New Virus Variant Emerges In Africa, Stokes Worldwide Fears

How is the Omicron wave impacting

UK cities?

As with other waves, it appears the public have started to take action ahead of any potential tougher government restrictions.

Data from the retail intelligence firm Springboard on Wednesday showed a 17.3% drop in footfall in central

London compared with the same day last week, and regional cities have recorded a 3.4% drop. My colleague Alexandra Topping has this report:

The busy streets of central London are normally no place for the faint-hearted in the run-up to Christmas. Shoppers jostle with increasing urgency to secure last-minute gifts while revellers spill out from bars and restaurants to celebrate their final days in the office.

But this is far from a normal Christmas. Shoppers and tourists have stayed away from the capital in large numbers, data – and haunting pictures – reveal.

Images of near-empty streets in citiessuch as

Manchester and

Edinburgh tell a tale of shoppers and tourists alike staying away from city centres over fears about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and a mass return to working from home. Andrew Lloyd Webber has closed Cinderella until next year, and productions of Hamilton and The Lion King have been pulled.

Elizabeth Stokoe, professor of social interaction at Loughborough University, told me this has characterised UK prime minister

Boris Johnson’s approach throughout the pandemic, with polling showing the public generally ahead of the government over restrictions. Johnson has in the past imposed restrictions only after, she said, it became clear the public supported them.

“If the public are the motorway traffic, going in one direction, Johnson just joins from the side – but he’s not directing the traffic,” Stokoe said.

Read The Guardian’s full report here.

Source : https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2021/dec/22/covid-news-live-europe-facing-another-storm-due-to-omicron-who-warns-israel-announces-fourth-jab-for-over-60s?filterKeyEvents=false&page=with:block-61c3ae008f08d3319b5d9847

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