A surge in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron variant has been disrupting holiday travel plans all around the world. Thousands of flights have been canceled globally, because of the impact of the coronavirus on airline employees and on passengers. Despite this, people are trying their best to maintain the Christmas spirit.
Instead of the usual last minute Christmas rush, the streets in London have fallen silent. The UK broke their record of COVID cases for the third day in a row – recording about 122,000 infections. Numbers have climbed so high that some estimates predict one in ten Londoners have the infection. The surge in cases has dampened the Christmas cheer, and left many industries struggling with staff shortages as sick workers are forced to isolate. It’s a problem that has hit airlines particularly hard.
Some 2,000 flights around the world had to be canceled on Christmas Eve, adding another layer of stress to peoples’ already precarious holiday plans.
In Spain, you don’t have to be traveling far to face disruptions to everyday life – just stepping outside your front door now means having to wear a mask. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced the decision after two consecutive records in daily cases. It’s come as an unwelcome surprise to many.
Though it may not be the COVID-free Christmas that so many had hoped for, people are doing their best to make sure some of the festive spirit remains.
Many of Europe’s hospitals are once again being stretched to their limits, and staff are more burned out than ever. Despite this, they’re still trying to bring some joy to patients spending Christmas on the wards. DW’s Christine Mhundwa reports from Belgium.
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