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Over Omicron fears, the WHO recommends cancelling some holiday events



As the Omicron variant spreads globally, the World Health Organization has urged people to cancel some of their holiday plans in order to protect public health.


"An event cancelled is better than a life cancelled," said WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that "difficult decisions" must be made.

Several countries have taken steps to try to halt the spread of the variant, including imposing travel restrictions.


Omicron is now the most common pathogen in the United States, accounting for 73% of new infections.


President Joe Biden is scheduled to address the nation on Tuesday, but the White House has stated that he does not intend to "lock down the country."


Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country's top infectious disease expert, had previously warned that Christmas travel would increase the spread of Omicron, even among the fully vaccinated.


Americans are now advised not to travel to more than 80 countries on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Very High list for Covid-19, including nearly all of Europe.


France and Germany are among the countries imposing travel restrictions to combat Omicron, while the Netherlands has implemented a strict lockdown over the Christmas holiday.


In the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday that the government needed to "reserve the possibility" of enacting new rules in England as the number of Omicron cases increased, but he did not announce any new restrictions.


New Year's Eve celebrations in Trafalgar Square have been cancelled "in the interests of public safety," according to Mayor Sadiq Khan.

And, on Tuesday, New Zealand delayed its phased reopening to international travel until at least the end of February.

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