Health Care

Pope cancels New Year’s Eve Nativity visit to discourage large crowds

Pope Francis canceled the New Year’s tradition of visiting the life-sized nativity scene in St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, in an effort to discourage crowds from forming in the papal city due to surging coronavirus cases.

The pope, who has been a vocal advocate for the use of vaccines, will instead hold his traditional vespers service at the St. Peter’s Basilica on New Year’s Eve and a small, private mass on New Year’s Day, The Associated Press reported.

Italy is combating a historic surge of coronavirus cases, with its highest total yet reported on the week ending Dec. 20, according to the World Health Organization.

The news follows mass cancellations of events elsewhere in the world, including firework displays in Paris and the peach drop in Georgia.

However, the scaled-back New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square will continue as planned, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) said Thursday. 

“We’ve got to send a message to the world. New York City is open,” he said, according to NBC 4 New York.

The surge of the omicron variant, first discovered in South Africa, has stymied holiday plans and resulted in the cancelation of thousands of flights during the holiday season. 

JetBlue said Thursday that the company was canceling more than 1,200 flights until mid-January amid a spike in coronavirus cases that have prompted staffing shortages.  

Tags Bill de Blasio Pope Francis Vatican City

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Regular the hill posts

main area bottom custom html

MAIN Area bottom

Main area bottom