The low-cost British airline easyJet canceled dozens of flights on Monday because of “higher than usual levels of employee sickness” from BA. 2, the Omicron subvariant that is spreading in Europe.
The airline said that while it had added additional workers to cover some of the staffing shortages, about 60 flights had to be canceled and consolidated on Monday. The airline ordinarily operates about 1,600 flights on Mondays.
British Airways said that coronavirus illnesses had forced it to cancel a small number of its flights on Sunday. It said it would cut back the frequency of flights on some of its well-traveled routes until May as a precaution before ramping up for the summer.
“Aviation has been one of the industries worst hit by the pandemic, and airlines and airports are experiencing the same issues rebuilding their operations while managing the continuing impact of Covid,” British Airways said in a statement.
New coronavirus cases in Britain, which had dropped after hitting record highs in January, rose again in March as BA.2 took hold. Over the past week, the country has been reporting about 75,100 new cases a day on average, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
In other developments around the world:
Health authorities in Sweden recommended additional booster shots for people 65 or older, as well as any adult who has a moderately to severely compromised immune system, or who lives in a nursing home or receives nursing care at home, The Associated Press reported. Sweden has stood out from most other European countries in taking a relatively hands-off approach to the pandemic, with no national lockdown.
Russia plans to end restrictions on flights to and from 52 countries on Sunday as it relaxes pandemic precautions, Reuters reported, citing Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The list of countries is limited to those Russia considers “friendly,” meaning those that have not joined in sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. Mr. Mishustin said Russia also plans to lift restrictions on travel across its land border with China, the news agency reported.
Australia began providing additional booster shots on Monday to people in four categories who got a first booster at least four months ago: anyone over 65; Indigenous Australians over 50; residents of nursing homes; and people who are severely immunocompromised. Officials said there were no plans to offer additional boosters to anyone else.
Yan Zhuang contributed reporting.