In the shadow of Covid, the world meets a subdued New Year’s Eve

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With a few exceptions, lockdowns and curfews limit festivities, after a year most would rather overlook

In Sydney, above the Opera House, fireworks shot into the sky, but the harbor below was dark.

Times Square was largely abandoned in New York. There was no light display in Beijing shining from the top of the TV tower.

Celebrations around the world were curtailed by lockdowns and curfews to contain the Covid-19 outbreak. The lions were barricaded in Trafalgar Square in London, and there were no crowds in St. Peter’s Square, and no one jumped into Rome’s Tiber River.

This New Year’s Eve will be celebrated like no other, as many people say goodbye to a year they’d prefer to forget, a year that since January has killed more than 1.7 million people and infected 82 million with coronavirus.

Sydney, whose pyrotechnic spectacle has in the past attracted audiences of a million to the waterfront of the city, rang in 2021 with an abbreviated spectacle in which the most famous viewing areas were fenced off and tourists were deterred by a strong police presence.

Only those with restaurant reservations or who were one of a downtown resident’s five guests were permitted in. Gladys Berejiklian, premier of the state of New South Wales, said, “What a hell of a year this has been,” “Hopefully 2021 will be easier for all of us.”
Thousands gathered in famous downtown spots in the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic started a year ago, to begin the countdown to 2021.

They were wary but not especially concerned, some said.

New Year’s Eve plans were still business as normal in New Zealand, which, after a strict seven-week lockout, removed the coronavirus.

In Germany, however, Angela Merkel said in her 16th and final New Year’s address as chancellor that she had never thought the old year was so challenging when the selling of fireworks was forbidden to deter crowds and authorities in Berlin said police would “consistently punish violators,”

And never before have we looked forward with such optimism to the new one, despite all the worries and some cynicism,”And never before have we, despite all the worries and some skepticism, looked forward to the new one with such hope,”

She condemned demonstrators of anti-confinement and conspiracy theories of vaccinations. “I can only imagine how bitter it must feel for those who are mourning loved ones they have lost to Corona, or who are struggling with the consequences of the disease, to have the virus denied and denied by some hopeless individuals,” Merkel said.

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“quietest New Year’s Eve”quietest New Year’s Eve.

No more than six adults in France are permitted to assemble around the dinner table. At any public celebration, 100,000 police and gendarmes crack down.

In certain regions, the selling of alcohol has been prohibited, and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin ordered a strictly enforced national curfew from 8 p.m. Towards 6 a.m. As part of a “fight against unauthorized public gatherings and the phenomenon of urban violence.”

In the UK, which recorded 964 deaths linked to a new Covid variant on Thursday, individuals preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve were advised to delay parties until later in 2021 because “Covid loves a crowd.”

“Prof. Stephen Powis, the national medical director of NHS England, said remaining at home and seeing “under the rules” in 2021 would minimize infections and ease hospital pressure. It’s absolutely vital that by staying at home and not mixing, everyone continues to follow the guidelines this year,”It’s absolutely vital that this year, everyone continues to follow the guidance by staying at home and not mixing,”

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Boris Johnson, the prime minister, also urged people to follow the laws and “spend the New Year safely at home.”

In public places like London’s Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square, barricades were built.

In Italy, with 19 deaths, bars, restaurants and most shops, the European country with the most Covid remained closed, and 10 a.m. Up to 7 p.m. A New Year’s Eve curfew was enforced. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis cancelled planned New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day services because he was ill with sciatica.

In his New Year’s address Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped Russians would stay together in the face of the country’s battle against the virus.

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