PARIS (AFP): Paris on Saturday said it was calling off its New Year fireworks as Europe braced for tighter curbs to rein in a highly mutated strain of the coronavirus that is fuelling a resurgence in Covid-19 cases across the world.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned that the Omicron variant could be dominant in Europe by mid-January.
Many countries have decided to reintroduce travel restrictions and other containment measures since it was first detected in South Africa last month.
A scientific panel that advises the French government urged “significant restrictions” on new year festivities, and the capital announced “with regret” that it was cancelling all events on the Champs Elysees.
“The fireworks will not take place, nor unfortunately will there be any DJ sets,” the Paris mayor’s office told AFP.
On Saturday, World Health Organization said that the omicron variant of the coronavirus has been detected in 89 countries, and COVID-19 cases involving the variant are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in places with community transmission and not just infections acquired abroad.
“There are still limited data on the clinical severity of Omicron.”
“More data are needed to understand the severity profile and how severity is impacted by vaccination and pre-existing immunity,” the World Health Organization said.
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