Sydney, Australia, Dec 31 (EFE).- The success of Australia’s vaccination campaign allowed it to celebrate New Year’s Eve under its new normal, including the traditional fireworks displays Friday.
The country, one of the first to celebrate the arrival of 2022 behind New Zealand and Pacific Islands, has fully vaccinated more than 90% of the target population and plans to accelerate the administration of booster doses from January.
The Sydney Harbor Bridge and the Opera House once again hosted the colorful pyrotechnics event with which thousands of Australians welcome the coming year.
The local authorities have not established a capacity limit, but mask are mandatory as a result of the recent outbreak of cases and concerns about the spread of the Omicron variant. Bars and restaurants can also accommodate without capacity restrictions.
Other large cities such as Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane will also host big celebrations.
Despite the rapid increase in Covid-19 cases in recent days, reaching daily highs, the Australian government reiterated that it does not plan on new restrictions and that the population will have to live with the virus.
Across the Tasman Sea, the New Zealand authorities and organizers canceled all the large celebrations scheduled to see out the year, including the traditional fireworks, due to the pandemic.
Despite success in its vaccination campaign, with more than 90% of the target population fully vaccinated, and recording only a handful of cases daily, the authorities have opted for a conservative strategy.
The colorful fireworks display will therefore not take place in Auckland, the first major city in the world to welcome 2022, as announced by the organizers at the end of November.
In addition, live music concerts and other entertainment activities have also been suspended in order to discourage people from gathering in large numbers on the city streets and the waterfront.
Wellington abandoned its zero-Covid strategy in October and adopted a traffic light system (where green is normal and red includes restrictions) in which strict lockdowns will be avoided.
Auckland, the most populous city in the country, is at the red level until the end of the year, so large-scale public gatherings are not allowed.
Despite the cancellation of the mass events, the celebration in bars and restaurants will be allowed under capacity limitations. EFE