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Dubai’s most expensive fireworks ever ‘watched by 200,000 foreigners’ despite Covid as Brits face NYE in lockdown


DUBAI said goodbye to 2020 with its most expensive fireworks display EVER – watched by 200,000 foreign tourists.

Strict social distancing was in place throughout the seven-and-a-half minute long display at Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest tower, which finished with the Pakistani flag.

The Crown Prince of Dubai said he hoped 2021 will be a better year

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The Crown Prince of Dubai said he hoped 2021 will be a better yearCredit: EPA
Fireworks over the ancient Acropolis in Athens

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Fireworks over the ancient Acropolis in AthensCredit: AFP or licensors
The UAE's celebrations were unrivalled

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The UAE’s celebrations were unrivalledCredit: AFP or licensors
Athens was treated to a stunning display

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Athens was treated to a stunning displayCredit: AFP or licensors
Red fireworks were set off over the Kremlin in Russia

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Red fireworks were set off over the Kremlin in RussiaCredit: EPA
Dubai rang in the new year with its most expensive fireworks display ever

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Dubai rang in the new year with its most expensive fireworks display everCredit: EPA
Fireworks over Athens in Greece

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Fireworks over Athens in GreeceCredit: AFP or licensors
The fireworks display spared no cost

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The fireworks display spared no costCredit: EPA
The Burj Khalifa was lit up for the New Year

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The Burj Khalifa was lit up for the New YearCredit: EPA
The UAE is a favorite for New Year

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The UAE is a favorite for New YearCredit: EPA
Incredible fireworks in Taiwan

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Incredible fireworks in TaiwanCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Fireworks in Taiwan lit up the night sky

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Fireworks in Taiwan lit up the night skyCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Crowds gathered in Moscow for the annual celebrations

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Crowds gathered in Moscow for the annual celebrationsCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Fireworks tonight in Russia

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Fireworks tonight in RussiaCredit: EPA
Meanwhile in Madrid, police patrolled the streets to enforce the strict Spanish lockdown

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Meanwhile in Madrid, police patrolled the streets to enforce the strict Spanish lockdownCredit: EPA

Hamdan bin Mohammed, the Crown Prince of Dubai said he hoped next year would be better in his annual message.

He tweeted: “We end this year with optimism that 2021 and beyond will be better, brighter and happier for us all.

“With faith, determination and confidence, we are prepared to overcome any challenges and stick to our goals. Happy New Year to you all, from the UAE to the world.”

Dubai is one of the world’s top destinations for New Year’s Eve, with flocks of celebs, influencers and well-to-do Brits flocking to the UAE despite a new highly infectious strain of coronavirus tearing through the UK.

Abbey Clancy deleted snaps taken on a festive family holiday in Dubai, after a backlash from Brits stuck at home, and Simon Cowell is currently enjoying his annual trip to Barbados.

And Love Island star Amber Gill flew to Dubai just before new restrictions hit London and has been there ever since.

She was joined in the luxury resort by fellow Love Islander Kaz Crossley.

She claimed she was confused by the new levels, adding: “Just want to put it out there. I had no idea Tier 4 was a thing…

“The flight here was booked way before I thought the changes were being made, on the 16th, meaning I was still allowed to travel for work…

“I have no idea what I’m doing. I was only supposed to be here for 4 days. Now I don’t know where I’m supposed to go or if I should stay here. It’s all mad.”

Amber took to Instagram stories to explain to fans that she was holding back on posting holiday snaps because she didn’t want to be ‘tone deaf’.

But as she filmed her video explanation, 26-year-old Kaz shocked her by shouting “f*** them”.

But while most Brits are stuck at home, with a glass of fizz and Jools’ Annual Hootenanny to ring in the New Year, millions of people across the globe are able to celebrate in style, thanks to low covid levels in their areas.

Only 25 people have died of Covid-19 in New Zealand, where restrictions are now almost non existent

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Only 25 people have died of Covid-19 in New Zealand, where restrictions are now almost non existent Credit: @NiwaWeather
A couple are seen kissing as they bring in the New Year in Australia

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A couple are seen kissing as they bring in the New Year in Australia Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The Kiwi's have already rung in their new year, seen above enjoying Covid-free life

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The Kiwi’s have already rung in their new year, seen above enjoying Covid-free life Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Seoul saw crows of people gathering for New year's Eve celebrations

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Seoul saw crows of people gathering for New year’s Eve celebrations Credit: Reuters
Huge crowds gathered at Federation Square in Melbourne

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Huge crowds gathered at Federation Square in MelbourneCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Most who gathered to ring in the New Year did not wear a mask

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Most who gathered to ring in the New Year did not wear a mask Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Sophie Jackson and Monique Lee, both from Christchurch, attend New Year celebrations in Hagley Park

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Sophie Jackson and Monique Lee, both from Christchurch, attend New Year celebrations in Hagley ParkCredit: AP:Associated Press
Some revellers opted to wear a mask while out celebrating

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Some revellers opted to wear a mask while out celebrating Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Incredible scenes as fireworks as explode over Thailand

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Incredible scenes as fireworks as explode over ThailandCredit: AFP or licensors
Fireworks in Thailand lit up the night

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Fireworks in Thailand lit up the night Credit: AFP or licensors
Celebrations are underway in Hong Kong

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Celebrations are underway in Hong KongCredit: AFP or licensors
Buddhists in Seoul, South Korea usually go to Jogyesa Buddhist temple for an annual bell-ringing ceremony but due to Covid-19 restrictions this was cancelled

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Buddhists in Seoul, South Korea usually go to Jogyesa Buddhist temple for an annual bell-ringing ceremony but due to Covid-19 restrictions this was cancelled Credit: Rex Features
Singapore's Marina Bay hosted a light show as people watched on from the ground

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Singapore’s Marina Bay hosted a light show as people watched on from the ground Credit: Rex Features

After a year that has seen at least 1.7 million people die from Covid-19, fresh waves of infection have sparked renewed lockdowns and forced would-be revellers to extend their 2020 tradition of watching events from the sofa.

Samoa and Christmas Island became the first place to welcome 2021 at 10am this morning, while Baker and Howland Island will become the last tomorrow at midday.

The world will be happy to see back of 2020, but many face a grim evening tonight as they have to ring in the new year under tough restrictions

New Zealand, which has won plaudits for its handling of the coronavirus, with large crowds gathered in Auckland to watch a fireworks display.

Although still isolated by international border closures, months of zero recorded cases in the community have let life in New Zealand return to relative normality.

In Australia’s largest city, Sydney, pyrotechnics lit up the glittering harbour with a dazzling display, but few spectators were allowed there to watch in person.

“I think everybody is looking towards 2021 as a fresh beginning and a fresh start,” Karen Roberts, among the lucky few who were allowed past checkpoints around the area, told AFP at a bar nestled under the Sydney Opera House.

Plans to allow crowds were scrapped amid a cluster of around 150 new infections that have seen travel to and from Sydney severely restricted.

There were huge crowds seen in Hong Kong

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There were huge crowds seen in Hong KongCredit: AP:Associated Press
Fireworks erupt near the Sydney Opera House

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Fireworks erupt near the Sydney Opera HouseCredit: Alamy Live News
The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House were lit up with a fireworks display

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The Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House were lit up with a fireworks display Credit: AFP or licensors
Fireworks exploding over the Chao Phraya River in Thailand

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Fireworks exploding over the Chao Phraya River in ThailandCredit: Reuters
Crowds waited for the new year to come in during the Auckland celebrations

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Crowds waited for the new year to come in during the Auckland celebrations Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Crowds gathered in Moscow, Russia to bring in the New Year

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Crowds gathered in Moscow, Russia to bring in the New YearCredit: Alamy Live News
Fireworks erupt in Auckland as NZ won praise for its handling of the pandemic

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Fireworks erupt in Auckland as NZ won praise for its handling of the pandemicCredit: Getty Images – Getty
New Year's Eve celebrations were held with few restrictions in Singapore

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New Year’s Eve celebrations were held with few restrictions in Singapore Credit: Rex Features
Crowds of people wear masks as they pray at the Kanda Myojin shrine on the first day of the new year in Tokyo, Japan

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Crowds of people wear masks as they pray at the Kanda Myojin shrine on the first day of the new year in Tokyo, Japan Credit: Reuters

Crowds of partiers filled the main square in the North Korean capital Pyongyang on Thursday night to watch a concert and fireworks show marking the new year, state media showed, amid restrictions aimed at preventing a coronavirus outbreak.

State television showed participants wearing face masks but standing close together as they waved glowing lights and balloons in Kim Il Sung Square.

None of the performers were wearing protective masks as they sang and danced on a stage decorated with a large, colourful “2021” sign.

Costumes included traditional Korean “Hanbok” dresses and sequinned dance suits.

Giant snowman characters clapped along as performers sang songs with patriotic refrains such as “glory to the general Kim Jong Un” and “I like my country the best”.

North Korea has said it has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, though it has tested thousands of people, and the government has imposed near total border lockdowns and other strident measures to prevent an outbreak.

Multi-coloured fireworks were seen over Athens

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Multi-coloured fireworks were seen over Athens Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Fireworks were let off at a department store in Bankok, Thailand

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Fireworks were let off at a department store in Bankok, ThailandCredit: Getty Images – Getty
North Korea held a concert in Pyongyang to celebrate the end of 2020

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North Korea held a concert in Pyongyang to celebrate the end of 2020Credit: Reuters
North Korea's capital show a concert and fireworks display via state media

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North Korea’s capital show a concert and fireworks display via state media Credit: Reuters
Russian Father Frost was around to help bring the festive spirit in Moscow -

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Russian Father Frost was around to help bring the festive spirit in Moscow – Credit: AP:Associated Press
Crowds in Pyongyang, New Year gathered to mark the new year

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Crowds in Pyongyang, New Year gathered to mark the new yearCredit: Reuters

In the Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic originated a year ago, thousands were expected to gather at popular landmarks across the city centre for the countdown to 2021. Some said they were being cautious, but weren’t particularly worried.

“Safety is the priority,” said Wuhan resident Wang Xuemei, 23, a teacher.

In Italy, there won’t be any celebrations due to the nationwide lockdown tat last until January 7. 

Italy was where shocking images of makeshift morgues and exhausted medics awoke the world to the severity of the crisis. 

Wuhan rings in the New Year while exactly one year ago officials there discovered Covid-19

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Wuhan rings in the New Year while exactly one year ago officials there discovered Covid-19Credit: REUTERS
Wuhan faced one of the toughest lockdowns last year, but now has almost returned to normal

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Wuhan faced one of the toughest lockdowns last year, but now has almost returned to normalCredit: REUTERS
Questions have been asked over how honest China has been over the outbreak

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Questions have been asked over how honest China has been over the outbreakCredit: REUTERS

From France to Latvia to Brazil, police and in some cases military personnel are being deployed to make sure night-time curfews or bans on large gatherings are enforced.

In London, 74-year-old American singer-songwriter Patti Smith will ring in the New Year with a tribute to National Health Service workers who have died from Covid-19, projected on the screen at Piccadilly Circus and streamed on YouTube.

In Madrid’s usually teeming Puerta del Sol square, there will be no screaming revellers delightedly stuffing grapes into their mouths – one for every stroke of midnight, according to tradition. Spain’s midnight curfew has been extended to 1:30 am for the night, but most people are expected to stay at home.

As police dragged metal barriers across the square, 61-year-old retiree Jose Angel Balsa said he would spend the evening “with family, just the four of us at home, holding lots of video calls and hoping for this to end as soon as possible.”

What time is the world ringing in NYE?

NEW Year celebrations are likely to be subdued this year – but which nation kicks off the New Year first? With 2021 arriving at different times across the globe, here’s a list of who rings in the New Year first and last.

December 31st 2020

  • 10am – Samoa and Christmas Island/Kiribati
  • 10:15am – New Zealand
  • 1pm – Most of Australia
  • 3pm – Japan, South Korea and North Korea
  • 4pm – China, Philippines, Singapore
  • 5pm – Thailand, Cambodia and large parts of Indonesia
  • 6pm – Bangladesh
  • 6.15pm – Nepal
  • 6.30pm – India and Sri Lanka
  • 7pm – Pakistan
  • 8pm – Azerbaijan
  • 8.30pm – Iran
  • 9pm – Turkey, Iraq, Kenya and most of Russia
  • 10pm – Greece, Romania, South Africa, Hungary and other central and eastern European cities
  • 11pm – Germany, France, Italy, Algeria, Belgium, Spain
  • Midnight – UK, Ireland, Ghana, Iceland, Portugal

January 1st 2021

  • 2am – Regions of Brazil
  • 3am – Argentina, regions of Brazil, Chile, Paraguay
  • 4am – Some regions of Canada, Bolivia, Puerto Rico
  • 5am – Eastern Standard Time in the US – New York, Washington, Detroit and Cuba
  • 6am – Central Standard Time in the US – Chicago
  • 7am – Mountain Standard time in the US – Colorado, Arizona
  • 8am – Pacific Standard Time in the US – LA, Nevada
  • 9am – Alaska
  • 10am – Hawaii
  • 11am – American Samoa
  • 12pm – Baker Island, Howland Island

 

Thailand has begun to ring in their new year with Buddhist devotees gathering at an outer part of Bangkok to take part in a coffin resurrection ceremony. 

The ritual takes place at Nanthaburi’s Wat Takien, with the intention to bring good luck and wash away any past misfortune from those who participate.

The actual ceremony includes laying inside a coffin while monks cover it with a shroud while chanting death rites prayers. 

When the ritual is complete the participants raise from the coffin, symbolically showing the process of resurrection. 

Thai devotees can be seen lying down for the resurrection ceremony, with bad karma being cleansed and blessings of good fortune welcomed

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Thai devotees can be seen lying down for the resurrection ceremony, with bad karma being cleansed and blessings of good fortune welcomed Credit: Getty Images – Getty
The ritual took part in the outer part of Bangkok, with worshippers looking to wash away any misfortune of the past year

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The ritual took part in the outer part of Bangkok, with worshippers looking to wash away any misfortune of the past yearCredit: Zuma Press
Buddhists in Thailand take part in the resurrection ceremony to ring in the new year

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Buddhists in Thailand take part in the resurrection ceremony to ring in the new yearCredit: Zuma Press

Thousands are expected to attend a fireworks and a laser show in Dubai at the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest tower, despite an influx of new cases.

All those attending the event whether at a public place, hotel or restaurant will be required to wear masks and register with QR codes.

In Beirut, a city still reeling from the August 4 port explosion, authorities are cutting loose with a night curfew has been pushed back to 3 am. 

Bars, restaurants and nightclubs have all reopened and are advertising large parties to mark the turn of the year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday used her New Year greeting to warn Germans the “historic” coronavirus crisis will extend into 2021 even if vaccines bring some hope.

In Brazil, which has already recorded more than 193,000 Covid-19 deaths, the second-largest number in the world, medical workers are awaiting a new wave.

“The pandemic peak was between May and July, which was when there wasn’t a lot of movement and we looked after ourselves more. Now there are many cases and people are acting as if there wasn’t a pandemic,” said Luiz Gustavo de Almeida, a microbiologist at the University of Sao Paulo.

Spanish cops used drones to enforce the strict lockdown in Madrid

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Spanish cops used drones to enforce the strict lockdown in MadridCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Police on the streets in Madrid enforcing Spain's strict lockdown

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Police on the streets in Madrid enforcing Spain’s strict lockdownCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Huge crowds gather in the street in Wuhan for New Year’s Eve celebrations





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