On December 24th, 2021, in new york, USA, passengers were waiting at the New York Airport. Hundreds of Christmas flights in the United States were cancelled due to the surge in confirmed cases in COVID-19 caused by the spread of Omicron strain.
Affected by the rapid spread of Covid-19 Omicron strain, many airlines around the world canceled more than 4,500 flights during the Christmas holiday.
European and American countries ushered in the Christmas holiday in the shadow of the epidemic. Recently, the number of confirmed cases in COVID-19 in the United States surged, and the number of newly confirmed cases in Britain and France reached a new high on the 24th.
Thousands of flights were cancelled.
Passenger transport market "adds congestion"
"It’s so disappointing. After working hard for half a day, I still have to stay at home … …” Connie, a resident of Chicago, USA, told reporters in dismay after her flight was cancelled on the 24th. In order to fly to Atlanta to visit her parents during the Christmas holiday, Connie received a Covid-19 test and bought masks and other epidemic prevention supplies in advance. However, just before boarding the plane, she received the news that the flight was cancelled.
Connie’s experience is not a case. Due to the rapid spread of Covid-19 Omicron strain in Europe and America, many staff members of passenger transport enterprises can’t continue to work because of diagnosis or close contact. European and American airline operators were forced to cancel thousands of flights, and many European railway operators also faced the same problem. For most people in Europe and America, Christmas is the most important holiday to reunite with their families in a year, but this year it is impossible to travel or the journey is interrupted due to the epidemic.
According to the data of American flight tracking website, airlines around the world canceled at least 2,401 flights on the 24th, and nearly 10,000 flights were delayed. On Christmas Day, 25th, 1,779 flights worldwide were cancelled, and another 402 flights scheduled for 26th were cancelled.
According to the above website data, among all cancelled flights, American international and domestic commercial flights account for more than a quarter. Among them, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines cancelled nearly 280 flights on the 24th, because of the shortage of manpower caused by the surge of infection cases in COVID-19.
"The number of cases of Omicron virus infection in the United States has surged this week, which has had a direct impact on our pilots and operators," United said in a statement. "Therefore, we have to cancel some flights with regret."
Delta Air Lines said that the company has tried every means to maintain the original flight, including changing the route and replacing the aircraft and crew. "We apologize for the delay in our customers’ holiday travel plans."
Lufthansa said on the 24th that it cancelled more than a dozen long-distance transatlantic flights during the Christmas holiday due to the "substantial increase" in sick leave of pilots.
Jetstar said that due to the spread of Covid-19, many staff members had to be tested and quarantined, which led to the last-minute delay or cancellation of flights. This enterprise has rebooked tickets for most passengers.
According to Reuters, in Britain, many industries and transportation networks are facing a shortage of manpower because sick employees are isolating themselves.
The epidemic in the United States has worsened.
Shorten the isolation period of infected medical staff before returning to work
Due to the spread of Omicron strain, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States has surged recently. According to a report by Reuters on the 24th, the daily average number of newly confirmed cases in the United States increased by 45% over the previous week, reaching 179,000. New York reported more than 44,000 new confirmed cases on the 24th, setting a new record. In addition, at least 10 states recorded a record number of new cases in a single day on the 23rd or 24th.
According to the data of Johns Hopkins University, there are more than 51.96 million confirmed cases and 810,000 deaths in COVID-19.
According to Reuters data, at present, Omicron cases account for about 75% of the newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States, and in some areas, the proportion reaches 90%.
The increasing number of inpatients in COVID-19 has impacted the medical system in the Midwest of the United States, and the intensive care units in Indiana, Ohio and Michigan are preparing for the worst.
In response to the worsening epidemic situation, the New Year celebration in Times Square, new york, USA, will be greatly scaled down on the 31st, and only a maximum of 15,000 people will be allowed to enter, so as to keep a safe distance.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently issued a proposal that the isolation time of medical staff who tested positive in Covid-19 will be shortened before returning to work, in view of the shortage of manpower in hospitals across the United States.
According to the latest recommendations of the CDC, medical staff infected with Covid-19 can return to work after 5 days of isolation if they have no symptoms or symptoms are mild and continue to improve, without providing negative COVID-19 test certificates; If the symptoms are serious after infection, you can’t return to work until 20 days after the symptoms appear. According to the CDC, if the shortage of medical staff increases, the isolation period may be further shortened.
The CDC previously suggested that infected medical staff should be quarantined for 10 days from the day after symptoms or positive test results.
Britain and France are hitting record highs.
France may introduce new restrictions
According to data released by the British government on the 24th, there were 122,186 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the UK in the past 24 hours, setting a new record since the outbreak, with a total of more than 11.89 million confirmed cases. There were 137 new deaths in a single day, with a cumulative death of more than 140,000.
As of the week of 24th, there were about 700,000 confirmed cases and 810 deaths in Britain, increasing by 48.2% and 2% respectively compared with the previous week.
According to the latest research report of Covid-19 released by the British Health and Safety Agency on 23rd, compared with the Delta strain, the Omicron strain spreads faster, but the risk of hospitalization of confirmed cases is lower. However, British health officials are cautious about the prospect of the epidemic.
According to the data model of the Bureau of Statistics, the number of infected people in London will rise further in the next few days, and it is expected to increase to about one in every 10 people by the 26th.
According to the data of the British Health and Safety Agency on 24th, there were 23,719 new cases of Omicron virus infection in the country, and 114,625 cases were confirmed. British Health Secretary Said Dzhavid pointed out earlier that there was a "data gap" in Omicron strain, and the actual number of infected cases was "significantly higher" than the official data.
Dzhavid said on the same day that there are still many uncertainties surrounding the Omicron strain. Although the number of confirmed cases is increasing, it will not announce the tightening of prevention and control measures for the English epidemic after Christmas.
The number of confirmed cases in COVID-19 has also reached a new high. On the 24th, 94,124 new cases were reported, with a total of 8.98 million confirmed cases. There were 167 new deaths, with a cumulative death of over 120,000. In the past seven days, 66,417 new cases were diagnosed daily in France, setting a new record, which tripled in one month.
According to Reuters, Omicron virus infection cases have now accounted for 20% of newly confirmed cases in France.
The French Presidential Palace said on the 24th that President Emmanuel Macron is scheduled to hold a special meeting on the COVID-19 epidemic on the 27th, and new epidemic prevention restrictions may be introduced.
Tokyo is now the first
Community-transmitted cases in Omicron
Tokyo, Japan, 24 new cases of Covid-19 Omicron strain infection, including a 50-year-old male infected person who has neither left Japan recently nor been in close contact with immigrants, is regarded as the first case of Omicron community transmission in Tokyo.
According to the report of Japan Broadcasting Association TV, this man is a doctor in a clinic in Tokyo and has been vaccinated with two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. He developed fever on 16th and was tested for Covid-19 nucleic acid, and the result was positive. The man was subsequently hospitalized, and there are no symptoms at present. Five close contacts, including his family and colleagues in the clinic, received nucleic acid tests, and the results are negative now.
According to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, men wear masks and protective masks when they see a doctor, so patients are not close contacts. However, considering the strong infectivity of Omicron strain, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government suggested that about 20 staff and 80 patients in the clinic should be screened for COVID-19.
South Korea demands more than 200 people.
"vacate" intensive care unit
South Korea’s Central Anti-epidemic Countermeasures Headquarters reported on the 24th that the number of severe cases in COVID-19 nationwide reached 1,084, a new high since the outbreak. Due to the shortage of hospital beds, the Korean government ordered more than 200 patients who had been treated in the intensive care unit in COVID-19 for more than 20 days to leave, or they would be fined.
The epidemic situation of COVID-19 in South Korea is tightening, and the number of newly confirmed cases in a single day in recent days is at a high level of around 7,000. According to the report of the Central Epidemic Prevention Countermeasures Headquarters on the 24th, there were 6,233 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, and 596,209 cases have been confirmed so far. There were 56 new deaths and 5071 cumulative deaths.
With the number of severe cases in Korea hitting record highs, hospitals are overwhelmed and it is hard to find a bed. As of the early morning of 23rd, the utilization rate of intensive care beds in COVID-19 is about 80%, and that in the capital circle is as high as 85%.
Faced with the shortage of beds, the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare issued an administrative order on the afternoon of the 22nd, requiring 210 patients who have been treated in the intensive care unit for more than 20 days to leave, or they will be fined 1 million won (about 5,366 yuan).
According to the regulations of the Ministry of Health and Welfare, if the patient is treated in the intensive care unit for more than 20 days, the subsequent treatment will no longer be free. At the same time, the relevant subsidies of the hospital where the patient is located will be cancelled.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said on the 23rd that as of that morning, 71 patients had left the intensive care unit and transferred to the general ward or other wards providing COVID-19 treatment.
According to the data of the Central Epidemic Prevention Countermeasures Headquarters, as of 24th, 82.3% of the population in South Korea had been vaccinated with COVID-19 vaccine, and 27.9% had been vaccinated with booster shots.
At the same time, the department warned that the mutant Covid-19 Omicron strain is spreading rapidly in South Korea, or will replace another variant Delta as the main epidemic strain in the next month or two. This group/Xinhua News Agency