London's New Year's Eve celebration in Trafalgar Square cancelled due to Covid surge

People watch the lighting up ceremony for the Christmas Tree in Trafalgar Square, London earlier in December. Credit: PA

London's New Year's Eve celebrations in Trafalgar Square have been cancelled due to a surge in Covid cases, fuelled by the Omicron variant.

Mayor Sadiq Khan announced on Monday night the event (organised to replace the cancelled fireworks which usually attract thousands of visitors to the banks of the Thames) would no longer take place.

Ticket holders had expected a night of live music, food stalls and a big screen in Trafalgar Square.

It comes as the UK reported more than 90,000 confirmed daily Covid cases for the third time in just seven days.

Commuters in a London underground tube station wearing face coverings

Announcing the cancellation of the celebration, Mr Khan said: "With infections of Covid-19 at record levels across our city and the UK, I’m determined to work closely with partners in our city to do everything we possibly can to slow the spread of the new variant and ensure our NHS services are not overwhelmed this winter.

"This means that we will no longer be hosting a celebration event for 6,500 people on Trafalgar Square this New Year’s Eve. This will be very disappointing for many Londoners, but we must take the right steps to reduce the spread of the virus".

Earlier on Monday the prime minister said no further Covid restrictions would be imposed for now in England, but Boris Johnson warned the introduction of further rules is still on the table.

London has seen cases of Covid soar in recent days.

A major incident was declared in the capital over the weekend as Mr Khan warned the new Covid variant's "rapid spread" was "hugely concerning".

The mayor said has was “incredibly worried” about staff absences in vital public services including the NHS, fire service and police.

The declaration of a major incident in London allows authorities to work together and support each other to reduce service disruption and allow more time to give out booster jabs.

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