WORLD RINGS IN NEW YEAR UNDER COVID CLOUD

Happy New Year İn Advance To EveryoneThe world began  on Friday with the inauguration of 2022 after another turbulent and pandemic-ridden year, limited by new restrictions, a rising number of cases, and a slight glimmer of hope for better times.

 The first Olympic Games without spectators and  the  dreams of democracy from Afghanistan to Myanmar to Hong Kong are being smashed by authoritarian regimes.

But it was the pandemic, now entering its third year, that once again dominated  most people’s lives. More than 5.4 million people have died since the coronavirus was first reported in central China in December 2019, and countless more have fallen ill, exposed to outbreaks, bans, bans and an alphabetical spaghetti of PCR testing, LFT and RAT.

The year 2021 began with hope when life-saving vaccines were used in around 60 percent of the world’s population, though many of their poor still have limited access and some of the rich believe the coups are part of an unclear plot.

When it came to an end, the appearance of the Omicron variant caused the number of  new cases of Covid-19 to rise to more than a million for the first time, according to an AFP balance sheet.

France became the last country to announce on Friday that Omicron is now its dominant coronavirus strain. In the UK, the US and even Australia, a long-standing haven from the pandemic, the variant’s prominence is generating new record cases.

Parts of the Pacific nation of Kiribati were the first to greet the New Year from 1000 GMT.

In San Francisco, the festivities have been canceled or reduced again  as infections increase.

One notable exception, however, was South Africa, which was the first country to report Omicron  in November, where the curfew was lifted to allow the festivities.

Health officials said  a drop in infections over the past week shows the current wave has peaked, crucially without a significant increase in deaths. Sydney, Australia’s largest city, has also opted for fireworks that will light up the city, port, despite being one of the fastest growing cases in the world.

The country’s Conservative government says its decision to abandon a «Covidzero» approach was based on vaccination rates and increasing evidence that Omicron is less lethal.

Tens of thousands of night owls were expected to populate Sydney Beach, although AFP journalists said the city was quieter than normal at nightfall.

«I’m just trying to focus on the positive things that happened this year instead of thinking about all of the bad things that happened,» said Melinda, a 22-year-old medical student.

Howard, part of an enthusiastic but smaller than usual crowd waiting at the Opera House for the show to begin.

Despite numerous infections in the United Arab Emirates, Dubai is planning fireworks at the Burj Khalifa, the  tallest tower in the world.

Meanwhile, the northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah is trying to break two world records with  huge fireworks.

«Just a wish» In Rio, the celebrations on Copacabana Beach will take place in a reduced format, although many night owls are still expected.

«People have only one wish to leave their homes, to celebrate life,» said a 45-year-old waiter on Copacabana Beach said Francisco Rodrigues.

Some Brazilians are more careful, like Roberta Assis, a 27-year-old lawyer. «This is not the time for big meetings,» he said. The authorities in Seoul are showing similar caution and instead prohibit viewers from ringing the traditional midnight bell.

In India, fearing a repetition of the devastating surge in the virus  that overwhelmed the country in April and May, cities and states have imposed assembly restrictions and Delhi put a curfew at 10 p.m. Mumbai police put nighttime bans on people on Friday Enact visiting public places such as city beaches and boardwalks, which are usually popular attractions in the New Year, with two-week restrictions.

The health organization warned of difficult times, saying Omicron could lead to «a tsunami of cases».»This … will continue to put immense pressure on exhausted health workers and health systems that are on the verge of collapse,» said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

But the restrictions have again led to frequent, loud and sometimes violent protests against the blockade, vaccinations and the government. Experts and non-experts alike hope that 2022 will be remembered as the new, less deadly phase of the pandemic.

«Be better for everyone,» said  Oscar Ramirez, a 31-year-old Sydney night owl. “Everyone in the world needs a big change.

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