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COVID Pandemic dampens New Year celebrations

Restrictions are being placed on New Year festivities around the world as many countries struggle to curb new spikes in coronavirus cases.

Fireworks displays and other public gatherings have been cancelled from Sydney to New York.

One of the first nations to ring in the New Year was Australia. The Sydney fireworks display went ahead, but crowds were not allowed to gather on the city’s harbour to enjoy it.

In New Zealand, where a strict lockdown and border closures have all but eliminated Covid, New Year celebrations were held as usual.

In China, the annual New Year light show in the capital Beijing has been called off. Celebrations are being scaled down in cities across the country.

Japan has cancelled a traditional New Year event at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members were to greet people.

In India, Delhi and several other cities have imposed a night curfew and other restrictions to prevent large New Year gatherings.

Festivities are being particularly muted in Europe, amid fears over a new more contagious strain of the disease.

France has mobilised 100,000 police to break up New Year’s Eve parties and enforce a night-time curfew.

More than 1.8 million people have died with the virus across the world since the start of the pandemic a year ago. More than 81 million cases have been reported.

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