Happy New Year 2022: New Years celebrations around the world are likely to be subdued in the shadow of COVID-19.

New Years celebrations in the past have been a time to relax and welcome the future with open arms. After two years of the pandemic with its intermittent waves causing immense pain around the world, it was hoped that the coming year would herald a fresh start. However, the coronavirus appears to have persisted and is riding the terrifyingly virulent Omicron variant, albeit less fatally – for now. The result: New Years celebrations around the world are likely to be subdued in the shadow of COVID-19.

Governments have urged people to avoid large gatherings and confine celebrations to family members and close friends while tightening the loose ends of their healthcare infrastructure. Travel restrictions and masking requirements are back as many cities are moving to ban or reduce New Year’s Eve events.

In New Delhi, the city government has issued a “yellow alert” on lock-like restrictions, which means that the night curfew will resume The rule is that offices will be opened to 50 percent staff and curbs will again be curbs at weddings and other social and religious gatherings. Last week the government banned all gatherings to celebrate Christmas and New Years.

Similarly, states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha have announced several restrictions, including a night curfew 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. and the ban on large gatherings.

Authorities in the United States, where Omicron has led to an alarming increase in new Covid cases, have ordered organizers to cancel several events. But the annual celebration in Times Square in New York is allowed with a maximum of 15,000 participants. Participants must wear masks and present a full vaccination certificate. The New Years countdown at Grand Park in Los Angeles is now streamed online.

Several parts of the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have restricted social gatherings and mass events after England reported a new high in Covid cases on Christmas Day had. London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced last week that the New Years Eve event in Trafalgar Square had been canceled. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that no new restrictions will be imposed before 2022, allowing nightclubs and pubs to open for New Years Eve celebrations.

This is one of the regions hardest hit by Omicron. Several countries in the EU have decided to reverse or ban the celebrations. French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced that large public parties will be banned on New Years Eve. The French capital Paris has canceled major celebrations, which would have included fireworks over the Champs-Elysees. The Italian cities of Rome and Venice have announced similar driving bans. The major event in Berlin, Germany, will be broadcast live on television.

There will be no fireworks over the Acropolis in Athens this year. Greece has announced that all public events planned by municipalities across the country for Christmas and New Years Eve have been canceled. Mask requirement was introduced. In the first week of January, the authorities are planning further restrictions.

The Thai capital Bangkok will allow celebrations, but with some drivers. Only open-air locations were allowed to accommodate guests. Participants in these events must be fully vaccinated and registered as walk-ins are not allowed.

Tokyo is hosting one of the largest New Years Eve celebrations in the world. However, like last year, the event at Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo was canceled.

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