Pandemic dampens New Year celebrations around the world

Pandemic dampens New Year celebrations around the world
What a difference a year makes: Sydney harbour on 31 December 2019 and 31 December 2020. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Restrictions are being placed on New Year festivities across the world as many countries struggle to curb new spikes in coronavirus cases.

Public gatherings and fireworks displays have been cancelled from Sydney to New York.

Festivities are being particularly muted in Europe, amid fears over a new more contagious strain of the disease.

France has mobilised 100,000 extra police to break up New Year’s Eve gatherings and enforce a night-time curfew.

More than 1.8m people have died with the virus around the world since the start of the Covid pandemic a year ago. More than 81m infections have been reported.

One of the first countries to celebrate in the New Year is Australia. The Sydney fireworks display is going ahead, but this year, crowds will not be allowed to gather on the city’s harbour to enjoy it.

New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “We don’t want to create any super-spreading events on New Year’s Eve.”

Most Sydney residents will simply watch the pyrotechnics on television at home, where gatherings are limited to five guests.

In China, the annual New Year light show in Beijing has been called off. New Year Celebrations are being scaled down in cities across the country.

Japan has cancelled a traditional New Year event at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members were to greet people.

Authorities in Indian capital Delhi and several other cities have imposed a night curfew and other restrictions to prevent large New Year gatherings.

However in New Zealand New Year’s Eve plans will be held as usual. The country implemented a strict lockdown and border closures have all but eliminated Covid.

The government of France has ordered a visible security presence in urban areas from 20:00 on Thursday, when the curfew begins. In the capital Paris half of the metro lines will be closed in the evening.

You may read: France mobilises 100,000 police to stop New Year’s Eve parties