Sydney to watch New Year Eve fireworks from home

Reuters Melbourne | Updated on December 28, 2020

Fireworks explode over Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge on New Year’s day, 2017 (file photo)   -  Reuters

Large gatherings banned amid December resurgence of Covid

Sydney, one of the world’s first major cities to welcome each New Year with a public countdown featuring a fireworks display over its well-known Opera House, has banned large gatherings that night amid an outbreak of the coronavirus.

A mid-December resurgence of Covid-19 in the city’s northern beach suburbs has grown to 125 cases after five new infections were recorded on Monday. About a quarter of million of people there must stay in strict lockdown until January 9.

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That has led to further restrictions of the already toned-down plans for New Year’s Eve. New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian banned most people from coming to Sydney’s downtown that night and limited outdoor gatherings to 50 people.

Only residents with permits

“We don’t want to create any super-spreading events on New Year’s Eve, which then ruins it for everybody across the state moving forward,” Berejiklian said at a news conference, adding that watching the fireworks from home was the ‘safest’ way to do so.

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Only residents with permits for hospitality venues downtown will be allowed there on New Year’s Eve. Households across Sydney are only allowed to host 10 people until further notice.

Australia, as a whole, has avoided the worst of the pandemic due to swift border closures, lockdowns, widespread testing and social distancing. It has recorded just over 28,300 infections, the overwhelming majority in Victoria state, and 908 deaths.

Published on December 28, 2020

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