New Year’s Eve worldwide: Corona determines the turn of the year

China and New Zealand are largely without new corona infections – and have already celebrated New Year’s Eve without restrictions. In many countries there are sometimes strict rules for a quiet evening.

Farewell to the Corona year 2020 should be easy for many people, even if the celebrations around the world are very different. While New Year’s Eve celebrations are only possible to a very limited extent in most countries, celebrations in New Zealand were similar to those every year.

Music festivals and fireworks shows took place without restrictions on the number of visitors or other corona restrictions. The country has not had any local corona cases for more than a month. In Auckland there was a light show around Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower, followed by a five-minute fireworks display at midnight. One of the biggest New Year’s Eve events is the three-day music festival Rhythm and Vines, which takes place near the city of Gisborne in the northeast of the North Island.

China: Celebrate without restrictions

Because, according to official information, there are hardly any infections in China, the new year has also begun in the People’s Republic without major restrictions. Fireworks were set off in some cities at midnight. In the metropolis of Wuhan, where the global health crisis began a year ago, thousands of people raised balloons into the night sky. Like New Years Eve, however, is not a particularly important holiday in China. According to the traditional lunar calendar, the new year doesn’t start until February.

The usual fireworks display also took place next to the tall Taipei 101 skyscraper in neighboring Taiwan, which has reported only seven deaths and 700 confirmed infections since the pandemic began.

Fireworks in Sydney – without spectators

A different picture emerged in Sydney, Australia, which ushered in the year 2021 ten hours before Central Europe. Instead of the usual big New Year’s Eve party at the harbor, there was only a seven-minute show this year – almost without an audience.

Usually the spectacle attracts more than a million people each year. This year the area around the harbor was cordoned off and popular parks were closed. From outside, only those who had a reservation in a restaurant or were one of five permitted guests of a local resident were allowed into central Sydney.

More fireworks in Greece

In Greece, the turn of the year was celebrated nationwide with huge fireworks – there was far more roaring than before. The media reported “one of the most spectacular pyrotechnic shows of all time”.

Fireworks on New Year’s Eve are by no means as common in Greece as in Germany. The Greeks traditionally play cards on New Year’s Eve. But because there was a Corona exit ban this year, cities outbid each other in terms of pyrotechnics.

South Africa: candles instead of firecrackers

Many South Africans followed a call from President Cyril Ramaphosa to light candles instead of fireworks in memory of the victims of the pandemic. The gesture should also be understood as a show of solidarity with medical professionals who are on the front lines in the fight against the coronavirus.

New Year’s Eve was also celebrated quietly in Japan this year. Because of a new record number of new corona infections in Tokyo, Governor Yuriko Koike called on residents to spend the New Year with the family and stay at home. In Moscow, there was a large fireworks display at the Kremlin at 10 p.m. CET despite the Corona curfew.

Corona restrictions in many countries

Many countries can look forward to a similarly calm end to the year. Because of the corona pandemic, many parties and fireworks had been canceled, for example in Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Amsterdam and London. In metropolises like Berlin, Rome and Istanbul, the police control the existing exit restrictions and bans with large contingents.

In Italy there were severe exit restrictions. Between 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve and 7 a.m. on New Year’s morning, the 60 million citizens are even banned from going out with just a few exceptions. The government has banned parties. A maximum of two adult guests from another household are allowed to sit at the table for New Year’s Eve dinner.

Tagesschau reported on this topic on December 31, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.

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