New Years Eve: Muted celebrations for London and New York, however Australia and New Zealand welcome 2021 | UK information
The New Years Eve celebrations were dampened by coronavirus restrictions in London and New York, while countries like Australia and New Zealand were greeted with impressive fireworks in 2021.
Big Ben rang in eerily subdued London with its chimes in 2021, usually full of people waiting to see dazzling fireworks.
Bars and pubs that had sung Auld Lang Syne for the past few years sat empty and quiet across the country.
In Edinburgh, where Hogmanay is one of the most anticipated festivals of the year, only small groups of people were seen walking on streets that were usually full of night owls.
There was also crackdown on mass gatherings in New York where police officers were used in Times Square to turn away partiers over concerns about the spread of COVID-19.
The ball fell in Times Square as usual, but police fenced the area as a synonym for New Year’s Eve to prevent crowds of all sizes from gathering.
Meanwhile, other parts of the world celebrated in their almost usual style.
Australia was among the first nations to ring with television fireworks in 2021, which did not disappoint compared to previous years.
The exhibition was shortened to seven minutes and took place over the Harbor Bridge, which was only followed live by the residents of the region and their guests.
The celebrated annual event usually draws a million people, but this year Australian officials have banned people from gathering near the bridge to watch due to coronavirus restrictions.
In Auckland, New Zealand, residents were treated to five-minute fireworks and a light show as the clock struck midnight.
Due to the low number of new coronavirus cases in the city, crowds were allowed to gather in the city for the occasion.
North Korea started 2021 with crowds in the main square of the capital, Pyongyang, with a concert and fireworks show under COVID-19 restrictions.
State television showed participants wearing face masks but standing close together, waving glowing lights and balloons.
In South Korea, for the first time since the first event in 1953, months after the end of the Korean War, the Seoul municipal government canceled its annual New Year’s Eve bell ceremony in the Jongno district.
A pandemic success story, Taiwan held its usual fireworks display at its capital’s iconic tower, Taipei 101.
At the annual New Year’s morning flag-raising in front of the President’s office building, attendance was limited to government officials and invited guests.
Thailand ushered in the New Year with fireworks at the Iconsiam Mall in Bangkok.
The country on Wednesday put a ban on large gatherings and events across the country in an effort to contain the worst coronavirus epidemic yet.
Hong Kong officials have canceled the pyrotechnics over Victoria Harbor as well as the iconic annual Lunar New Year Parade in February.
Beijing held a countdown ceremony with only a few invited guests while other scheduled events were canceled.
In Wuhan, where the pandemic is believed to have originated, thousands gathered at several popular downtown attractions for the countdown to 2021.
Some said they were careful but not particularly concerned.
Japan ushered in the New Year without its annual event where Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members greet the public.
Not only were night trains canceled in Tokyo on New Years Eve, but some of the city’s major countdown parties, concerts, and other seasonal gatherings were canceled, including the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing party.
In Ireland, it was not the first time that the bells of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin rang in vivid memory and possibly for centuries the New Year.
With the entire country under the strictest COVID-19 restrictions, all New Years Eve events online have been postponed.
South African citizens were also asked to cancel parties. Instead, many lit candles to honor health workers and people who died in the COVID-19 pandemic.
In many European countries, authorities warned they were preparing to crack down on night owls who violated coronavirus measures, including night curfews in France, Italy, Turkey, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Greece.
As the clock struck midnight, fireworks erupted over Red Square in Moscow and the Acropolis in Athens, but the explosions echoed down largely empty streets as people obeyed instructions to stay home.
“After 10 p.m. no one will be on the street (Athens) will be a dead city to make sure that no restrictions are imposed,” said Greek Minister of Public Order Michalis Chrisohoidis.
France mobilized 100,000 police officers and gendarmes to break up New Year’s Eve parties and enforce a curfew from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Half of Paris’ metro lines were also closed in the evenings to prevent gatherings.
In Germany, the sale and use of fireworks in public places was banned until December 31st in order to discourage large crowds.
Celebrated festivals were also celebrated in South America as the continent battled the coronavirus.
In Brazil, home of the world’s second deadliest outbreak after the United States, the beaches and bars, usually filled with New York night owls, were much quieter than usual.
Rio officials decided to cordon off Copacabana Beach, where millions of people in white gather to watch fireworks and attend major concerts for everyone but residents.