Greeks ring in New Year under pall of rising cases


Greeks rang in the New Year under the pall of a new record in infections, as the new and more infectious Omicron variant of the novel coronavirus sweeps through the country.

The City of Athens held its customary televised New Year’s concert and fireworks display without public attendance and events in other parts of the country were also muted.

In her end-of-year message to the Greek people, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou said that 2022 will be a “year of optimism and revival” and stressed the importance of mass vaccination in stopping the virus’ march.

Covid vaccines, she said, “protect public health and ensure that doctors and nurses are able to provide their valuable services.”

On a similar note, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis warned of “waves” in the weeks ahead but said that Greeks “have the power to put the storm behind us and lead the country into calm waters, so that this winter of uncertainty will be succeeded by a spring of hope.”

Main opposition SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras said that 2022 should “be the year of big change” and an opportunity for Greeks to “take back their lives and dignity.”