COVID-19 around the world: How have New Year's celebrations been scaled back amid Omicron surge?

·2-min read

As the world gears up to welcome in 2022, many New Year celebrations are being cancelled or scaled back amid rising infections due to the highly transmissible Omicron variant.

So will some of the most iconic celebrations still be going ahead on 31 December?

Here's a snapshot from around the world.

France

The Paris fireworks display and festivities on the Champs-Elysees have been cancelled although there's no curfew for New Year's Eve.

Nightclubs across the country are also closed.

Australia

Sydney's famous firework event at the harbour are still going ahead but there will be fewer spectators than usual.

Most viewing areas will be capped by the council and require tickets.

Last year, before mass vaccination, spectators were banned, but this time people are being urged to wear masks where they can't properly distance.

United States

New York's centrepiece New Year celebration in Times Square is going ahead but with much smaller crowds than normal.

Everyone who attends will be required to wear a mask, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio's office.

UK

The prime minister and health secretary have said people should remain cautious on New Year's Eve.

Most high-profile mass events have been deemed too risky by organisers.

The display around the London Eye has been cancelled as has a party in Trafalgar Square for 6,500 people. Other events scrapped include Edinburgh's famous Hogmanay festivities.

People planning to socialise are being urged to take a lateral flow test beforehand. However, the tests are currently in short supply.

Nightclubs are closed in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for New Year's Eve but remain open in England.

Brazil

Rio's fireworks on Copacabana Beach are back on after previously being cancelled, but the concert afterwards will not go ahead.

With more than 618,000 COVID-related deaths recorded, Brazil has one of the worst death tolls from the pandemic, but so far only 77 Omicron cases have been confirmed.

Greece

There will be no fireworks display over the Acropolis this year.

This week the country's health minister announced new restrictions on the hospitality sector, bringing forward measures planned for early January.

From Thursday evening, bars, nightclubs and restaurants will close at midnight, with no standing customers and no music, with the exception of New Year's Eve when they can stay open until 2am.

Italy

Concerts, open-air events and clubs have been shut until 31 January and public events in Italy's squares are also banned on New Year's Eve.

There are no restrictions on celebrations at home.

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