A potentially more contagious new strain of coronavirus is threatening to completely ruin Christmas, one of the most sacred festivals for billions of Christians around the globe.
People from different parts of the world have shared their stories about how they are going to celebrate the winter holidays amid the swirling pandemic.
A new strain of SARS-CoV-2 discovered this month in the UK has sent stocks tumbling and prompted the suspension of flights from Britain to countries throughout the world, including Spain, Italy, Canada, India and Hong Kong.
The news came as millions of people worldwide are preparing to celebrate Christmas together with their family and friends.
While the governments are calling upon people to observe quarantine measures, and with Britain backtracking on relaxing rules on holidays, no rational argument can prevent people from feeling sad and frustrated, given that the pandemic has been raging on for almost year, isolating communities and weakening family connections.
Parts of England Under Strict Lockdown, Again
The restrictions imposed yesterday affected two of our daughters who are now unable to travel out of their areas. This means that we cannot have them with us as planned over Christmas.
Therefore, we shall be at home by ourselves. Very upsetting and disappointing,” says Margaret, who lives in England, adding that her biggest regret by far is not being able to see her children and grandchildren.
Her town is in Tier 2 so they can go out, shop, and eat out, but not meet anyone besides the people in their bubble indoors, she explains.
Having introduced the tier system to curb the second wave of the pandemic, the Johnson government imposed a lockdown on over 16 million people in England, warning that the UK is dealing with a new COVID strain which is up to 70% more transmissible than the original one.
“I agree with mask wearing in shops and frequent hand washing,” Margaret says.
“It is hard to agree with some of the restrictions which appear to contradict each other e.g. fine to attend church or other religious services but not to meet your family.”
She recalls that usually they would cook a Christmas dinner for at least one of their daughters and her family and see the others for a meal during the holiday period.
Despite obvious disappointment, she expresses her gratitude for her family being healthy, adding that she hopes that the COVID vaccine rollout will get life back to near normal by Easter or, at least, by summer.
© REUTERS / KEVIN COOMBSPeople enjoy the Christmas decorations outside The Ivy Chelsea Garden as the British government imposes a stricter tiered set of restrictions amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in London, Britain.
A Quiet Christmas Party in Toronto
On the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, in Toronto, Alessandro Bruno, a writer and editor at “Geopolitical Monitor” is preparing to celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve quietly, in a narrow circle of family. “Frankly that’s how I like it,” he says. “I’ve never been a fan of New Year’s Eve.”
Over half of Canadians have decided to celebrate Christmas with their immediate family members, according to GlobeNewswire.
Bruno is an Italian living in Canada and he loves travelling. His favourite destination is the Amalfi Coast, a beautiful stretch of coastline in the south of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula, in the Campania region.
Unfortunately, this year Bruno had no chance to go there due to COVID restrictions.
He has also lost his main source of employment and income. “It’s been a horrible year,” he says.
In Nigeria, government came out with new restrictions and rules, which may affect Christmas celebrations:
Following an unprecedented spike in new COVID-19 cases across the country, the Nigerian government had announced that the country has entered the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
As part of measures to limit the spread of the virus, all states have been advised to immediately close all bars, nightclubs, and restaurants across the country.
The number of guests at weddings, conferences, among others have also been limited to 50 persons.
“Close All bars, night clubs, pubs and event centres, and recreational venues;
“Close all restaurants except those providing services to hotel residents; takeaways, home deliveries and drive-ins shall remain closed,” Mr Mustapha said at the briefing.
Even before the federal government’s advisory, many states like Lagos and Kaduna had already introduced new rounds of restrictions to check the spread of the virus.(Sputnik/CR)