Millions of travelers have been affected by suspensions around the world in the first weekend of the Christmas holidays
The omicron variant of Covid-19 has an unprecedented multiplier factor and, as experts fear, apparently without limits. Every day the infections grow with a growing exponential and together with them the pandemic and its derivatives. If the health pressure generated by the South African strain is already almost unaffordable by health systems, the same happens with other aspects of our societies. These dates, characterized by human displacements, have reached transport. The air among them, as has been verified in the last three days.
More than 6,000 flights had to be canceled around the world during the first weekend of the Christmas holidays – when the biggest trips usually occur – and as many were irritably delayed, according to tracking website Flightaware. This new episode of frustration among citizens caused by the coronavirus. Airlines were powerless to meet the demands of the virus ravaging their crews and ground staff, victims of the explosion of infections in the middle of high season. The sick leave caused that the victims among the passengers were counted by millions both in local, international and transatlantic flights.
The ‘storm’ gave its first signs on Thursday in the United States, but it soon spread to the entire planet. Christmas Eve, one of the busiest days of the year, received the biggest problems as the day progressed and this Saturday, at Christmas, the large international airlines were already powerless despite a “large reserve” of additional personnel for the period.
“The national upturn in omicron cases this week has had a direct impact on our pilots, flight attendants and other personnel, who have been infected or must be quarantined,” explained sources from the North American company United Airlines in a circular. “We are sorry for the inconvenience and we are working to be able to relocate as many people as possible and take them to their destinations on these vacations. We have exhausted all options and resources before deciding these cancellations, “argued, for their part, from Delta AirLines. The companies China Eastern and Air China also apologized to their customers “for the delay in their plans to travel on their Christmas holidays” after suspending a quarter of their total scheduled departures.
The German Lufthansa also acknowledged that its planning and “very large mattress planned for the vacation period was not enough due to the high rate of personnel who reported sick.” In Australia, thousands of trips were also affected in the first time in two years that citizens were able to travel between states on vacation.
The air personnel unions denounce, for their part, that a large part of the cancellations is due to the fact that the airlines have reduced their personnel to reduce costs. The companies are calling for more flexibility in the guidelines on the isolation period that those who have been exposed to the virus must comply with and the representatives of the workers consider that any change in the protocols should be based on science, not on personnel problems.
FRANCE. Exceeds the barrier of 100,000 infections.
France surpassed the threshold of 100,000 daily covid infections this Saturday in the context of an acceleration of the pandemic that began twenty-one months ago. On Christmas Day, 104,611 cases were counted, doubling the numbers in the last three weeks.
BULGARIA. 38 euros for vaccinated retirees.
The Bulgarian authorities have approved the delivery until the end of June of about 38 euros in cash to retirees who are vaccinated against the coronavirus, given the low immunization figures since the start of the immunization campaign in the European country.
USA End of restrictions on South African countries.
The president of the United States, Joe Biden, will withdraw on the 31st the restrictions he imposed on traveling to southern African countries due to the appearance of the omicron variant, government spokesman Kevin Muñoz announced on Friday on the social network Twitter.
TURKEY. Orthodox leader Bartholomew I tests positive.
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of the world’s Eastern Orthodox Christians, has tested positive for coronavirus, his office reported Friday. The 81-year-old archbishop was already vaccinated and shows “mild symptoms.”
The leading American expert on infectious diseases, Anthony Fauci, warned at the beginning of the week that Christmas trips would increase infections, even among fully vaccinated people. In fact, cases have grown 50% in the last week.
Ómicron has further reduced staffing at hospitals, police departments, supermarkets and other critical sectors. Therefore, many countries prepare new restrictions just after the holiday period.
China sanctions dozens of officials over Xian outbreak
Dozens of Chinese officials have been sanctioned for failing to perform tests after a coronavirus outbreak occurred in the city of Xian, where its thirteen million inhabitants have been confined by Beijing’s ‘zero covid’ strategy. The Asian giants, which celebrate the Winter Olympics in February, are trying to control cases through a strategy of strict restrictions such as quarantines and confinements. But the cases have increased in recent weeks.