(Bethlehem) Billions of people around the world are celebrating Christmas clouded by COVID-19 and the explosion of lawsuits linked to the Omicron variant on Friday has resulted in many restrictions on family reunion time.
In the occupied Palestinian city of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, despite the cold and cloudy skies, several hundred people gathered and followed a parade of Palestinian scouts with bombs on their heads in Manger Square.
Crystal Young, from Jerusalem, says, “It’s very different from other years, it’s crowded.”
The sound of drums and backpipes in this square, which adjoins the Nativity Basilica, the birthplace of Jesus, according to Christian tradition, caused some delight.
As in 2020, the midnight mass will be assigned there, to a small circle of believers, by invitation only. It is to be celebrated by the Apostolic Executioner of the Latin Patriots of Jerusalem, Pierpatista Bissaballa.
At the Vatican, a traditional Christmas service led by Pope Francis will be held the next day at 7:30 pm in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, before the blessing of the Argentine Pope’s Urbi et Orbi VIII from St. Peter’s Square.
Elsewhere, an increase in Govt-19 infections is causing a chill in party programs. Despite the Netherlands being limited, Broadway canceling Christmas shows, and Spain and Greece reintroducing the mandatory outdoor mask, meetings are generally softer than last year.
Faced with the meteoric spread of the Omigron variant, the United Kingdom on Friday recorded more than 122,000 additional COVID-19 cases, a new record since the outbreak began.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the best Christmas gift was to be given a single dose of the vaccine, “whether your first or second, or your stimulant.”
Airlines have had to cancel more than 2,000 flights worldwide, almost a quarter of which are in the United States, especially due to the omigron variant of COVID-19, which interferes with travel during the holidays.
Millions of Americans are preparing to cross their country in spite of everything, yet the Omigron wave has already surpassed the delta variance, with an average of 171,000 daily cases in seven days, and hospitals running without beds.
President Joe Biden went to a Washington hospital with his wife, Jill Biden, the latter continuing the tradition of being the first woman to visit children admitted to the hospital each year.
The presidential couple praised the lights made by the young patients, and missed some of the events about the German shepherd commander, whose recent visit to the White House made social media happy.
“Drop of hope”
Most Australians can travel back into the country, reinforcing the Christmas feeling in a country that, for the first time since the outbreak, is still experiencing record numbers of pollution.
Sydney Catholic Archbishop Anthony Fisher praised in his Christmas message “the moving scenes that people encounter at airports a few months after the separation.”
In France, the number of tests carried out by French people seeking to find their loved ones for Christmas reached a record high of 6.2 million last week. Another record was broken on Thursday with 91,608 confirmed cases.
The epidemic has killed at least 5,385,564 people worldwide since the end of 2019, according to a report released by AFP from official sources on Friday.
According to AFP databases, it has accelerated over the past week in almost every part of the world, except the Middle East and Asia.
Morocco has extended the closure of its air borders until the end of January, effective November 29.
But border closures and restrictions do not prevent a popular reindeer snowmobile from circling around the world.
The Transport Minister in Ottawa confirmed this, “even to Rudolf, whose nose was shining bright, he showed the green light to the crew. [mais] Before departure he confirmed that he had no COVID-19 symptoms.
The same thought on the Australian side: “Our air traffic controllers will safely guide Santa Claus into Australian airspace,” the Aviation Safety Authority said.
“He has the power to shepherd the roofs and fly 500 feet to deliver his gifts quickly and wisely.”
In Brazil, a black Santa Claus arrived by helicopter to deliver food parcels to residents of Benha Favela in Rio de Janeiro.
“Kids look at me, smile, play and talk. They feel like they represent black Santa Claus,” said Leonardo Pereira da Silva, 30, a resident of Favela and a member of the Central Unicas dos Favalas (CUFA).