Vatican City, 25 December 2021 (AFP) – Pope Francis called this Saturday (25) for dialogue to combat the withdrawal trend caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which is celebrating Christmas for billions of people for the second year in a row. is a symbol.
In his traditional ‘Urbi et Orbi’ blessing on Christmas Day, Saint Peter reminded believers gathered in Square that “in this time of pandemic (…) close, to do everything alone, to find others and to put things together.” To stop trying to get along.”
“There is also the risk of not communicating internationally, the risk that the complexity of the crisis will lead us to choose shortcuts rather than slow routes of communication,” he said.
On Friday night, the 85-year-old pope celebrated the traditional Rooster Mass and urged Christians to “rediscover the little things in life.”
– “The important thing is to stay safe” – In the Philippines, in addition to Covid, loyalists were dealing with the consequences of a storm that hit the Southeast Asian archipelago last week that killed at least 375 people, in addition to thousands. of homeless.
In a church flooded with a large hole in the ceiling and floor and benches, Father Ricardo Vertudazo celebrated Christmas Mass for those who only wanted a roof, food and a little peace of mind at Christmas.
“The important thing is that we are all safe,” 31-year-old Joy Pereira said during Mass with her husband at the church of San Isidro Labrador in the municipality of Alegria in northern Mindanao island.
In addition to natural disasters, the rise in COVID-19 cases has complicated Christmas planning from Sydney to Seville.
The new version of the coronavirus has caused travel disruption: The website Flightaware.com reported that more than 5,700 flights were canceled across the planet, mostly in the United States.
– Increase in cases and restrictions – Although it was a bit calmer than in 2020, Christmas was affected by a rise in infections and the resumption of restrictions in many countries.
China on Saturday reported 140 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest number in four months, most in the city of Xi’an, Shaanxi (northwest) province, where 13 million people have been confined since Thursday.
France reported a record number of Covid-19 cases for the third day in a row, crossing the 100,000 new infections daily barrier for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Britain also broke another record on Friday with 122,000 new cases, and Portugal said on Saturday that Omicron had become the major strain of the coronavirus in the country.
The situation forced the multiplication of restrictions and the imposition of new measures: the Netherlands is in confinement, while Spain and Greece have prescribed the mandatory use of masks in open spaces.
Other countries base their strategies to fight the virus on vaccines: Ecuador announced compulsory vaccination for the population from the age of 5, while India this Saturday with young people over the age of 15 from January 3 Along with announced vaccination of health workers and people. Above 60 years of age.
– Santa Claus in Rio – The pandemic has killed 5.38 million people worldwide since the end of 2019, according to an AFP balance based on official figures. The World Health Organization (WHO) believes the actual number could be two or three times higher.
The border closure, however, has not affected Santa’s trips around the world, which have been monitored by the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) for 63 years. whole night”.
In Rio de Janeiro, ‘Bom Velinho’ retired from his sleigh and arrived by helicopter to deliver baskets of food to the residents of Penha Favela.