As countries around the world begin to welcome in the New Year, there were muted celebrations in cities across Australia.
Many nations have re-imposed coronavirus restrictions as Covid cases continue to soar – with major cities, including London and Paris, canceling or curtailing their traditional NYE fireworks.
In Sydney, the world-renowned fireworks went ahead but city centers across Australia were expected to be much quieter than previous years, amid fears over the spread of the Omicron variant.
New Zealand marked the start of 2022 with a light show at Auckland’s harbor front, with Auckland Harbor Bridge and Sky Tower lit up in different colors.
The US CDC has said that coronavirus hospitalizations among children have reached record levels in recent weeks, as a new wave of infections sweeps across the country.
During the week of December 22-28 an average of 378 children under the age of 17 were admitted to hospitals each day with the virus, an of 66% increase from the week before.
The previous high over the course of the pandemic was in early September, when child hospitalizations averaged 342 admissions per day, the CDC said.
The FDA approved vaccinations for children aged 5-11 in October, but so far just 14% of those eligible are fully vaccinated. However, the inoculation rate is higher for 12 to 17-year-olds, at about 53%.
Coronavirus case have been surging across the US since mid-December as the new Omicron variant takes hold. The highly contagious variant accounted for 59% of new cases last week, according to the CDC.
South Africa has lifted a midnight to 04:00 curfew on people’s movement with immediate effect, after government officials announced on December 30 they believed the country has passed the peak of new coronavirus infections.
Figures released by the Department of Health showed a 29.7% decrease in the number of new cases detected in the week ending December 25.
Israel has started to administer fourth Covid vaccine shots to people with weakened immune systems, amid a surge in cases driven by Omicron.
It is one of the first countries in the world to do so.
Heart transplant patients at a hospital near Tel Aviv were among the first to get the jab.
The Israeli health ministry has also approved the fourth shot for residents in retirement homes and geriatric patients.
Israel rolled out its Covid-19 vaccine program at the world’s fastest rate and was the first country to routinely offer a booster shot in the summer.
New Year celebrations took place around the world to mark the start of 2014.
People in Auckland, New Zealand, were among the first to celebrate. In Australia, hundreds of thousands gathered for a spectacular firework display around Sydney’s Harbor Bridge.
Similar shows took place in cities across the world, with thousands lining London’s River Thames.
New York staged its traditional New Year’s Eve countdown and ball-drop over a chilly Times Square.
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a New York native, pushed the ceremonial button to drop the famous ball on a rooftop over the square.
Moscow also celebrated with a spectacular fireworks display over the Kremlin.
However, there was intense security in Red Square following recent suicide bombings in the southern Russian city of Volgograd.
Dubai – in the same time zone as Moscow – aimed for a world record with a fireworks extravaganza stretching along 30 miles of seafront.
Adjudicators from Guinness World Records were on hand to check proceedings, but it was not clear immediately whether the attempt was successful.
The world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, was the centrepiece of the display.
New Year celebrations took place around the world to mark the start of 2014
East Asian cities also rang in the New Year, with Beijing, Jakarta and Singapore all hosting celebrations.
In Hong Kong, tens of thousands of spectators watched the fireworks over Victoria Harbor.
The Chinese city of Wuhan had called off its display to avoid worsening a smog problem.
In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines. Japanese people traditionally visit shrines and temples to pray for their families at this time.
In the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, an estimated 100,000 people sang the national anthem in the city’s Independence Square in support of further integration with Europe.
The square has been the focus of pro-European protests for more than a month after President Viktor Yanukovych ditched a key deal with the EU.
As midnight struck across Western Europe, Berlin and Paris were among the capitals staging spectacular displays.
In London, the chimes of Big Ben signaled what was billed as the world’s first “multi-sensory” firework show, with peach-flavored “snow” and edible banana confetti showering crowds packing the banks of the River Thames.
Cape Town in South Africa staged a free concert with lasers, fireworks and a special tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.
In Brazil, organizers of Rio de Janeiro’s celebrations estimated that more than one million revelers packed the city’s famous Copacabana beach to watch fireworks light up the bay after midnight.
Thousands of people are attending Sydney’s traditional pyrotechnic as Australia welcomes 2014.
Celebrations around the world are under way to mark the start of 2014
Earlier, Auckland in New Zealand was one of the first cities to ring in the New Year, at 11:00 GMT on Tuesday.
In Japan, Shinto priests gathered at shrines to prepare to usher in the New Year.
Other cities globally are also planning big displays, with Dubai attempting a world record for the largest display.
Thousands of people are attending Sydney’s traditional pyrotechnic as Australia welcomes 2014
The display will be streamed live on the internet and organizers say it will stretch over 30 miles of seafront, with the highest fireworks reaching more than one kilometer in height.
While celebrations are expected in major Chinese cities, the city of Wuhan called off its display in order to avoid worsening the city’s smog problem.
Later on, festivities will be held in European cities including Moscow, Paris and London.
Cape Town in South Africa is planning a free concert with lasers, fireworks and a special 3D tribute to former President Nelson Mandela, who died on December 5.
New York will mark the New Year with the traditional New Year’s Eve countdown and ball drop over Times Square, while Rio de Janeiro is once again expecting more than two million people to pack its Copacabana beach.
Last night Lady Gaga led a galaxy of stars performing in Times Square to celebrate the New Year.
Lady Gaga, 25, put on a stellar show in front of the one million revellers gathered in New York to welcome in 2012.
The kooky singer was joined by the likes of Justin Bieber, Pitbull, LMFAO, Florence and The Machine and The Band Perry who all took to the stage throughout the evening.
As always, Lady Gaga did not disappoint and neither did her outfits with the singer enjoying several wardrobe changes throughout the evening.
When the time came activate the ball drop Lady Gaga was on hand to help New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Looking glittery as the orb itself, Lady Gaga was invited by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press the crystal button at 11:59 p.m. that triggered the decent of the 2012 New Year’s Eve Ball – a dazzling sphere 12 feet in diameter that weighs 11,875 pounds.
More than one ton of confetti – some of it inscribed with wishes for the New Year written by people across the globe –descended on the revellers in New York, who enjoyed an unseasonably warm New Year’s.
Lady Gaga was invited by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to press the crystal button at 11:59 p.m. that triggered the decent of the 2012 New Year’s Eve Ball
Dick Clark – who has hosted his New Year’s Eve special since the 1970’s – is again being helped this year by his protégé Ryan Seacrest for the 40th anniversary of the show. The ABC special has been expanded and now begins at 8:00 p.m., making the six-hour broadcast the longest ever.
Teen favorite Justin Bieber took to the stage alongside legendary guitar player Carlos Santana to perform the classic Beatles hit Let It Be.
Justin Bieber, 17, showed off his piano skills as he spoke about New Year’s resolutions but said “what’s done is done’.
He donned a bright red beanie, a camel colored coat, a Burberry scarf and maroon jeans for the occasion for his performance.
After the New Year celebrations were over Lady Gaga took to Twitter to talk about her experience.
Lady Gaga tweeted: “I cant even quite describe what tonight felt like. Sort of poetic madness. A dream come true. Moments recalling a leather taking the subway.
“My new years resolution: Never be afraid to be kicked in the teeth. Let the blood and the bruises define your legacy.”
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