Millions around the world have been seeing out 2020 and ringing in the New Year, although the coronavirus pandemic has forced many celebrations behind closed doors.
While some cities launched fireworks over empty streets, others, such as London and Singapore, called their displays off. Paris, Rome and Istanbul were under curfew.
Fireworks soared into the sky above the Sydney Opera House in Australia, but the harbour below was a deserted ghost town, a fittingly creepy send-off for a year that will not be missed by many.
“What a hell of a year it’s been,” said Gladys Berejiklian, premier of New South Wales state, which includes Sydney. “Hopefully 2021 will be easier on all of us.”
Fireworks lit up the night sky in Taiwan to mark the beginning of 2021 as a number of cities cancelled their celebrations, moving them online instead.
The virus did not stop North Korea from staging its celebration in Pyongyang. State media showed revellers in face masks filling the main square for a concert and fireworks. Crowds solemnly listened to the North Korean national anthem as the national flag was raised at midnight on 31 December, before the short fireworks show started.
Dubai welcomed the new year with spectacular fireworks and a laser show at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building. Crowds gathered at Jumeirah beach and downtown Dubai to witness the colourful display.
In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated a year ago, thousands gathered at landmarks across the city centre to count down to 2021. A countdown ceremony and light show was held in the capital, Beijing.
President Xi Jinping said the year’s extraordinary hardship had allowed people to demonstrate their resilience: “Only in hard times can courage and perseverance be manifested. Only after polishing can a piece of jade be finer.”