US San Francisco cancels New Year's Eve fireworks show due to Omicron surge

A woman receives a second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, at the Belisario Porras school San Francisco neighbourhood in Panama City on March 4, 2021. (Photo: AFP)

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 29 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. city of San Francisco announced the cancellation of the city's annual New Year's Eve fireworks show as holiday gatherings and travel have expedited the spread of the COVID-19 Omicron variant.

The event could draw tens of thousands to the waterfront, creating a hotbed for viral infections, public health officials said Tuesday, adding that another big worry is a shortage of staff to handle large events.

New Year's Eve already presents challenges for San Francisco's police and fire departments, given the number of parties and revelers, according to a report by San Francisco Chronicle.

As of Tuesday, 84 percent of eligible San Francisco residents are vaccinated and 55 percent have received a booster shot, officials said in a news release.