The restrained turn of the year in the corona crisis

While in many countries it is already 2021, people in Europe are still preparing for the turn of the year. Like almost all countries worldwide, the European countries – including Austria – will start the new year rather cautiously. Many parties and fireworks have been canceled around the world, including classic festivities in Amsterdam, London, New York and Rio de Janeiro. In some countries there were hardly any restrictions.

In Germany, for example, there is a tough lockdown with closed shops, restaurants and bars. Tougher measures with night exit bans also prevailed in Italy and France.

Because the corona pandemic is under control in China and there are hardly any infections, the New Year began in the People’s Republic without major restrictions. However, New Year’s Eve is not a particularly important holiday for the Chinese either. According to their traditional lunar calendar, the new year doesn’t start until February.

Only then does a great wave of travel begin, in which hundreds of millions move through the country to visit their families. Only then is there a really big celebration. Nevertheless, fireworks were set off in some cities at midnight on Friday. One was also planned in Wuhan, the city of the corona outbreak. But there was practically normality in New Zealand too.

Fireworks in Sydney without an audience

After the people in Samoa were the first to celebrate the New Year at 11 a.m. Central European Time, the fireworks went up in New Zealand an hour later at 12 p.m. CET. In contrast to many other countries, the island nation in the South Pacific has not recorded any local corona cases for more than a month. Therefore, music festivals and fireworks shows were held with no limits on the number of visitors or other restrictions.

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At the Sydney Harbor and Opera House, Australia, no spectators were allowed to watch the fireworks at 2 p.m. CET. The authorities threatened with fines equivalent to more than 620 euros if someone overcomes barriers. Sydney was like a ghost town, observers reported. The world-famous fireworks lasted only seven minutes instead of twelve as in the previous year.

In the hours that followed, the countries in Asia gradually followed: at 4 p.m. Japan and South Korea were on their way. In the South Korean capital, Seoul, for the first time in almost seven decades, the traditional bell-ringing ceremony in the Bosin Pavilion (Bosingak) could only be seen on television and on social media.

“Ball Drop” am Times Square

The turn of the year followed at 5 p.m. in the Philippines and Malaysia, as well as in Taiwan and China. At 6 p.m. Thailand and Vietnam entered 2021.

At 9 p.m. CET, the New Year started in the United Arab Emirates. A spectacular fireworks display was planned there in Dubai on the tallest building in the world, the 828 meter high Burdj Khalifa. Despite the Corona curfew, there should be a large fireworks display at the Kremlin in Moscow – at 10 p.m. CET.

In South America, people have to wait a little longer: parts of Brazil and Argentina can only greet the New Year at 4 a.m. CET, followed by New York at 6 a.m., Los Angeles at 9 a.m. and Honolulu in Hawaii at 11 a.m.

In New York, the “Ball Drop” in Times Square, a falling, shining crystal ball on a pole, is said to take place in front of a few people instead of the usual thousands. The place was cordoned off.

It takes until 1 p.m. CET on January 1st for the whole globe to slide into the new year. Last up are the uninhabited islets of Baker Island and Howland Island in the Pacific. (apa)

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