New Year’s Eve 2022 celebrations have begun around the world, although celebrations in many cities have been canceled or curtailed due to the renewed surge in Covid-19 infections.
The year 2022 has already begun in the South Seas: the residents of the islands of Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati were the first in the world to welcome the New Year. Unlike last year when public fireworks displays were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, fireworks are allowed again in Samoa. According to the tourism authority, the island state flew in five pyrotechnics experts from New Zealand specifically to set up the fireworks.
And New Zealand has already welcomed the New Year with light projections at iconic Auckland locations such as the Sky Tower and the Harbor Bridge. In fact, the traditional fireworks display did not take place. In New Zealand, there was no spread of the Omicron variant among the population, but authorities still wanted to avoid gatherings. Countries in Asia and the Pacific are the first to celebrate the New Year.
And the year 2022 has also arrived in Australia (at 2 p.m. Italian time), and in Sydney the fireworks have been confirmed and after months of very strict lockdown, public celebrations are allowed again, a decision that comes thanks to a sharp increase in the number of vaccinated was hit and the belief in Omicron’s lower gravity.
For a few months it seemed that New Year’s Eve 2022 could be celebrated almost normally, with toasts in the square and communal celebrations. But the Omicron variant of the coronavirus triggered that illusion, causing Covid-19 infection rates to skyrocket and programs to be reconsidered in at least some parts of the world. Various metropolises have canceled the celebrations completely for the second year in a row, while others have scaled them back. Yesterday, new alarms and calls for caution came from the highest health authorities. World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he feared a “tsunami of cases” due to Omicron and Delta, citing “the enormous pressure on already exhausted health workers and health systems that are on the brink of collapse.” . . The virologist Anthony Fauci, advisor to US President Joe Biden, then openly called for people to “stay away” from large gatherings on New Year’s Eve and to spend it in a small circle of family members or close friends as long as they were vaccinated.
New Year’s Eve in different countries around the world
-In Germany: New Year’s Eve is marked by the restrictions that came into force on December 28th: They also apply on the night of the 31st. In general, there will be no private gatherings of more than ten people (under 14 years of age). excluded from the count) for vaccinated people, while for unvaccinated people the limit is drastically reduced to two people. Dancing is banned both in nightclubs and other places and some clubs are only allowed to open under strict measures, for example in Berlin. The sale of fireworks is strictly prohibited in a country where the start of the new year was usually accompanied by fireworks displays and even “spontaneous” pitched battles on the streets. The German authorities’ ban on the sale of fireworks did not stop fellow citizens from heading to neighboring Poland to stock up for New Year’s Eve celebrations. In some federal states, such as Baden-Württemberg, a nighttime curfew runs from 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m., although traffic is allowed until 1 a.m. this evening. In addition, a mandatory quarantine was introduced for unvaccinated travelers from France and Denmark, with Norway, Lebanon and Andorra also added to the list.
-In the UK: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan announced that there will be no celebrations in Trafalgar Square this year due to the increase in Omicron cases in the capital; But Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was pleased with the progress of the pandemic and said things were much better than a year ago.
-In Ireland, bars, pubs and restaurants must also close at 8:00 p.m. this New Year’s Eve. A measure that will remain in force until the end of January.
-In Belgium: the government, after an appeal accepted by the Council of State, annulled the decision to close cinemas and theaters, while cafes and restaurants must close at 11 p.m.; The firing of fireworks is prohibited in Brussels during the entire period around New Year’s Eve.
-In Denmark and Luxembourg: A 11 p.m. curfew has been in effect in both countries for a month. Attending cinemas, theaters and concerts is no longer permitted. Museums and amusement parks were also closed.
-In Finland: Restaurants close at 6:00 p.m. with limited seating capacity and clubs at 10:00 p.m. European travelers from the Schengen area must present a negative test to enter the country.
-In France: As requested by the government, the city of Paris has canceled the concerts and fireworks displays planned for New Year’s Eve, in particular the events traditionally held on the Champs-Élysées. No public gatherings, but as initially feared there will be no curfew either. Standing up in bars and clubs is prohibited. Across France, mayors have been asked to cancel concerts and fireworks displays and ban alcohol consumption on the streets. Dancing in restaurants, bars and other venues is prohibited. In public places, the number of participants in outdoor events is limited to 5,000 and indoors to 2,000, although masks are required in leisure and cultural areas. The urgent reason requirement for travel to and from the UK has been restored. From January 1st there will be a curfew on the island of La Réunion.
-In Brazil: Unlike other Brazilian cities, in Rio de Janeiro it has been decided to maintain the traditional celebrations on Copacabana beach, where a large number of people (usually a few million) are expected in one of the beaches, despite the restrictions that are in absolute numbers the most affected countries in the world (second only to the USA).
-In Canada: In Quebec, the authorities demanded that the number of guests at New Year’s Eve dinner be limited to ten. Shops, bars, restaurants and theaters as well as gyms must reduce their capacity by 50%.