory, local media report.
Dozens of police officers enter the makeshift venue in the central town of Rijswijk with hundreds more mobilised to shepherd people away, NOS television says.
– New York revives Times Square festivities –
New York rings in the new year with a scaled-down ceremony in Times Square, marking 2022 with its famous ball drop and confetti.
The event, cancelled last year, goes ahead albeit with fewer revellers — only about 15,000 people — all required to show proof of vaccination.
– France says six-year-olds must wear masks on public transport –
Children on French public transport will soon have to wear a face mask from the age of six upwards, the government decrees as part of its latest measures against coronavirus.
Masks had previously been compulsory from the age of 11, but Paris is tightening regulations given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
– Cases quadruple in Guadeloupe –
The number of new cases of Covid-19 has quadrupled in four days on the French island of Guadeloupe, rising to 2,191 compared with 543 cases over seven days last week.