Due to the pandemic, New Year’s Eve will be subdued worldwide, with celebrations marking the start of 2022 largely canceled or scaled back. In the heart of Europe, in Paris, fireworks were canceled and the obligation to wear masks outdoors was reinstated, respected by the majority of people who spent the last hours of 2021 on the Champs-Élysées.
In Berlin, police asked not to go to the Brandenburg Gate, where a concert was taking place for which no live audience was expected, while in Madrid only 7,000 people were allowed to go to the Puerta del Sol, where the crowd traditionally tops 20,000 people in attendance.
In London, the traditional fireworks display in the city center was replaced by a televised light and drone show, held in a secret location to avoid crowds on site. In New York, only 15,000 people were allowed into Times Square. Further south on the continent, in Rio de Janeiro, a few thousand people gathered in Copacabana for the traditional fireworks display, while music played from loudspeakers in the absence of live concerts.
Australia also celebrated the start of the new year, despite a record 32,000 new cases in a day, with thousands of fireworks lighting up the Sydney sky at midnight in front of a smaller crowd than in previous years. South Korea has closed many beaches and attractions on its east coast, while India has imposed nighttime curfews and restrictions in New Delhi, Mumbai and other major cities.
In China, the Shanghai government canceled the usual light show along the Huangpu River that usually attracts hundreds of thousands of spectators. Even in Beijing, where temples have been closed or have limited access since mid-December, there are no public celebrations.