Threat of Omicron Looms Over Christmas Holidays in Europe, U.S | World News

LONDON (Reuters) – The Netherlands went into lockdown on Sunday and the chance of extra COVID-19 restrictions over the Christmas and New Year interval loomed over a number of European international locations because the Omicron coronavirus variant spreads rapidly.

In the United States, White House medical adviser Anthony Fauci urged individuals travelling over the vacations to get booster photographs and at all times put on masks in crowded public areas.

He described Omicron as “raging by way of the world,” and stated travelling will improve the danger of an infection even amongst vaccinated individuals.

Dutch city centres had been largely abandoned because the nation started a snap lockdown that left individuals’s Christmas plans in disarray.


Prime Minister Mark Rutte introduced the shutdown on Saturday night, ordering the closure of all however important shops, in addition to eating places, hairdressers, gyms, museums and different public locations from Sunday till at the least Jan. 14.

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Omicron, a really contagious variant first detected final month in southern Africa and Hong Kong, has raced across the globe and been reported in 89 international locations, the World Health Organization stated on Saturday.

The quantity of Omicron instances is doubling in 1.5 to three days in areas with group transmission, the WHO stated, noting that a lot continues to be not recognized concerning the variant, together with the severity of the sickness it causes.

While the Netherlands took the plunge and shut down a lot of public life to forestall its healthcare system from being overwhelmed by an anticipated surge in instances, a number of different European governments are contemplating extra curbs – at a time when persons are usually spending cash on purchasing, leisure and journey.

Britain reported a surge in instances of Omicron on Saturday, with 25,000 recorded up to now. Government advisors stated this may very well be the tip of the iceberg and well being minister Sajid Javid declined on Sunday to rule out the possibility of additional COVID-19 restrictions earlier than Christmas.


Javid stated the federal government was taking the “sobering” recommendation of its scientists critically, was watching the info on an “nearly hourly foundation” and would stability that in opposition to the broader impression of restrictions on areas corresponding to companies and schooling.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is reeling after a sequence of scandals and missteps, and greater than 100 of his personal Conservative lawmakers this week voted in opposition to the federal government’s newest measures to deal with COVID-19.

Javid stated Johnson was not too politically weak to deliver in additional curbs if vital.

In Italy, the federal government is contemplating new measures to keep away from a surge in infections throughout the vacation interval, native newspapers reported on Sunday.

After holding a gathering with ministers on Dec. 23, Prime Minister Mario Draghi might mandate that individuals who have been vaccinated additionally present a adverse take a look at to entry crowded locations, together with discos and stadiums, day by day Corriere della Sera reported.

(Writing by Frances Kerry; enhancing by John Stonestreet)

Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.

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