The World Health Organization has called for some holiday gatherings to be canceled as the omicron Covid-19 variant spreads rapidly around the world.
The highly infections variant has now been detected in at least 89 countries and forced some governments to impose stricter containment measures over the festive period.
The WHO has said cases are doubling every 1.5 to 3 days in areas with community transmission. Omicron is now the dominant variant in the United States, accounting for 73% of all infections.
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said both policymakers and the public would have to make “difficult decisions” in order to return to normal.
“All of us are sick of this pandemic. All of us want to spend time with friends and family. All of us want to get back to normal. The fastest way to do this is for all of us, leaders and individuals, to make the difficult decisions that must be made to protect ourselves and others,” he said.
“An event canceled is better than a life canceled. It is better to cancel now and celebrate later than to celebrate now and grieve later.”