The week began with the cancellation of another wave of international flights for reasons related to the Covid-19 pandemic and the progress of the Omicron variable, causing air chaos that disrupted the holiday period for thousands of people. In some places, bad weather also played a role.
More than 2.5 thousand flights were canceled on Monday (27/12), according to a survey by FlightAware. The largest number of cancellations includes flights to and from the United States and China.
In Brazil, the site identified 116 delays and 2 cancellations on Sunday (26), and 29 delays and 1 cancellation until early Monday afternoon.
According to the airlines, the cancellations are due to the need to isolate crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who need to be quarantined because they have come into contact with infected passengers.
And there are cases such as Hong Kong, which decided to veto all Korean Airlines flights, from South Korea, for a period of two weeks, after discovering positive cases of the Covid-19 virus among passengers.
In all, more than 8,300 flights failed over the Christmas weekend, which began on Friday. Tens of thousands are late.
While the number of cancellations represents a small percentage of the total period of peak travel, it is a higher number than it was, before Covid-19 – and at a time when many people were eager to check back with family and friends.
The number of cases of COVID-19 has increased due to the omicron variant, which, according to preliminary analyzes, appears to be more contagious, although its symptoms appear (also according to preliminary analyzes) to be milder, especially in people with a complete vaccine regimen or with doses of reinforcement. All this, however, will need to be confirmed or refuted by further studies.
According to a FlightAware survey, the majority of cancellations on Monday were from Chinese airlines — China Eastern alone canceled more than 420 flights and Air China, more than 190.
Among the airports worst affected are Beijing and Shanghai – where more than 300 people were canceled together.
The Chinese authorities have not commented on the issue, but the country has recorded the highest number of daily COVID-19 infections in 21 months. In the city of Xi’an, more than 13 million residents have been placed in quarantine as of Sunday to stem the rise in cases.
In the United States, the airlines most affected are JetBlue and United, and Seattle-Tacoma Airport is one of the worst affected.
Last week, United warned that the increase in omicron variant cases was already having a “direct impact on our staff and the people who run our operations” as many employees are forced into isolation after coming into contact with infected people.
A passenger who was stranded at Detroit airport told Reuters she was surrounded by other angry, frustrated and tired passengers.
In addition, weather problems hindered US air and land traffic. For example, severe snowstorms have delayed flights and impeded movement on Washington state highways.
At least three cruise ships were forced to return to their home ports after discovering cases of Covid-19 virus on board.
The omicron is already the predominant alternative in the United States.
Anthony Fauci, the physician who heads the US COVID-19 task force, warned that the number of cases of the disease is increasing and “tends to grow much more”, which could “confuse hospitals, particularly in areas with a higher proportion of unvaccinated people.” “.
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