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New Year's Eve: Trafalgar Square event cancelled after surge of Omicron cases
20 December 2021, 20:43 | Updated: 20 December 2021, 22:00
The planned New Year's Eve celebrations in London's Trafalgar Square have been called off because of a surge in Covid cases.
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The Omicron variant has driven the uptick in infections, leading to the capital's mayor Sadiq Khan cancelling the event.
It comes after the mayor declared a major incident in London due to rising cases.
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."
He said a "live broadcast spectacular celebrating our city and highlighting the most defining moments of 2021 will still be the centrepiece of London's New Year's Eve celebrations".
The Trafalgar Square event was an alternative to the annual firework display that usually takes place to celebrate the new year.
The ticketed event promised live music and food stalls for visitors to celebrate 2022.
However, the number of Omicron Covid cases has increased rapidly across the capital in recent weeks, also leading to a 29 per cent rise in hospital admissions.
There were 65,525 new confirmed cases in the past seven days.
Mr Khan previously said "while we are still learning about this variant, it's right that London's key agencies work closely together to minimise the impact on our city".
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has confirmed that no further Covid measures are set to be introduced, following a Cabinet meeting.
He warned that data is under "constant review" and he "won't hesitate" taking further action if necessary.