Omicron mutes New Yr events worldwide: Dwell | Coronavirus pandemic Information

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The yr 2022 has arrived in some nations, with individuals on the South Pacific islands of Samoa and Kiribati the primary to start out the brand new yr at 10:00 GMT on Friday, and New Zealand following an hour later.

In Australia, Sydney kicked off the brand new yr with six tonnes of vibrant fireworks in opposition to the imposing backdrop of the town’s landmark Harbour Bridge and Opera Home.

In New York’s Instances Sq., throngs stretched for blocks to soak within the scaled-back celebration. Confetti lit up by digital billboards swirled in a lightweight wind on a light winter night time in New York Metropolis

It’s going to take 26 hours, as much as 12:00 GMT on Saturday, for the whole globe to ring within the New Yr.

Many massive events and fireworks shows have been cancelled or scaled down, nonetheless, as a consequence of an increase in coronavirus infections the world over.

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Fireworks gentle up Rio de Janeiro for New Yr

Fireworks go off on Copacabana seashore to mark the New Yr in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil early on Saturday [Daniel Ramalho/AFP]

Vibrant fireworks lit up the night time sky in Rio de Janeiro as the town ushered within the New Yr.

Folks crowded alongside the seashore to observe the fifteen minute show as they celebrated the beginning of 2022.

The yearly celebration on Copacabana seashore has up to now gathered a couple of million locals and vacationers.

New Yr’s Eve bash returns to New York’s Instances Sq. to usher in 2022

New York Metropolis readied to embrace the brand new yr – and bid good riddance to a different pandemic-marred 12 months – because it revived its annual New Yr’s Eve celebration in Instances Sq., after forgoing a public occasion final yr.

In Instances Sq., throngs stretched for blocks to soak within the scaled-back celebration, with many touring from afar to participate. Confetti lit up by digital billboards swirled in a lightweight wind on a light winter night time in New York Metropolis.

The annual ball drop takes place because the clock ticks into midnight and ushers within the new yr, an event normally commemorated with Champagne, clinking pints, joyous embraces and hopes for higher occasions forward.

Instances Sq. is sometimes called the crossroads of the world, and metropolis officers insisted on holding the marquee New Yr’s Eve occasion to reveal the town’s resiliency even amid a resurgence of the coronavirus.

A toddler blows a trumpet through the New Yr’s Eve countdown at a mall in Quezon Metropolis, a suburb of the Philippine capital Manila [Lisa Marie David/Reuters]

Filipinos welcome 2022 with new limits on mobility over Omicron risk

The Philippines will impose tighter curbs within the capital area for the subsequent two weeks, the appearing presidential spokesperson mentioned on the eve of 2022, to attempt to restrict infections by the Omicron coronavirus variant that’s spreading globally.

The well being ministry on Friday recorded 2,961 new coronavirus infections, a two-month excessive, and reported a positivity charge of 10.3 %.

“Within the coming days, we’d see a rise in energetic instances,” appearing Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles mentioned in a televised announcement.

The area, together with the capital Manila, is an city sprawl of 16 cities house to greater than 13 million individuals. It will likely be positioned beneath the third of a five-scale alert system from January 3 to fifteen, Nograles mentioned.

Gaza welcomes new yr after brutal 2021


Japan’s emperor prays for COVID victims in New Yr message

Japan’s Emperor Naruhito supplied prayers for individuals who died through the pandemic, taking to video for the second straight yr for his New Yr’s greeting on Saturday, having cancelled public palace gatherings to curb coronavirus infections.

Sitting earlier than a bonsai tree along with his spouse Masako, Naruhito praised and thanked docs and different well being care staff, and expressed concern for nations missing entry to vaccines and enough hospital techniques.

“By treasuring greater than ever the connections amongst individuals, sharing our ache and supporting one another, I hope from the underside of my coronary heart that we’ll overcome these exhausting occasions,” he mentioned.

Japan has recorded greater than 18,000 COVID-19-related deaths, however the tempo of deaths has fallen in current months. Naruhito additionally voiced worries concerning the fast-spreading Omicron variant.

Kenyatta conveys to Kenyans message of hope for New Yr

As Kenyans welcomed the yr 2022 on Saturday, President Uhuru Kenyatta despatched a message of hope to his countrymen.

“As we bid goodbye to 2021, we rejoice in the truth that 2022 will give us all a chance to do issues higher”, he mentioned in his New Yr message on Friday.

Whereas reflecting on the previous yr, Kenyatta additionally acknowledged the challenges that the nation went by in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, whereas vowing to ramp up the vaccination to 30 million individuals by the tip of 2022.

Londoners welcome new yr amid COVID-19 surge

Fireworks and lights shows lit up the night time sky in London on Saturday as individuals welcomed 2022 in opposition to the backdrop of requires warning and the cancellation of enormous celebrations.

Metropolis squares had been barricaded and lots of New Yr occasions had been cancelled within the UK in a bid to forestall massive crowds from gathering as each day COVID instances reached a file excessive on Friday.

However some individuals had been decided to enterprise out and rejoice after almost two years of lockdowns.

The UK reported 189,846 new instances on Friday, a file for each day infections.

Fireworks in Athens over Acropolis brings in 2022

Fireworks and celebrations rang out round Athens on Friday night time because the Greek capital celebrated the beginning of the brand new yr.

A sea of color stuffed the sky as a firework show was held over the Acropolis to usher within the begin of 2022.

In the meantime, the well being ministry on Wednesday banned music in any respect industrial venues for New Yr’s celebrations as a part of new restrictions.

It additionally introduced leisure venues had been to shut at midnight, apart from New Yr’s Eve once they had been permitted to remain open till 2 am.

Brandenburg Gate lights show marks begin of 2022 in Germany

Germans collect close to the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin to rejoice the New Yr on Saturday [John MacDougall/AFP]

A lights show was held at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate because the German capital marked the beginning of 2022.

It comes as main New Yr’s Eve celebrations had been cancelled as soon as once more and firework gross sales banned, with the extremely transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus inflicting steep rises in case numbers in Europe and making inroads in Germany, although official figures have but to replicate that totally.

Lights show on Eiffel Tower brings in 2022

France ushered in 2022 on Friday night time with a lightweight show on the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

As with many nations in Europe, celebrations had been set to be slightly extra subdued as a result of rising variety of coronavirus instances.

Final month the federal government banned public concert events and fireworks shows at New Yr’s celebrations and referred to as on individuals to keep away from massive gatherings and restrict the variety of relations congregating at Christmas.

France’s unprecedented 232,200 new instances Friday marked its third day working above the 200,000 mark.

Crowd waits in Instances Sq. for New Yr’s celebrations

A crowd has gathered in Instances Sq. in New York Metropolis forward of the New Yr’s countdown.

A crowd of people huddles in New York City's Times Square for New Year's celebrationsFolks collect earlier than New Yr’s Eve celebrations in Instances Sq. [Hannah Beier/Reuters]

As a result of coronavirus, about 15,000 spectators are anticipated this yr – far fewer than the numerous tens of 1000’s who normally attend.

A woman in a tophat stands in New York City's Times Square ahead of the New Year's countdownFar fewer individuals are anticipated in Instances Sq. this yr as a result of coronavirus [Hannah Beier/Reuters]

Canada’s Quebec to ring in 2022 with muted celebrations

Canada’s second-most populous province is getting ready for a muted New Yr’s celebration, as a nighttime curfew will come into impact throughout Quebec at 10pm native time (03:00 GMT).

Quebec Premier Francois Legault introduced the curfew – from 10pm to 5am each day – amongst a sequence of latest restrictions aimed toward stemming a surge in coronavirus infections linked to Omicron.

“I do know we’re all drained, but it surely’s my accountability to guard [us] from this,” Legault informed reporters throughout a information convention earlier this week. That is the second time that Quebec has imposed a curfew because the pandemic started.

A nurse administers a COVID jab to a woman in Montreal, CanadaQuebec is amongst a number of provinces in Canada seeing a surge in coronavirus instances [File: Andrej Ivanov/Reuters]

In New Yr’s Eve tackle, Putin warns pandemic ‘isn’t retreating but’

Russian President Vladimir Putin praised Russians for his or her energy in troublesome occasions and soberly warned that the pandemic “isn’t retreating but”.

“I wish to categorical phrases of honest help to all those that misplaced their expensive ones,” Putin mentioned in a televised tackle broadcast simply earlier than midnight in every of the nation’s 11 time zones.

Russia’s coronavirus process pressure has reported 308,860 COVID-19 deaths, however its state statistics company says the dying toll has been greater than double that.

London’s Large Ben to chime at midnight

London’s Large Ben, on high of the Homes of Parliament, is ready to chime at midnight and ring within the New Yr for the primary time since 2017, after greater than three years of restoration.

The UK has seen a surge in COVID-19 instances, with new infections reaching file highs this week.

However there was some excellent news in another country, the place a examine of 1 million instances discovered sufferers with the Omicron variant had been a couple of third as prone to want hospitalisation as these with the beforehand dominant Delta variant.

A close-up of London's Big Ben, on top of the Houses of ParliamentRestoration works on London’s Large Ben commenced in 2017 [Toby Melville/Reuters]

US’s Rose Parade set to go on regardless of virus surge

The Rose Parade and Rose Bowl school soccer sport between Ohio State and Utah will nonetheless be performed on New Yr’s Day regardless of surging instances of COVID-19, which compelled the cancellation of final yr’s parade.

The 133rd version of the Pasadena, California, custom was scheduled to function actor LeVar Burton as grand marshal, 20 marching bands, 18 equestrian items and dozens of floats reflecting the theme of “Dream. Imagine. Obtain”.

In a change as a consequence of hovering infections, Kaiser Permanente mentioned its float, “A More healthy Future”, wouldn’t have 20 “front-line medical heroes” using or strolling alongside it.

“We should prioritise the well being and security of our front-line medical employees and guarantee we’re in a position to deal with sufferers throughout this current surge of COVID-19 instances attributable to the Omicron variant,” the healthcare community mentioned.

Fireworks on show at Dubai’s Burj Khalifa

Giant crowds have gathered in Dubai to see within the New Yr with a powerful fireworks show.

A particular laser present occurred on the Burj Khalifa, which is claimed to be the world’s tallest constructing.

Delighted onlookers recorded with cellphones because the skyscraper dazzled within the night time sky, beaming “Completely satisfied New Yr”.

Fireworks explode at the Burj Khalifa building in Dubai, United Arab EmiratesFireworks explode on the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest constructing, throughout New Yr’s Eve celebrations in Dubai, United Arab Emirates [Kamran Jebreili/AP Photo]

China welcomes the New Yr whereas on excessive alert

China has welcomed the New Yr whereas on excessive alert in opposition to COVID-19. Town of Xian was beneath lockdown whereas a number of occasions in different cities have been cancelled and a few provinces urged restraint in journey through the festive season.

The favored Completely satisfied Valley amusement park in Beijing cancelled an occasion to ring within the New Yr, whereas the Completely satisfied Valley park within the jap metropolis of Nanjing dropped a drone present and fireworks from its line-up of celebrations.

The central metropolis of Wuhan, the place COVID-19 first emerged in late 2019, didn’t maintain any large-scale gatherings at sure public venues, together with at Guanggu, one of many world’s longest pedestrian buying streets.

Attendees at an event held outside that coincided with the New Year Eve cheer as fake snow from a foam machine is blown overhead in Beijing, ChinaFolks cheer as faux snow from a foam machine is blown overhead throughout New Yr’s Eve in Beijing, China [Ng Han Guan/AP Photo]

Wave of cancelled flights from Omicron closes out 2021

Extra cancelled flights have pissed off air travellers on the ultimate day of 2021 and appeared all however sure to inconvenience a whole lot of 1000’s extra over the New Yr’s vacation weekend.

Airways blamed lots of the cancellations on crew shortages associated to the spike in COVID-19 infections, together with wintry climate in elements of the US.

By early afternoon on the East Coast, airways had scrubbed greater than 1,400 US flights – about 6 % of all scheduled flights – and roughly 2,900 worldwide, in keeping with monitoring service FlightAware.

Occasion prefer it’s 2019: Serbia hosts raucous New Yr’s Eve

Boisterous New Yr’s Eve celebrations have kicked off within the Serbian capital of Belgrade the place, not like elsewhere in Europe, mass gatherings are allowed.

Giant crowds gathered within the metropolis for outside concert events, fireworks and a lightweight present at a newly-constructed Dubai-style glass tower that has change into a trademark challenge by Serbia’s right-wing populist authorities.

Serbia’s state RTS tv reported that about 100,000 guests have flocked to Belgrade for the vacations, filling up the town’s resorts and rented flats. Eating places and bars have been packed.

Macron says France faces robust weeks forward

The subsequent few weeks will likely be troublesome for France due to a surge in COVID-19 instances, however the nation can get by it if individuals behave responsibly, President Emmanuel Macron has mentioned in a televised New Yr’s Eve tackle to the nation.

He mentioned France was in a greater place to face the coronavirus than a yr in the past due to the quantity of people that have been vaccinated, and urged anybody who was unvaccinated to get the COVID-19 shot.

The nation must do every thing to keep away from having to impose new restrictions that may curb individuals’s freedoms, Macron mentioned.

Turkish well being minister points a ‘New Yr warning’

Turkish Well being Minister Fahrettin Koca has shared on Twitter a “New Yr warning,” saying: “Although there aren’t any restrictions, we advocate that you simply act as if there are. We’re in a time of elevated threat.”

He referred to as on individuals to rejoice the brand new yr with shut relations solely.

Koca earlier shared a written assertion saying that the rise within the variety of instances originating from Omicron was largely seen in Istanbul, with 52.3 % of nationwide instances over the previous 10 days registered in Istanbul.

A crowd of people are seen walking inside the Egyptian Bazaar , IstanbulPedestrians, some carrying protecting face masks, stroll contained in the Egyptian Bazaar in Istanbul [Francisco Seco/AP Photo]

Hong Kong rings in 2022 with live performance

Followers have gathered to ring within the arrival of 2022 at a New Yr’s Eve live performance with Hong Kong’s common Cantopop band Mirror and a slew of different artists, together with Gin Lee and Joyce Cheng.

Many celebrated with the ability to collect amid the virus pandemic and hoped for a greater yr forward.

People sit on chairs outside and watch a performance at a New Year's Eve concert in Hong KongFolks attend a New Yr’s Eve live performance in Hong Kong [Vincent Yu/AP Photo]

Pope modifications New Yr’s Eve plans once more

Pope Francis has not presided over New Yr’s Eve vespers at St Peter’s Basilica as deliberate, though he has delivered the homily.

Giovanni Battista Re, the dean of the School of Cardinals, led the service whereas the 85-year-old pontiff, carrying a masks, spent most of it seated on the sidelines.

Requested concerning the change, simply three hours after the Vatican had confirmed the pope’s presiding position, a spokesman mentioned merely that Francis needed the cardinal to preside over the celebration.

Pope Francis delivers mass in St Peter's Basilica at The VaticanPope Francis celebrates a New Yr’s Eve vespers mass in St Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican [Andrew Medichini/AP Photo]

France experiences file coronavirus instances

France has reported 232,200 new COVID-19 instances, the highest-ever recorded complete, because the nation prepares for subdued New Yr celebrations, with many fireworks occasions cancelled and other people informed to masks up.

New infections during the last 24 hours had been above the 200,000 mark for the third day working. The earlier file of 208,099 was set on Wednesday.

A woman arrives at a mobile coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing booth in Paris, FranceA lady arrives at a cell COVID-19 testing sales space in Paris, France [Christian Hartmann/Reuters]

Berlin mayor mulls banning fireworks in elements of metropolis

Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey has mentioned banning fireworks in some elements of the town, a coverage launched in 2020 as a result of pandemic, may assist defend the emergency forces.

“We even have to speak about pacifying sure areas of the town past the coronavirus pandemic by not permitting fireworks there,” she mentioned.

German Well being Minister Karl Lauterbach suggested Germans to spend the New Yr interval “very cautiously” and rejoice solely in very small teams. Giant-scale New Yr celebrations have been cancelled.

A few people walk on the boulevard 'Strasse des 17. Juni' in front of the Brandenburg Gate Berlin, GermanyOnly some individuals stroll on the boulevard ‘Strasse des 17. Juni’ in entrance of the Brandenburg Gate, Berlin, Germany [Markus Schreiber/AP Photo]

Fireworks gentle up Bangkok, Thailand

A spectacular show of fireworks has lit up Bangkok’s night time sky as 2021 drew to an finish in Thailand.

This yr, authorities within the Southeast Asian nation allowed New Yr’s Eve events and fireworks shows to go forward, albeit with strict coronavirus restrictions in place.

New Yr’s Eve prayers, that are normally held in Buddhist temples round Thailand, had been held on-line.

Fireworks explode over the Chao Phraya River during the New Year celebrations in Bangkok, ThailandFireworks explode over the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand [Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters]

Giant crowds collect in Tokyo

Tokyo has cancelled its official New Yr’s countdown on the well-known Shibuya crossing intersection, however 1000’s of individuals nonetheless got here out to rejoice regardless of pleas from authorities to keep away from large gatherings.

The Shibuya crossing is usually crowded with massive numbers of individuals and is a well-liked vacationer attraction.

Within the hope of stopping individuals from gathering across the busy landmark, the town had requested that individuals chorus from visiting the realm and turned off all billboards at 11pm. However that was not sufficient to maintain the crowds away.

People celebrate outside at the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, JapanRevellers rejoice the New Yr on the Shibuya crossing in Tokyo, Japan [Androniki Christodoulou/Reuters]

Celebrations scaled again in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil celebrations on Copacabana Seaside will go forward in a scaled down format – although crowds of revellers are nonetheless anticipated on the conventional get together spot.

“Folks have just one want, to depart their houses, to rejoice life,” 45-year-old Copacabana seashore waiter Francisco Rodrigues informed the AFP information company.

Swimmers dip into chilly Baikal lake in Russia

Freezing temperatures couldn’t stop dozens of Russian swimmers from a conventional annual dip into the waters of the Lake Baikal on New Yr’s Eve.

This yr it was hotter within the water – about 2.5 levels Celsius (36.5 levels Fahrenheit) – than on dry land the place the temperature was -15C (5F).

“It’s superior,” mentioned first-time ice swimmer Olga Sundareva. “I’ve been dreaming of getting right here for a very long time and I’ve discovered this membership this yr.”

Revellers return to NYC’s Instances Sq.

New York Metropolis is getting ready to revive its annual New Yr’s Eve celebration in Instances Sq., whilst public well being officers cautioned in opposition to unbridled celebrations.

Town mentioned it will restrict the variety of individuals it lets into Instances Sq. to witness a 6-tonne ball, encrusted with almost 2,700 Waterford crystals, descend above a crowd of about 15,000 in-person spectators – far fewer than the numerous tens of 1000’s of revellers who normally descend on the world-famous sq. through the nation’s marquee New Yr’s Eve occasion.

“We’re very excited to welcome again guests to Instances Sq. this New Yr’s Eve,” mentioned Tom Harris, the president of the Instances Sq. Alliance. “Our aim is to have a protected and accountable occasion for the world to see.”

People gather at the security entrance outside at Times Square ahead of New Year's Eve celebrations in New York City, USFolks collect on the safety entrance at Instances Sq. earlier than celebrations in New York Metropolis, US [Stefan Jeremiah/Reuters]

India welcomes New Yr with restrictions

In India, amid worry of a repeat of a devastating virus surge that overwhelmed the nation in April and Could, cities and states have imposed restrictions on gatherings. Delhi carried out a 10pm curfew.

Mumbai police on Friday issued night bans on individuals visiting public locations corresponding to the town’s seashores and seafront promenades, usually common websites for seeing within the New Yr – with the restrictions set to final two weeks.

Workers of a political party and others cheer in front of a huge kite on a public street to welcome 2022 on New Year’s Eve in Ahmedabad, IndiaStaff of a political get together and others cheer in entrance of an enormous kite to welcome 2022 on New Yr’s Eve in Ahmedabad, India [Ajit Solanki/AP Photo]

Fireworks usher in New Yr in North Korea

A lightweight present and fireworks show introduced within the New Yr in North Korea, as chief Kim Jong Un marks 10 years in energy.

The spectacle occurred in opposition to the backdrop of Kim Il Sung Sq. in Pyongyang.

In neighbouring South Korea, the annual New Yr’s Eve bell-ringing ceremony in Seoul was cancelled as a consequence of a surge within the instances of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.

Serbia prepares for New Yr’s live performance

Tens of 1000’s of holiday makers from round Japanese Europe and additional afield are anticipated to attend an enormous music occasion and a fireworks present in downtown Belgrade.

“We love massive public celebrations. We got here right here from Vienna particularly as a result of right here [it feels as if] there is no such thing as a COVID-19,” one girl informed The Related Press information company.

Many Belgrade residents appeared to share her sentiment and voiced happiness that their metropolis was the one Balkan capital holding an enormous celebration to ring within the New Yr.

“Why would I be afraid?” one individual requested. “We should reside our lives.”

People dance the traditional kolo dance on Belgrade's main pedestrian street during New Year's Eve in SerbiaFolks dance on Belgrade’s major pedestrian avenue throughout New Yr’s Eve in Serbia [Darko Vojinovic/AP Photo]

Yearend cheer for South Africans as midnight curfew lifted

South Africans cheered the federal government’s resolution to carry its midnight curfew after almost two years of COVID-19 restrictions, a aid for companies and residents simply earlier than New Yr celebrations.

“[The past two years] have been exhausting on us, should you have a look at our neighbours, most guys have closed down, that’s how dangerous it was,” mentioned 32-year-old Michael Mchende, a supervisor at Onerous Rock Cafe in Cape City.

“For this model, we’re all about having a superb time. So now that we’ve got been allowed to really have a superb time, these doorways are simply going to be right here for show. We’re not going to close down no extra, we’re all in.”

An undercover police officer is seen as prospects queue to purchase fireworks outdoors the St Mary Cathedral in Johannesburg, South Africa earlier than New Yr’s Eve celebrations [Marco Longari/AFP]

Samoa celebrates the New Yr

In contrast to a yr in the past, when public fireworks had been cancelled as a result of coronavirus pandemic, they had been allowed to be shot into the sky once more within the South Pacific island of Samoa.

In line with the tourism authority, the island state had flown in 5 pyrotechnics consultants from New Zealand to put in the fireworks.

Fireworks welcome New Yr in Sydney

Sydney kicked off 2022 with 6 tonnes of vibrant fireworks in opposition to the imposing backdrop of the Harbour Bridge and Opera Home.

In contrast to final yr, tens of 1000’s of spectators had been once more admitted this time to observe the spectacle reside, regardless of a pointy rise in coronavirus numbers within the area. Nonetheless, all members needed to purchase a ticket for one in every of about 30 viewing factors.

Residents with out a reservation or vaccination ought to keep away from the town centre if doable, organisers had suggested.

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House during New Year's Eve celebrationsThe Sydney Opera Home is seen as fireworks explode over Sydney Harbour throughout New Yr’s Eve celebrations in Sydney, Australia [Jaimi Joy/Reuters]

Tonga welcomes 2022

Within the archipelago of Tonga, the forces of nature didn’t take a break on New Yr’s Eve.

Since Christmas, the authorities have been warning in opposition to approaching the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which final erupted in 2014, however which is energetic once more and spewing ash and fuel into the air.

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