Paris cancels New Year fireworks over Omicron fears

Paris cancels New Year fireworks over Omicron fears

Paris municipal authorities announced with regret that we will have to cancel all the festivities planned on the Champs Elysees on December 31. — AFP/File
Paris municipal authorities introduced “with remorse that we should cancel all of the festivities deliberate on the Champs Elysees on December 31. — AFP/File

PARIS: Paris on Saturday stated it was cancelling its conventional New Year fireworks as Europe braced for tighter curbs to rein within the unfold of the brand new pressure of the coronavirus fuelling a resurgence in COVID-19 instances worldwide.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has warned the Omicron coronavirus variant could possibly be dominant in Europe by mid-January.

Many international locations have determined to reintroduce journey restrictions and different containment measures because it was first detected in South Africa final month.

“With regard to the acceleration of the pandemic, and the risks related to the end-of-year festivities, authorities should impose significant restrictions,” France’s scientific panel stated.

And Paris municipal authorities introduced “with regret that we will have to cancel all the festivities planned on the Champs Elysees on December 31.

“The fireworks is not going to happen, nor sadly will there be any DJ units,” the mayor’s office told AFP.

On Friday, Germany designated France and Denmark as high-risk zones and said it would impose quarantine on unvaccinated travellers from its two neighbours, starting from Sunday.

In Ireland, bars and restaurants will have to close from 8pm from Sunday until January 30, prime minister Micheal Martin announced.

Denmark, which this week had the highest per capita new COVID infection rate, said it would close cinemas, theatres and concert halls and restrict restaurant opening hours.

And Switzerland is also stepping up anti-COVID measures from Monday as the country battles an intense fifth wave of the virus, which has killed at least 5,335,968 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019.

The Dutch government is scheduled to hold an emergency meeting on Saturday afternoon after its team of expert scientific advisers recommended new restrictions to rein in Omicron, media reports said.

According to the reports, the government will hold a news conference to announce the new measures.

Inoculating children

A number of countries are opening up their immunisation drives to younger children, even though the EU’s health agency has warned that jabs alone will not be sufficient to stop the variant´s rise.

In Portugal, where 88.9% of the population is vaccinated, more than 60,000 children aged between five and 11 were set to receive their first jab of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this weekend.

And in France, Health Minister Olivier Veran said that jabs will start to be administered to children in the same age group from Wednesday.

“If all goes properly, we’ll begin vaccination of youngsters on the afternoon of December 22 in specifically tailored centres,” he told France Inter radio.

Nevertheless, the EU health agency ECDC has said measures like mask-wearing, distance working and the prevention of crowds were essential to reduce the burden on healthcare systems in the time available, with vaccines alone taking too long.

The EU’s medicines watchdog last month approved the lower-dosage Pfizer-BioNTech shot for five to 11-year-olds, an age group experiencing high coronavirus infection rates across the continent.

The United States was the first large country to take the plunge and has so far vaccinated more than five million children in the five-to-11 age bracket.

Denmark was one of the first European countries to open vaccination to all over-fives on November 26, though it is not compulsory.

Inside a converted commercial warehouse in a suburb of the Danish capital, seven-year-old William was one of a number of children waiting for their first COVID jab.

“I’m not scared, I’ve already completed it 100 occasions,” he said, showing off to his younger brother.

Another youngster, Camelia, said she was more than happy to get the jab.

“Everybody within the household was vaccinated, I used to be the final one,” she said. “I’m pleased I did it as a result of now if I get corona, I gained´t really feel something.”

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