From barricaded playgrounds to crowded beaches: Life with omicron around the world

In Japan, masks are not mandated but most people are wearing them. Schools and playgrounds are closed in Hong Kong. Israel has gone through a so-called quiet lockdown, with many in the country forced into quarantine.

As the omicron variant continues to upend life around the world, governments are adopting varied strategies, and people are finding different ways to cope. Washington Post reporters submitted dispatches from around the world to show what the latest wave looks like in the regions they cover.

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“You’re seeing far fewer masks on the streets than during the delta surge.”

The Washington Post

“They’re all masked. Masking is very widespread, very common.”

Michelle Ye Hee Lee

“In Rio de Janeiro there’s no doubt about it, the omicron has definitely arrived here. Cases are rising dramatically. Hospitals are receiving many more patients with coronavirus.”

The Washington Post

“Hong Kong is getting increasingly isolated, too, with very, very stringent quarantines. Fewer flights can come in. We’ve been seeing that translated into some supply chain issues.”

*The Washington Post does not have comprehensive data on coronavirus cases in Hong Kong.

Shibani Mahtani

“At-home testing has for many people become part of everyday life during the pandemic in the U.K.”

The Washington Post

“We’ve just finished seven days of quarantine, like hundreds of thousands of Israeli families. And this is all despite the fact that the fourth vaccine was rolled out last month.”

Shira Rubin

“When you look around on the streets of Paris, a lot of it is still quite normal. A lot of bars, a lot of restaurants are still opened or crowded. And major protests are still happening.”

The Washington Post

“Here in India, we’ve had just shy of 300,000 covid cases a day. It is bad, but not as bad as the spring delta wave from 2021.”

Gerry Shih

“South Africa is where omicron was first reported, but it’s also where people have moved on perhaps the most in the world.”

The Washington Post

“The city has a very high vaccination rate, so I think that gives people a little bit more leeway to feel comfortable.”

Ruby Mellen


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About this story

Editing by Reem Akkad. Video editing by Alexa Juliana Ard and Jason Aldag. Design and development by Garland Potts. Copy editing by Shannon Croom.