As majority of world set for muted 2021 celebrations
North Korea, China and Japan have marked the start of 2021, with millions around the world celebrating the New Year at home because of COVID-19.
North Korea began 2021 with crowds in the capital Pyongyang’s main square.
A concert and fireworks show was held amid COVID-19 restrictions.
North Korean television showed attendees wearing face masks but standing close together, waving glowing lights and balloons.
Performers without face coverings sang and danced on a stage decorated with a large, colourful “2021” sign.
Patriotic songs with lyrics such as “glory to the general Kim Jong Un” and “I like my country the best” were prominently featured.
Costumes included traditional Korean “hanbok” dresses, sequined dance suits and giant snowmen characters.
Some commentators told Sky News that the event looked smaller than last year’s.
North Korea has claimed it has no confirmed cases of coronavirus, despite having tested thousands.
The government has imposed near-total border closures as one of its strict COVID-19 measures.
Taiwan hosted its usual fireworks display by its capital city’s iconic tower, Taipei 101.
For its annual flag-raising ceremony in front of the Presidential Office Building on New Year’s morning, attendance was limited to government officials and invited guests.
The island has been a success story in the pandemic, registering only seven deaths and 700 confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Officials in Hong Kong cancelled the pyrotechnics over Victoria Harbour, as well as the annual iconic Lunar New Year parade in February.
This makes 2021 the second year in a row the city has missed out on the usually lavish annual celebrations.
Last year’s countdown fireworks and the 2020 Lunar New Year parade were both held in much diminished form due to the threat of anti-government protests.
Japan rang in the New Year without its annual event at which Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members greet members of the public.
In Tokyo, not only were all-night trains been cancelled on New Year’s Eve, but several of the city’s big countdown parties, concerts and other seasonal gatherings were called off as well, including the famous Shibuya Scramble Crossing party.
A bell chimed at the Sensoji temple.
China marked 2021 without its usual light show in the capital Beijing.
The city held a countdown ceremony with just a few invited guests, with other planned events cancelled.
In Wuhan, where the pandemic is thought to have originated, thousands gathered at several popular landmarks across the city centre for the countdown to 2021.
Source: Sky News