Fireworks explode on the empty streets of Sydney, Christchurch, as 2020 creeps into history – world news

Blue and gold fireworks rose in the sky above the Sydney Opera House, as they do every year, but the harbor below was a ghost town, a correspondingly terrifying expedition for a year not to be missed.

No light show will light up Beijing from the top of the TV tower. The lions in Trafalgar Square in London will be barricaded, as will the Red Square in Moscow. In Rome, the crowds will not gather in St. Peter’s Square, the Pope will not lead any Mass, and the partygoers will not make their annual dives in the Tiber.

The New Year’s Eve ball will fall on Broadway. But instead of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers wrapped shoulder to shoulder in Times Square, the public will be a small, pre-selected group of nurses, doctors, and other key workers, with their families standing six feet apart in socially spaced pens. .

Hello, 2020. Hello, 2021.

With more than 1.7 million people dead and 82 million infected worldwide since last New Year’s Eve – however, we hope the new vaccines can help tame the pandemic – the end of this year is like no other in memory. Angela Merkel, in her 16th New Year’s speech as German chancellor, said the same.

“I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I say: I’ve never found the old year so hard in the last 15 years. And never, despite all the worries and a certain skepticism, did I look forward to the new one with so much hope. “

“I can only imagine how bitter it must feel for loved ones lost by the crown or struggling with the repercussions of a disease when the virus is challenged and denied by some hopeless individuals,” said Merkel, 66. years, which he said will be vaccinated as soon as possible.

Germany has banned the sale of fireworks to discourage the crowds. Authorities in Berlin said police would “consistently punish rapists.”

“One Year’s Hell”

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic broke out a year ago, thousands were expected to gather at popular landmarks in the city center for the countdown to 2021. Some said they were cautious, but not particularly worried.

“Safety is the priority,” said Wang Xuemei, a 23-year-old Wuhan resident who is a teacher.

In Australia, where the Sydney Opera House fireworks are being televised around the world as the first major visual display of the new year, movement has been restricted, gatherings banned and internal borders closed. Most people were barred from coming to Sydney city center on Thursday night.

“What the hell was a year,” said Gladys Berejiklian, the prime minister of New South Wales, which includes Sydney. “We hope that 2021 will be easier for all of us.”

In the Puerta del Sol square, usually full of Madrid, there will be no screaming partygoer to swallow their grapes in their mouths – one for every midnight shot, according to tradition. Spain’s midnight extinguishment was extended until 1:30 in the morning, but most people are expected to stay home.

As police pulled metal barriers over the market, 61-year-old retiree Jose Angel Balsa said he would spend the evening “with the family, just the four of us at home, holding a lot of video calls and hoping this would end. as soon as possible. “

In the UK, where an extremely contagious variant of the virus is furious and most people are under strict restrictions, official billboards instruct the public to “see the new year safely at home”. Barriers have been erected in public places such as Trafalgar Square and London Square.

Russian authorities have stopped gathering people on Red Square. Bars and restaurants would close before midnight, but fireworks would go ahead.

In Italy, bars, restaurants and most shops have been closed, and a time-out required for New Year’s Eve at 10 p.m. Pope Francis has canceled plans to conduct New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Eve services due to an eruption of his sciatica. .

In France, where there will also be a night extinguisher, no more than six adults are allowed to gather around the table. But there will be holidays – small, perhaps, but stylish.

At “A la Ville de Rodez”, a luxury Parisian delicacy, manager Brice Tapon prepared packages of foie gras, truffles and pate for groups of two or three.

“I’m going to … fill it with foie gras, champagne and all this food,” said Annie Chaplin, a client. “And I’ll stay home.”