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Fireworks explode over empty streets as 2020 slinks away into history
The Sydney Opera House fireworks hovered in the air, but the harbor below was empty as a ghost town, a fitting outing for a year not to be missed.
No light show will illuminate Beijing from the top of the TV tower. The lions of London’s Trafalgar Square will be cordoned off. In Rome crowds will not gather in Peter’s Square, the pope will not lead any masses and revelators will not make their annual dive into the Tiber.
The New Year’s Eve ball will fall on Broadway. But instead of hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers packed shoulder-to-shoulder in Times Square, the audience will be a small pre-selected group of nurses, doctors and other key workers, and their families will keep them six feet apart in socially distant pens. .
Good release, 2020. Hello, 2021.
With more than 1.7 million people killed and 82 million infected around the world since last New Year’s Eve – but hope that new vaccines can help tame the pandemic – the end of this year is like no other. Angela Merkel, in her 16th New Year’s Eve as German Chancellor, said so much.
‘I do not think I am exaggerating when I say: in the past year we have never found the old year so difficult. And never before, despite all the worries and a degree of skepticism, have we looked forward to the new one with so much hope. ”
“I can only imagine how bitter it must feel for the raw loved ones lost by corona or who have to fight the consequences of an illness when the virus is disputed and denied by some hopeless individuals,” Merkel (66) said . she would be vaccinated as soon as possible.
Germany has banned the sale of fireworks to discourage crowds. Authorities in Berlin said police would consistently punish offenders.
In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated a year ago, thousands were expected to gather at popular landmarks across the city centre for the countdown to 2021. Some said they were being cautious, but weren’t particularly worried.