Sydney (AFP) – Omicron’s rise has heralded another pandemic-tinged Christmas for billions, with Santa’s arrival and longed-for family reunions overshadowed by the prospect of yet more Covid restrictions.
Festive jokes about reindeer having “herd immunity” and millions isolating “Home Alone” may be wearing thin, but the emergence of the ultra-infectious Omicron variant means the pandemic isn’t going anywhere.
For a second straight year, surging infections have complicated yuletide plans from Sydney to Seville.
In Bethlehem — the city Christians believe was Jesus’ birthplace — hoteliers expecting an influx of tourists have been disappointed. After a near-total pandemic lockdown last year, Israel’s borders are again closed.
This year, like last, midnight mass in the city on Christmas Eve will be reserved for a small circle of people by invitation only.
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