Monday, January 25, 2021
Home World 2020 finally ending, but New Year's revelries muted by virus

2020 finally ending, but New Year’s revelries muted by virus


CANBERRA, #Australia (AP) — #This #New #Year’s #Eve is being celebrated like no other, with pandemic restrictions limiting crowds and many people bidding farewell to a year they’d prefer to forget.

#Australia was among the first nations to ring in 2021 because of its proximity to the #International #Date #Line. #It was a grim end to the year for #New #South #Wales and #Victoria, the country’s two most populous states, which are battling new COVID-19 outbreaks.

#In past years 1 million people crowded #Sydney’s harbor to watch fireworks that center on the #Sydney #Harbor #Bridge, but most watched on television as authorities urged residents to stay home.

- Advertisement -

#Locations on the harbor were fenced off, popular parks closed and famous night spots eerily deserted. A heavy police presence populated the otherwise quiet site, which resembled a ghost town. A 9 p.m. fireworks display was scrapped but a seven-minute pyrotechnics show at midnight brought momentary cheer as fireworks spectacularly lit up the iconic #Harbor #Bridge and its surroundings.

#People were only allowed in downtown #Sydney if they had a restaurant reservation or were one of five guests of an inner-city resident. #People weren’t allowed in the city center without a permit.

#Some harborside restaurants were charging up to 1,690 #Australian dollars ($1,294) for a seat, #Sydney’s The #Daily #Telegraph newspaper reported #Wednesday.

Youtube video thumbnail

#Sydney is #Australia’s most populous city and has had its most active local transmission of the coronavirus in recent weeks.

#Melbourne, #Australia’s second most populous city, canceled its fireworks this year. “For the first time in many, many years we made the big decision, difficult decision to cancel the fireworks,” #Mayor #Sally #Capp said.

“We did that because we know that it attracts up to 450,000 people into the city for one moment at midnight to enjoy a spectacular display and music. #We are not doing that this year.”

#In notable contrast, the west coast city of #Perth — which has not had community spread of the virus since #April — celebrated the new year almost normally with large crowds flocking to watch two fireworks spectacles.

- Advertisement -

#New #Zealand, which is two hours ahead of #Sydney, and several of its #South #Pacific island neighbors have no current COVID-19 cases, and #New #Year celebrations there were the same as ever.

#In #Chinese societies, the #Lunar #New #Year celebration that falls in #February in 2021 generally takes precedence over the solar #New #Year, on #Jan. 1. #While celebrations of the #Western holiday have been growing more common in recent decades, this year will be more muted.

#Beijing is holding a countdown ceremony with just a few invited guests, while other planned events have been canceled. #And nighttime temperatures plunging to -15 #Celsius (-5 #Fahrenheit) will likely discourage people from spending the night out with friends.

#Taiwan is hosting its usual #New #Year’s celebration, a fireworks display by its capital city’s iconic tower, #Taipei 101, as well as a flag-raising ceremony in front of the #Presidential #Office #Building on #New #Year’s morning. The flag raising will be limited to government officials and invited guests after a traveler who recently arrived in #Taiwan was found to be infected with the new variant of the coronavirus.

The island has been a success story in fighting the pandemic, registering only seven deaths and 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

#Hong #Kong, with its #British colonial history and large expatriate population, has usually seen raucous celebrations along the waterfront and in bar districts. #For the second year running, however, #New #Year’s #Eve fireworks have been canceled, this time over coronavirus rather than public security concerns.

- Advertisement -

#Hong #Kong social distancing regulations restrict gatherings to only two people. #Restaurants have to close by 6 p.m. and live performances and dancing are not allowed. #But crowds still throng shopping centers.

#Much of #Japan was welcoming 2021 quietly at home, alarmed after #Tokyo reported a record number of daily coronavirus cases at about 1,300. #It was the first time that daily cases in the capital have topped 1,000.

#Tokyo #Gov. #Yuriko #Koike asked people to skip countdown ceremonies and expressed concern about crowds of shoppers.

“The coronavirus knows no yearend or #New #Year’s holidays,” she said.

#Many people skipped what’s customarily a chance to return to ancestral homes for the holidays, hoping to lessen health risks for extended families.

#Rural restaurants saw business drop, while home deliveries of traditional #New #Year’s “good luck” food called “osechi” boomed.

#Emperor #Naruhito is delivering a video message for the new year, instead of waving from a balcony as cheering crowds throng outside the palace.

#Train services that usually carry people on shrine visits overnight, as well as some countdown ceremonies, were canceled.

#Meiji #Shrine in downtown #Tokyo, which normally attracts millions of people during #New #Year holidays and is usually open all night on #New #Year’s #Eve, closed at 4 p.m. this year.

#In #South #Korea, #Seoul’s city government canceled its annual #New #Year’s #Eve bell-ringing ceremony in the #Jongno neighborhood for the first time since the event was first held in 1953, months after the end of the #Korean #War.

The ceremony, in which citizens ring a large bell in a traditional pavilion when the clock strikes midnight, normally draws an estimated 100,000 people and is broadcast live.

#Authorities in eastern coastal areas closed beaches and other spots where hundreds of thousands of people typically gather on #New #Year’s #Day to watch the sunrise. The southeastern city of #Pohang instead planned to broadcast live the sunrise at several beaches on its #YouTube channel.

#South #Korea’s central government banned private social gatherings of more than five people and shut down ski resorts and major tourist spots nationwide from #Christmas #Eve until #Jan. 3 to help bring a recent viral resurgence under control.

#Millions of #Indians planned to usher in the new year with subdued celebrations at home because of night curfews, a ban on beach parties and restrictions on movement in major cities and towns after the new, more contagious variant of the coronavirus reached the country.

#In #New #Delhi, #Mumbai and #Chennai, hotels and bars were ordered to shut at 11 p.m. The three cities have been the worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

#Drones were keeping watch on people’s movements in #Mumbai, #India’s financial and entertainment capital. #Large gatherings were banned, but there were no restrictions on visiting friends, relatives and public places in groups of not more than four people, police said. #Face masks and social distancing were mandatory, they said.

#Many revelers flocked to #Goa, a former #Portuguese colony and popular backpacking destination with numerous beach resorts. #Authorities decided against imposing a curfew with coronavirus infections largely controlled there.

#In #Sri #Lanka, public gatherings have been banned due to a resurgence of COVID-19, and health and law enforcement authorities urged people to limit celebrations to close family members. #Health officials have warned of legal action against hotels and restaurants that hold parties.

#Officials have also closed schools and restricted public transport in response to the renewed outbreak.



[ source link ]
https://apnews.com/article/australia-coronavirus-pandemic-sydney-e504d5d2bef8277cd3c6d63fbbcd1f9e

#finally ##Years #revelries #muted #virus

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments