Many big parties and fireworks have been canceled or reduced due to an increase in coronavirus infections around the world.

The year 2022 has arrived in some countries, the inhabitants of the South Pacific islands, Samoa and Kiribati, the first to start the new year at 10:00 GMT, and New Zealand an hour later.

In Australia, Sydney kicked off 2022 with six tons of colorful fireworks against the towering backdrop of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.

It will take 26 hours, until 12:00 GMT on Saturday, for the whole world to ring in the New Year.

Many big parties and fireworks have been canceled or reduced due to an increase in coronavirus infections around the world.

Here are the latest updates:


Fireworks celebrate New Year in North Korea

A light show and fireworks kicked off the New Year in North Korea, as leader Kim Jong-un celebrates 10 years in power.

The show took place against the backdrop of Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang.

In neighboring South Korea, the annual New Years Eve ringing ceremony in Seoul has been canceled due to an increase in the number of omicron cases.


Serbia prepares for New Year’s concert

Tens of thousands of visitors from across Eastern Europe and beyond are expected to witness a big musical event and fireworks display in downtown Belgrade.

“We love big public celebrations. We came here from Vienna precisely because here [it feels as if] there is no COVID-19, ”a woman told The Associated Press.

Many Belgrade residents seemed to share his sentiment and expressed their joy that their city is the only capital in the Balkans to have a big party to celebrate the New Year.

“Why should I be afraid? One person asked. “We have to live our life.


End-of-year cheers for South Africans as midnight curfew is lifted

South Africans have applauded the government’s decision to lift its midnight curfew after nearly two years of COVID-19-related restrictions, a relief for businesses and citizens just ahead of New Year’s celebrations.

“[The past two years] were tough on us, if you look at our neighbors most of the guys shut down that’s how bad it was, ”said Michael Mchende, 32, manager of the Hard Rock Cafe in Cape Town.

“For this brand, we all want to have a good time, so now that we’ve been allowed to have a good time, these doors are just going to be there to be displayed. We’re not going to close anymore, we’re all in it.

An undercover police officer is seen as customers line up to buy fireworks in front of St Mary’s Cathedral in Johannesburg, South Africa, ahead of New Year’s celebrations [Marco Longari/AFP]

Samoa celebrates New Year

Unlike last year, when public fireworks were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, they were allowed to be shot into the sky again on the South Pacific island of Samoa.

According to the tourism authority, the island state had brought in five pyrotechnics experts from New Zealand to set up the fireworks.


Fireworks welcome New Years Eve in Sydney

Sydney kicked off 2022 with six tons of colorful fireworks against the towering backdrop of Harbor Bridge and the Opera House.

Unlike last year, tens of thousands of spectators were once again admitted this time to watch the show live, despite a surge in the number of coronaviruses in the region. However, all participants had to purchase a ticket for one of around 30 viewpoints.

Citizens without reservations or vaccinations should avoid the city center if possible, the organizers had advised.

Fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House in New Year's Eve celebrationsThe Sydney Opera House is seen as fireworks explode over Sydney Harbor during New Years celebrations in Sydney, Australia [Jaimi Joy/Reuters]

Tonga welcomes 2022

In the Tonga archipelago, the forces of nature have not taken a break on New Year’s Eve.

Since Christmas, authorities have warned against the approach of the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano, which last erupted in 2014, but which is active again and spits ash and gas into the air.