New figures from Britain’s official statistics body estimate that around 1 in 25 people in private homes in England had COVID-19 the week before Christmas, as the highly permeable Omicron variant spread rapidly across the country.
LONDON – New figures from Britain’s official statistics body estimate that around 1 in 25 people in private homes in England had COVID-19 in the week before Christmas, as the highly transmissible Omicron variant spread rapidly across the country.
The Office for National Statistics said Friday that the number jumped from 1 in 45 in the past week.
One in 25 equates to nearly 2 million people in England, the highest number since the statistics body estimated the level of infection in May 2020.
The figure was even higher in the British capital London, where officials said about 1 in 15 people was likely to test positive for the coronavirus in the week leading up to 23 December.
Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic:
, Silent New Year’s Eve Celebrations Around the World As Omicron rages
– we hospitalized children With COVID in record numbers
, UK estimates 1 in 15 had the virus in London Amidst the Omicron boom before Christmas
– New COVID-19 cases rise in the US highest level On the record
, Canadian Provinces Adopt restrictions between daily case records
Here’s what else is happening today:
SYDNEY – In many places, New Year’s Eve celebrations were muted or canceled for the second year in a row, this time due to a surge in coronavirus infections driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant.
Even before Omicron hit, many were happy to say goodbye to the pandemic’s second grinding year.
But so far, at least, the omicron boom hasn’t resulted in the same level of hospitalizations and deaths as previous outbreaks – especially among vaccinated people – offering a glimmer of hope for 2022 .
Australia carried on with its celebrations despite an explosion in virus cases. Thousands of fireworks lit up the skies with a spectacular midnight display at Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and Opera House.
Hours before the ceremony began, Australian health officials reported a record 32,000 new virus cases, many of them in Sydney. Due to the increase, crowds were much smaller than in pre-pandemic years, when Sydney was home to over one million fun-goers.
Neighboring New Zealand had previously opted for a more low-key approach in place of its fireworks show in Auckland, with light displays displayed at sites including the Sky Tower and Harbor Bridge.
PARIS — Paris region health officials have instructed hospitals to cancel more non-urgent medical procedures to free up intensive care beds to make up for the growing influx of people seriously ill with COVID-19.
The regional health authority on Friday said it expects to cross the 50% mark of intensive care beds occupied by COVID-19 patients within a few days. The Paris region typically has about 2,000 intensive care beds but can create more by canceling non-urgent surgical procedures. Hospitals in the Paris region had already started the process but have now been instructed to expedite cancellations.
There were about 740 COVID-19 patients in intensive care at field hospitals on Friday, up from about 600 a week ago. The regional health authority said the decision to free up more beds for COVID-19 patients was also prompted by the skyrocketing infection rate in Paris, with incidence rates in people aged 65 and over in a week Doubling is involved.
ISTANBUL – Turkey’s health ministry is allowing a fifth dose as a booster for people who have received two doses of the Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines.
Health workers and people over 65 began their vaccination with an inactivated vaccine from China’s Sinovac earlier this year. They became eligible for the third and fourth doses with Pfizer-BioNtech’s mRNA vaccine in response to the highly infectious Delta variant.
A fifth “reminder” dose will be available for people who took their fourth shot three months ago and appointments opened on Friday. Turkey is offering two vaccine brands and this week began administering the domestically produced inactivated vaccine Turkovac.
Turkey’s health ministry figures on Thursday showed nearly 40,000 new COVID-19 infections, more than double the number of cases a week earlier. More than 83% of Turkey’s adult population has received two doses of vaccines and about 18.7 million people have received a third.
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s planning minister says his country has achieved its target of fully vaccinating 70 million people by the end of 2021.
The announcement on Friday comes as Pakistan has stepped up its recent vaccination campaign as the new Omicron variant spreads.
Planning Minister Asad Umar took to Twitter to thank the health workers working to meet the target.
Since last year, Pakistan has administered 155 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, vaccinating more than 70 million in the South Asian nation of about 220 million people. This brings the vaccination rate up to 44%.
Pakistan has so far relied mostly on Chinese vaccines, although it has also received millions of doses of vaccines under the COVAX scheme.
LONDON – Officials have warned Scotland and Wales to think twice before traveling to England in the new year, highlighting that four parts of the UK are again under coronavirus restrictions amid record-high infections and rising hospitalizations. How were they taking different perspectives?
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has opposed tighter restrictions in England despite the rapid spread of the highly permeable Omicron variant, instead focusing on repeated self-testing and an expanded vaccine booster program to control the spread of the infection. .
Meanwhile Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, which set their own public health rules, imposed new restrictions this week that closed all nightclubs and limited social gatherings. Bars and pubs have had to revert to table service. In Edinburgh, which traditionally hosts one of Europe’s biggest New Year’s Eve parties, people have been urged to stay home.
Although there are no formal travel restrictions preventing Scottish party-goers from traveling to England on Friday, Scotland’s deputy leader John Swain said travel would be the “wrong course of action”.
Opinion is divided as to whether Johnson’s Conservative government was taking a risky gamble for not implementing tougher coronavirus measures in England as the Omicron version drives infections to record high numbers.
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday wished Russians a positive change in the new year, lauding their solidarity and strength to face tough challenges like the coronavirus pandemic.
In a televised address broadcast before midnight in each of Russia’s 11 time zones, Putin said the country of about 146 million faced “great challenges, but learned to live in those harsh conditions and solve difficult tasks”. Thank you for our solidarity.”
“We continue to fight the dreaded pandemic that has engulfed all continents and there is no turning back,” Putin said. “The treacherous disease has claimed thousands of lives. I want to express my sincere support to all those who have lost their loved ones.”
Russia’s state coronavirus task force has recorded a total of about 10.5 million confirmed infections and 308,860 deaths, but the state’s statistics agency, which uses broad criteria in its matching system, has reported nearly 626,000 virus cases in Russia since the start of the pandemic. Associated deaths have been reported.
Russia has seen a decline in contagion with new daily infections in recent weeks after peaking at more than 40,000 in early November. The government has so far only reported 100 infections with the new Omicron variant, but it is poised for a new wave of infections post-holidays.
Vatican City – Pope Francis canceled his New Year’s Eve tradition of visiting a life-size nativity scene set up in St. Peter’s Square, to prevent large crowds from forming.
Meanwhile, major Italian cities canceled their traditional December 31 open-air concerts as Italy grapples with a record-setting surge in coronavirus cases.
Francis is proceeding with his traditional December 31 Vespers service inside the basilica and will celebrate New Year’s Day as scheduled.
The Vatican has largely followed Italy’s lead in imposing crowd restrictions. Many Italian cities are opting for streamed concerts or theatrical productions, where access by the public to a health pass check can be controlled.
In addition, the city of Naples outright banned the use of fireworks to prevent crowds from building up in a city known for its explosive festivities of December 31.
HONG KONG – Hong Kong has confirmed the first cases of community transmission of the Omicron version of COVID-19, linked to an airline crew member who returned from the United States and two days later at a restaurant I had lunch.
Two other people who ate at the Moon Palace restaurant on Monday got infected. One was the father of a Cathay Pacific crew member and the other was a construction worker who was feeding 10 meters (30 ft) away.
Health Secretary Sophia Chan told a news conference Friday that city leader Carrie Lam had expressed her dissatisfaction with the airline’s president and its CEO after some employees violated a 3-day self-isolation rule following their return. Was. The health secretary called his actions “irresponsible”.
Cathay Pacific said five crew members had recently tested positive for Omicron, and some had not followed regulations. It apologized and said that they…