Following the emergence of an unprecedented COVID-19 variant, Omicron, citizens all over the world ushered in 2022 with subdued celebrations.
Omicron appeared in the last quarter of 2021, lulling the usual hustle and bustle that accompanied the festive season, just when the world thought it was free of COVID-19.
Despite the low death and hospitalization rates, many countries have canceled elaborate celebrations to avoid a spike in cases due to the variant’s highly contagious nature.
As a result, London Mayor Sadiq Khan ordered that the annual spectacular fireworks display be broadcast live on television so that citizens can watch from the comfort of their own homes and reduce the risk of contracting the disease.
To the delight of locals, the Big Ben clock, which had been undergoing repairs for the previous four years, chimed 12 times to usher in the new year. In Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, bars and clubs were closed.
In France, however, residents were not complying with COVID-19 measures, which was a unique situation. Despite President Macron’s decision to cancel the annual colorful fireworks display at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, thousands of people gathered on the Champs-Elysées avenue to ring in the new year amid squeals and laughter.
Nigeria was no exception, as citizens defied the government’s order to assemble in religious centers masse for crossover services to usher in the year 2022. Excited night crawlers branched out to select joints after church services ended to continue the New Year’s celebrations.
Around 15,000 people, both locals and tourists, swayed their bodies in Times Square in New York City to James Blunt’s Living in America. As they shook balloons under falling confetti, revelers gathered to witness the annual ball drop that usually ushers in the new year.
The swearing-in ceremony for Eric Leroy Adams as the new mayor of New York City added to the excitement. Mr. Eric took his oath of office shortly after midnight, to rousing applause from the audience.
Residents of Auckland, New Zealand, were terrified of Omicron because there was no official fireworks display to ring in the new year.
Meanwhile, in Australia’s largest city, Sydney fireworks went off at 0.00 hours local time on Saturday, adorning the city’s firmament in alluring projectiles.
Residents in the Quebec region of Canada struggled to get home before midnight due to a curfew that was in effect from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. To combat the spread of the rampaging variant, Premier François Legault banned all forms of social gatherings on Thursday.
The traditional bell-ringing ceremony in South Korea has been canceled as the country battles a resurgence of the pandemic.
On the other hand, North Koreans braved the cold to attend an outdoor concert to commemorate Kim Jong Un’s ten-year rule. The event was held in Pyongyang’s Kim II Sung Square and featured a colorful fireworks display. Attendees, on the other hand, followed all COVID-19 protocols while wearing their masks throughout the event.