This year, Christmas, which starts on Thursday, does not resemble the holidays of previous years. Celebrations everywhere seem brief but rather burdened with restrictions imposed to contain the outbreak of the new Coronavirus.
On the five continents of the world, more than 1.7 million deaths were recorded due to the virus, while new epidemic foci continue to appear, reminding us that despite the arrival of the first vaccines, life will not quickly return to normal.
Australia, which was once considered a model for good health management for Covid-19, is facing a new rise in the number of infections in northern Sydney, a city whose residents were not allowed to receive more than ten people in their homes, and only five if they lived in one of the “hotbeds” of an outbreak The epidemic.
Jimmy Arslan, the owner of two coffee shops in one of the city’s hardest-hit neighborhoods, recorded a 75% decrease in the number of businesses of his establishments. The man will not be able to breathe a sigh of relief this holiday with his family, as they live in Canberra, and therefore they are not allowed to travel during the holiday to visit him.
The 46-year-old admits that “it is heartbreaking,” adding, “It is a sad end to a sad year.” “We should all welcome 2021 and kick 2020 away!” He joked.
“holidays of joy and peace”
Most of Europe is also experiencing the saddest winter seasons, amid the resurgence of the epidemic in many of its countries.
And Germany was forced to give up the opening of its famous Christmas markets, while Pope Francis is considering reviving the Midnight Mass two hours ahead of schedule, in line with the measures of the Italian authorities.
In Bethlehem, the city in which Jesus was born according to the Christian belief, the mass will not be present, which this year will not include Palestinian officials, the most prominent of which is the President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, but will be limited only to clerics and will be broadcast on television all over the world.
In the last days before the Eid, the residents reopened the Church of Saint Catherine, adjacent to the Cathedral of the Nativity, and came to it in their best ways, like Nicola Zoghbi, a resident of the city.
“In fact, Christmas is the holiday of joy and peace for all peoples, but this year the Corona pandemic is dominant, amid grief and pain due to poverty that has hardened unemployed people and fear of the epidemic,” relates the man who says he is over seventy.
And for many, this year’s Eid will go away in isolation, just like most of this year.
In the Philippines, some people choose to spend the holidays alone for fear of catching an infection on public transportation.
Birth in Dover
“I will order food, watch old movies, and make video calls with my family,” confirms Kim Patria, 31, who lives alone in Manila.
Meanwhile, thousands of European truck drivers will spend this Eid night in miserable conditions, stranded near the port of Dover in the United Kingdom, which is reluctantly emerging from isolation caused by the emergence of a new mutant of the Coronavirus on its soil.
“The whole world is telling us to come here and wait, but we do not want to wait!” Polish driver Isdrach Schwaza said angrily, while he was waiting for Wednesday at the former Manston Airport, where the British government is scheduled to subject thousands of drivers to Corona checks.
The man continues, with great dismay, “They say we will undergo a covid test,” but “nothing has happened yet … We have no information, nothing,” adding, “I have two young sons and a wife, I just want to be with them” in Poland.
This year will also be reduced to the New Year celebrations. Faced with a high number of injuries in Brazil, the municipality of Rio de Janeiro prevented entry on the night of December 31, to the famous Copacabana neighborhood to avoid gatherings.
Usually, millions of people expect to watch the fireworks that accompany the New Year celebration, but their cancellation has been announced since July.
Until now, Sydney intends to embark on the New Year with its dazzling fireworks. New South Wales State Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the seven-minute show would be staged “whatever happens”.