Rio Carnival parades cancelled because of COVID-19: Live | News

US, UK and France among countries reporting record infections as Omicron sweeps world.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live blog on the coronavirus pandemic as the Omicron variant continues to sweep the world. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

A quick summary of some of the latest developments:

  • The United States has set a new global record for daily cases, reporting 1,082,549 new cases on Monday after the holiday weekend.
  • The United Kingdom, France and other European nations are also reporting record caseloads.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said there is growing evidence that Omicron, while more transmissible, causes milder symptoms.

Here are the latest updates:

Macron vows to ‘hassle’ unvaccinated

French President Emmanuel Macron has warned people in France who have yet to be vaccinated against COVID-19 that their access to key aspects of life will be limited.

“I really want to hassle them,” Macron told the Le Parisien newspaper in an interview. “And we will continue to do this, to the end. This is the strategy.”

He added this would mean “limiting as much as possible their access to activities in social life”.

The French government is trying to push through legislation that would make vaccination compulsory to enjoy cultural activities, take inter-city trains or visit cafes and restaurants from January 15.

Rio cancels Carnival parades for second year in a row

Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro has cancelled street parades and parties at its annual Carnival for the second year in a row.

The city’s mayor says that’s because of an increase in COVID-19 cases and the threat from the arrival of the Omicron variant.

Hundreds of thousands of people usually attend such events every year.

“The street carnival, by its very nature, due to the democratic aspect it has, makes it impossible to exercise any kind of inspection,” Eduardo Paes said in a live internet broadcast.

The display by Rio’s samba schools will go ahead with strict health protocols for those watching from the stands.

For coronavirus’ news from January 4, please click here.

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