The world rings in 2022 under the shadow of COVID: news live | Coronavirus pandemic News
The year 2022 has arrived in some countries, the inhabitants of the South Pacific islands, Samoa and Kiribati, the first to start the new year at 10:00 GMT, and New Zealand an hour later.
In Australia, Sydney kicked off 2022 with six tons of colorful fireworks against the towering backdrop of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
It will take 26 hours, until 12:00 GMT on Saturday, for the whole world to ring in the New Year.
Many big parties and fireworks have been canceled or reduced due to an increase in coronavirus infections around the world.
Here are the latest updates:
Berlin mayor plans to ban fireworks in parts of the city
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said banning fireworks in parts of the city, a policy introduced in 2020 due to the pandemic, could help protect emergency forces.
“We also need to talk about pacifying certain areas of the city beyond the coronavirus pandemic by not allowing fireworks there,” she said.
German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach has advised Germans to spend the New Years period “very carefully” and only celebrate in very small groups. Large-scale New Year’s celebrations have been called off.
Fireworks light up Bangkok, Thailand
A spectacular fireworks display lit up the Bangkok night sky as 2021 drew to a close in Thailand.
This year, authorities in the Southeast Asian nation have allowed New Years parties and fireworks, albeit with strict coronavirus restrictions in place.
New Year’s prayers, which are usually held in Buddhist temples in Thailand, were held online.
Large crowds gather in Tokyo
Tokyo has canceled its official New Years countdown at the famous Shibuya crossroads, but thousands of people still came out to celebrate despite calls from authorities to avoid large gatherings.
Shibuya Passage is often crowded with large numbers of people and is a popular tourist attraction.
Hoping to prevent people from congregating around the busy landmark, the city had asked people to refrain from visiting the area and turned off all billboards at 11 p.m. But that wasn’t enough to keep the crowds away.
Reduced celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
In Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian celebrations on Copacabana Beach will take place in a reduced format – although crowds of revelers are still expected at the traditional party venue.
“People only want one thing, to get out of their homes, to celebrate life,” Francisco Rodrigues, Copacabana beach waiter, 45, told AFP.
Swimmers dive into cold Lake Baikal in Russia
The freezing temperatures haven’t stopped dozens of Russian swimmers from diving in the waters of Lake Baikal on New Year’s Eve every year.
This year it was warmer in the water – around 2.5 degrees Celsius, 36 degrees Fahrenheit – than on dry land where the temperature was minus 15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit).
“It’s great,” said first-time ice swimmer Olga Sundareva. “I had dreamed of coming here for a long time and I found this club this year.
Partygoers return to Times Square in New York
New York City is preparing to relaunch its annual New Years celebration in Times Square, even as public health officials have warned of the unbridled celebrations.
The city said it would limit the number of people it would let into Times Square to witness a 6-ton bullet, encrusted with nearly 2,700 Waterford crystals, descend above a crowd of around 15,000 in-person spectators – far fewer than the tens of thousands of revelers who typically descend on the world-famous plaza during the country’s flagship New Year’s Eve event.
“We are very happy to welcome visitors back to Times Square this New Years Eve,” said Tom Harris, President of the Times Square Alliance. “Our goal is to have a safe and responsible event for the world to see.”
India welcomes New Years with restrictions
In India, fearing a repeat of a devastating wave of the virus that engulfed the country in April and May, cities and states have imposed restrictions on gatherings. Delhi has a 10 p.m. curfew in place.
Mumbai police on Friday banned people from going to public places such as city beaches and seaside boardwalks, sites normally popular for the New Year – with restrictions set to last for two weeks.
Fireworks celebrate New Year in North Korea
A light show and fireworks kicked off the New Year in North Korea, as leader Kim Jong-un celebrates 10 years in power.
The show took place against the backdrop of Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.
In neighboring South Korea, the annual New Years Eve ringing ceremony in Seoul has been canceled due to an increase in the number of omicron cases.
Serbia prepares for New Year’s concert
Tens of thousands of visitors from across Eastern Europe and beyond are expected to witness a big musical event and fireworks display in downtown Belgrade.
“We love big public celebrations. We came here from Vienna precisely because here [it feels as if] there is no COVID-19, ”a woman told The Associated Press.
Many Belgrade residents seemed to share his sentiment and expressed their joy that their city is the only capital in the Balkans to have a big party to celebrate the New Year.
“Why should I be afraid? One person asked. “We have to live our life.
End-of-year cheers for South Africans as midnight curfew is lifted
South Africans have applauded the government’s decision to lift its midnight curfew after nearly two years of COVID-19-related restrictions, a relief for businesses and citizens just ahead of New Year’s celebrations.
“[The past two years] were tough on us, if you look at our neighbors most of the guys shut down that’s how bad it was, ”said Michael Mchende, 32, manager of the Hard Rock Cafe in Cape Town.
“For this brand, we all want to have a good time, so now that we’ve been allowed to have a good time, these doors are just going to be there to be displayed. We’re not going to close anymore, we’re all in it.
Samoa celebrates New Year
Unlike last year, when public fireworks were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were allowed to be shot into the sky again on the South Pacific island of Samoa.
According to the tourism authority, the island state had brought in five pyrotechnics experts from New Zealand to set up the fireworks.
Fireworks welcome New Years Eve in Sydney
Sydney kicked off 2022 with six tons of colorful fireworks against the towering backdrop of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.
Unlike last year, tens of thousands of spectators were once again admitted this time to watch the show live, despite a surge in the number of coronaviruses in the region. However, all participants had to purchase a ticket for one of around 30 viewpoints.
Citizens without reservations or vaccinations should avoid the city center if possible, the organizers had advised.
Tonga welcomes 2022
In the Tonga archipelago, the forces of nature have not taken a break on New Year’s Eve.
Since Christmas, authorities have warned against the approach of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which last erupted in 2014, but which is active again and spits ash and gas into the air.