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A festive shot in the arm

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5 mins read

It wouldn’t be Christmas without a last-minute dash to the shops to panic-buy a gift you forgot for someone you supposedly love.

This holiday season is almost a replica of last year, except the shopping malls opened.

Nevertheless, a worrying coronavirus backdrop has invaded our lives and touched everything we do.

The government has dampened the festive spirit by introducing a raft of restrictions that are more likely to confuse than protect.

Authorities want everyone to get fully jabbed or boostered-up to build a waning immunity wall that the Omicron variant has climbed over to run amok.

Although the government would like to introduce compulsory vaccination for anyone over five, it wants to offer people a choice.

It wants to half-heartedly ban the unvaccinated and make life hard for those who should get a booster jab.

This is why it has centres especially catering to children and walk-in sessions for students to get a top-up.

A similar scenario is played out for the working class.

The government would prefer if most Cypriots could work remotely to limit personal contact, but instead of making you do it, there is a decree obliging the unvaccinated to test weekly.

New rules include testing for all public and private sector employees unless you have received a booster shot.

Schools will reopen later than planned, with students taking regular COVID tests.

Banning the unvaccinated, encouraging booster shots, jabbing children and limiting social gatherings are all measures to avoid another national lockdown.

But the numbers don’t lie.

Daily COVID-19 cases are steadily rising, fueled by the more easily transmissible Omicron variant that will most probably record four-digit figures again over the holiday season.

For the first time in months, the test positivity rate has breached the 1% safety benchmark as we enter a period of heightened social contact with families enjoying Christmas together.

The limit on house gatherings is 20, but that sounds like too many people unless it’s a Christmas dinner garden party.

With daily cases are already blowing up, think what a spreader event like Christmas will have on infection rates as we go into the New Year.

Celebrating 2022 is going to be less fun than queuing up outside a jab centre for someone to stab you in the arm with a needle.

And how many times do we need to get vaccinated before coronavirus is defeated at the altar of science?

According to a UK study, people with Omicron are significantly less likely to develop severe symptoms, but the effects of the booster vaccine wane after 10 weeks.

It showed that 10 weeks after the booster, the effect in preventing symptomatic disease dropped by 15 to 25%.

Not exactly a comforting thought, but it should keep the anti-vaxxers angry for a few more months.

So it seems that we will have to do this dance again next Easter.

Party games

Maybe a good party game you can play this Christmas is guess how many booster shots it will take to arrive at the next Yuletide dinner table.

Although Omicron is milder, scientists have warned it can cause large numbers of cases, leading to a surge in hospital admissions.

Cyprus’ health service is feeling strain once more as admissions rise.

And while the burden grows heavier on public health, it is only a matter of time before the government orders a national lockdown.

Doing so before the festivities would have sparked a revolution.

There is no better time to deliver bad news than after the people have overspent, overeaten, overindulged and suffering an almighty hangover.

Told to stay at home after the Christmas excess and exposure to toxic relatives will sound like an invitation to Barbados.

And while lounging at home on your makeshift sunbed, what better way to chill than consider all the deadweights who want to become president.

The election is 14 months away, but the electioneering has begun with the sellers of candy-coated futures promised for your vote.

They will promise to make Cyprus a better place than the incumbent; they will kick corruption into touch, make the courts run on time and ensure your digital dreams come true.

Yes, I’d like nothing more than to vote for a rich, entitled, middle-aged white guy.

That’s my gift to you this Christmas – don’t worry, it is recyclable and non-disposable.