WHO: ‘Don’t Celebrate Christmas As Omicron Strikes’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
(Worthy News) – The World Health Organization (WHO) has effectively urged Christians planning to celebrate Christmas and other religious groups to cancel their holiday plans citing rising Omicron infections.
Omicron, the new word on the increasingly lengthy list of coronavirus variants, is spreading like wildfire worldwide, suggested WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“An event canceled is better than a life canceled,” he said, adding that “difficult decisions” must be made. “In some cases, that will mean canceling or delaying events.”
His comments came as health experts concluded that Omicron is now the dominant variant in the U.S. but rushed to calm fears that the elderly President Joe Biden had been infected.
President Biden, 79, tested negative for COVID-19 after being in close contact three days earlier with an aide who later tested positive for the virus, the White House said.
The president was near the “mid-level staff member” for about 30 minutes on Friday during an Air Force One flight from South Carolina to Pennsylvania, officials said.
Before boarding the plane, the staffer, who is fully vaccinated and boosted, tested negative for COVID-19, officials said. That changed by Sunday when the aide developed COVID-19 symptoms and was subsequently tested Monday, according to the White House.
Biden will get tested again on Wednesday and carry on with his regular daily schedule, the White House stressed. Others aboard the Friday Air Force One flight were contacted and advised to get tested.
The health scare came as several countries – including France and Germany – tightened COVID restrictions and imposed travel curbs to halt the spread of the new variant.
The Netherlands introduced one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns over the Christmas period amid mounting criticism the government did not prepare enough intensive care beds.
Those supporting vaccines also complained there were not enough “booster shots” available in the country.
Dutch critics, including several legislators, say vaccines have done little to prevent infections for what in most cases are flu-like symptoms, though some get seriously ill.
Overseas, the United States closely followed events in Europe and other regions.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the State Department advised Americans against travel to eight places, including Spain, Finland, as well as Chad, and Lebanon.
However, despite pressure from the WHO to cancel holiday celebrations such as Christmas, the White House said President Joe Biden was not planning on “locking the country down.”
The country’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, earlier warned that Christmas travel would increase the spread of Omicron even among the fully vaccinated.
It comes amid concerns among Christians in the U.S. and elsewhere that it will become difficult for believers to have faith-based meetings, even in previously more free nations.
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