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'Panic' in Britain as Omicron crisis bites ahead of Christmas******
People wait in the observation after receiving a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic set up at Chester Cathedral on December 16, as the UK steps up the country's booster drive to fight a "tidal wave" of Omicron.。
Soaring Omicron cases left Britons scrambling on Thursday to make alternative Christmas plans, faced with cancellations, long queues for vaccines and France shutting the border to UK visitors.。
Britain recorded a second consecutive record daily number of new COVID-19 infections at more than 88,000, but the government has so far stopped short of formal limits on socializing as it awaits further evidence of the severity and impact of the new Omicron variant.。
Last year, Christmas celebrations were drastically curtailed after the Alpha variant swept the country. Britons had hoped that this year would be different, but cases have again shot up since the Omicron strain of the virus first emerged.。
The UK government last week updated its guidance to advise people to work from home if they can, while mandating they must wear masks in some settings.。
But it has stopped short of recommending the cancellation of social gatherings such as Christmas parties, with embattled Prime Minister Boris Johnson instead recommending that people get booster vaccines, COVID-19 tests and act cautiously.。
Recent days have seen long lines outside vaccination centers in London and other towns and cities, as people heeded Johnson's call to get jabbed again.。
But at the same time, pubs, theaters and other entertainment venues have reported rising cancellations – and concerns about their viability – as the case numbers continue to climb.。
From the top down, people were changing plans. Queen Elizabeth II, 95, canceled her traditional pre-Christmas family lunch next week, despite Johnson insisting such gatherings could still go ahead.。
It was a similar tale of cancellations in pubs and restaurants.。
"We had some cancellations here," Patrick Mullighan, 64, owner of the White Hart pub in east London, told AFP.。
He said his chef had caught the virus, forcing the kitchen to close, while 25 bookings for this Sunday had dropped to 10.。
He estimated turnover could be down by around a quarter for the normally busy period in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.。
"It represents a lot of money but... as long as people are still buying drinks, that will be good. I'm always worried but what can we do? You've got to carry on."
In a bid to curb the spread of Omicron across the Channel, the French government announced it would ban non-essential travel to and from the UK from Saturday, for both unvaccinated and fully jabbed non-residents.。
The sudden announcement sparked anxiety and even panic among would-be travelers scrambling to cross the Channel in time for Christmas.。
"I have friends who are panicking," London-based Marie Geoffroy, 43, told AFP at St Pancras station as she prepared to board a Eurostar train.。
"It's anxiety-provoking, these last-minute changes, it makes you feel like you're being held hostage," she added.。
"I know lots of people who have been able to change their tickets because they can, but others can't afford it."
'Prioritize what matters'
In the run-up to the festive period, England's chief medical officer Chris Whitty urged people to "prioritize what really matters to them and then cut down on the things that don't."
"I wouldn't want to say to people they should do a particular thing," he told a panel of MPs, insisting the government and its advisers like him were united in their approach.。
"I think it really should be for people to make those choices."
Johnson has set a highly ambitious target of offering a third vaccine dose to all adults by the end of the month, requiring around a million jabs a day.。
China's Guizhou generates 13 bln kWh new energy in first 3 quarters******
GUIYANG, Oct. 22 (Xinhua) -- Southwest China's Guizhou Province generated 13 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of new energy in the first three quarters of 2021, registering an increase of 6 percent year on year, according to the provincial branch of China Southern Power Grid.
As of Sept. 30, the installed new energy power generation capacity in the province had reached 15.69 million kW, accounting for 26 percent of the total, the company said.
Guizhou boasts distinctive geographic location and favorable climatic conditions, which helps enrich new energy resources, such as wind and solar power.
Chen Tianfen, a resident of Zima Township in the province's Qinglong County, said that working in a photovoltaic power station near her home has brought her income and happiness.
In 2019, a photovoltaic power station covering an area of 133 hectares was built on the barren hills of the township. Since then, Chen has been doing odd jobs at the power station.
"Since the job is flexible, I can choose to come when I have spare time," said Chen, adding that she has earned a total of over 40,000 yuan (about 6,256 U.S. dollars) by working at the power station.
Recently, she has been busy cleaning up weeds growing on the photovoltaic panels, earning 120 yuan per day.
"The power station rents land from local villagers and provides them with job opportunities. More importantly, it plays a role in energy conservation and emission reduction," said Yu Houshan, head of the photovoltaic power station in Zima Township, adding that the station can generate about 90 million kWh electricity every year. Enditem