This New Year’s Eve is being celebrated like no other in most of the world, with many bidding farewell to a year they’d prefer to forget.

Fallen confetti is seen on an empty street in Times Square during the virtual New Year's Eve event following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, January 1, 2021.
Fallen confetti is seen on an empty street in Times Square during the virtual New Year's Eve event following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, January 1, 2021. (Reuters)

Confetti fluttered on to frontline workers scattered across Times Square after fireworks burst above eerily quiet landmarks from Sydney Harbour Bridge to Copacabana beach, as the world ushered in the New Year with muted celebrations and said good riddance to a pandemic-ridden 2020.

After a grinding year that has seen at least 1.8 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.

In New York's famous Times Square, the usual overflow crowd was replaced with a group of specially invited frontline workers, separated by barricades to enforce social distancing.

An empty street is seen in Times Square during the virtual New Year's Eve event following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, December 31, 2020.
An empty street is seen in Times Square during the virtual New Year's Eve event following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, December 31, 2020. (Reuters)

In Brazil, where 195,000 people have died of Covid-19, the second-highest death toll, Rio de Janeiro blocked the usual swarms of revelers from gathering on Copacabana beach.

That did not stop people from lighting up the city's iconic skyline with amateur fireworks of their own.

A couple celebrates during New Year's Eve, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 1, 2021.
A couple celebrates during New Year's Eve, amid the coronavirus outbreak, in Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, January 1, 2021. (Reuters)

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

Fireworks are launched from the Sky Tower to mark the changing of the year on New Year's eve in Auckland, New Zealand, December 31, 2020.
Fireworks are launched from the Sky Tower to mark the changing of the year on New Year's eve in Auckland, New Zealand, December 31, 2020. (AP)

In Australia's largest city, Sydney, fireworks lit up the glittering harbor with a dazzling display, but few spectators watched in person.

Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as New Year celebrations begin in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2020.
Fireworks explode over the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge as New Year celebrations begin in Sydney, Australia, December 31, 2020. (AP)

Some Hong Kongers, despite restrictions, ventured out to mark the start of the year, gathering on the Victoria Harbour waterfront to take selfies.

People hold up their phones next to the water front of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on January 1, 2021.
People hold up their phones next to the water front of Victoria Harbour in Hong Kong on January 1, 2021. (AFP)

In Tokyo, where residents face the prospect of a state of emergency after infections touched new highs, people queued in face masks to offer New Year prayers.

Police direct visitors around Shibuya crossing, a popular location for New Year's Eve gathering in Tokyo, January 1, 2021.
Police direct visitors around Shibuya crossing, a popular location for New Year's Eve gathering in Tokyo, January 1, 2021. (AP)

Italy, where shocking images of makeshift morgues and exhausted medics awoke the world to the severity of the crisis, is on a nationwide lockdown until January 7 with a 10 pm (2100GMT) curfew in place.

A view of an empty Colle Oppio hill overlooking the Colosseum, usually a popular spot for New Year's Eve celebrations, in Rome, January 1, 2021.
A view of an empty Colle Oppio hill overlooking the Colosseum, usually a popular spot for New Year's Eve celebrations, in Rome, January 1, 2021. (AP)

Paris featured socially distanced gatherings, with a virtual concert and light show in the French capital.

French police patrol on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after celebrations and gatherings have been banned due to Covid-19 restrictions in France, December 31, 2020.
French police patrol on the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris after celebrations and gatherings have been banned due to Covid-19 restrictions in France, December 31, 2020. (Reuters)

In London, a few dozen revelers arrived in Parliament Square to watch Big Ben chime at 11:00 PM, marking the moment that Brexit finally became a reality, with Britain severing its turbulent half-century partnership with Europe.

Fireworks explode over Tower Bridge in the new year amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in London, Britain January 1, 2021.
Fireworks explode over Tower Bridge in the new year amid the coronavirus disease outbreak, in London, Britain January 1, 2021. (Reuters)
Source: TRTWorld and agencies