New Year’s celebrations are being held around the world as many countries struggle to curb new spikes in coronavirus cases.
Fireworks displays and other public gatherings have been canceled from Sydney to New York.
Festivities are being particularly muted in Europe, amid fears over a new more contagious strain of the disease.
France has mobilized 100,000 police to break up New Year’s Eve parties and enforce a night-time curfew. The government has ordered a visible security presence in urban areas from 20:00 on December 31 when the curfew begins. In Paris half of the metro lines will be closed in the evening.
France has had two lockdowns and bars, restaurants and cultural attractions will remain shut into the new year.
Germany is currently under lockdown until January 10. The government has banned the sale of fireworks and placed tight restrictions on the number of people who can gather in public.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said the country would have the “quietest New Year’s Eve” in living memory.
The Netherlands is also under a lockdown, which is set to last until 19 January. Its usual countdown will take place behind closed doors at a soccer stadium in Amsterdam.
Turkey will begin a four-day-long lockdown on New Year’s Eve.
More than 1.8 million people have died with the virus across the world since the start of the pandemic a year ago. More than 81 million cases have been reported.
One of the first nations to welcome the New Year was Australia. The Sydney fireworks display went ahead, but crowds were not allowed to gather on the city’s harbor to enjoy it.
Many Sydney residents simply watched the pyrotechnics on TV at home, where gatherings are limited to five guests.
In China, the annual New Year light show in the capital Beijing has been called off. Celebrations are being scaled down in cities across the country.
Japan has canceled a traditional New Year event at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members were to greet people.
In India, Delhi and several other cities have imposed a night curfew and other restrictions to prevent large New Year gatherings.
However in New Zealand, where a strict lockdown and border closures have all but eliminated Covid, New Year celebrations were held as usual.
In the US officials have placed restrictions on festivities in many states and cities. In New York the illuminated Times Square Ball will be dropped during the traditional countdown to midnight, but the area will not be open to the public.
Fireworks have been canceled in cities including San Francisco and Las Vegas.