London party

COVID-19: UK cancels New Year’s party in London following skyrocketing Omicron

A Christmas market in Trafalgar Square in London on December 11, 2021.
Image Credit: New York Times

London: A big New Years celebration in London will be canceled, the mayor of the British capital said on Monday, as concerns grow over an upsurge in cases of the virus triggered by the Omicron variant.

Sadiq Khan said infections were at record levels in the city and he should do everything possible to slow the spread of the new variant.

“This means that we will no longer be having a celebration event for 6,500 people in Trafalgar Square this New Years Eve,” he said.

“It will be very disappointing for many Londoners, but we have to take the right steps to reduce the spread of the virus.”

City officials said there would be a “spectacular live broadcast” on the BBC instead that would celebrate the city.

Paris has already announced that its annual fireworks display and other events will be canceled and that Germany is expected to follow suit, with plans on the table to close nightclubs and limit the size of private parties.

Daily case rates have broken records several times over the past week as the country – one of the most affected in Europe by the virus, with more than 147,000 deaths during the pandemic – struggles to contain Omicron.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson defied pressure to tighten Christmas restrictions on Monday, pledging to keep the situation “under constant control”.