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The world goes into the new year with the COVID tsunami, warns the WHO
Millions of people around the world prepare for drastically cut New Year celebrations as record coronavirus cases fueled by the Omicron variant lead WHO to warn that a COVID-19 “tsunami” is affecting health systems threatens to overwhelm.
First discovered two years ago and declared a global pandemic in March 2020, the coronavirus has killed more than 5.4 million people, sparked economic crises and bounced societies in and out of lockdowns.
The newest variant, Omicron, which is tentatively viewed as a milder disease, has pushed the number of infections to record highs in many countries in the past few days, forcing governments to reintroduce restrictions.
A medical worker takes care of a patient in the COVID-19 intensive care unit of the Institute of Clinical Cardiology in Rome on December 30, 2021. (Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP)
From Greece to Mexico, Barcelona to Bali and across Europe, authorities have canceled or restricted public gatherings and either closed nightclubs or imposed curfews.
“I am very concerned that Omicron, which is more easily transferable and circulates at the same time as Delta, will lead to a tsunami of cases,” says WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.