Sydney, Australia, Dec 28 (efe-epa).- Sydney will usher in the new year with its famous fireworks display in the heart of the city without the usual crowds, local authorities said on Monday, amid a recent Covid-19 outbreak in a district in the north of the city.
Only people with special permits to go to shops or hospitality venues would be allowed to enter the downtown area, said Gladys Berejiklian, head of the government of New South Wales state, whose capital is Sydney.
The fireworks display takes place over Sydney’s iconic Harbour Bridge and Opera House and is watched by over a million people, including tourists, every year from nearby parks and public spaces, as well as restaurants, skyscrapers, bars, and private yachts.
The spectacular display attracts a lot of global attention as Sydney is one of the first cities in the world to welcome in the new year.
In mid-December, health authorities detected a Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches district.
The authorities immediately put the 250,000 inhabitants of the area under lockdown on Dec.19 and reinforced social distancing measures in the rest of the city.
Five new cases of the local transmission were reported on Monday, taking the total number of infections linked to this outbreak to 127.
The New South Wales government said on Monday that it would extend the lockdown until next week.
The government will allow limited local gatherings during New Year’s Eve festivities like Christmas Day.
In the rest of the city, home gatherings have been restricted to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 50.
Berejiklian said the government had canceled its plan to give frontline workers a prime spot to watch New Year’s Eve fireworks display in Sydney.
Sydney, which is Australia’s most populous city with a population of 5.3 million, remains cut off from the rest of the country due to travel restrictions imposed by other states and territories to prevent the spread of the virus.
Australia – which has kept its international borders closed since March, with certain exceptions – has recorded more than 28,300 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic, including 908 deaths.
The vast majority of these were recorded during the Covid-19 outbreak in Melbourne, which has been without new local infections for nearly 60 days. EFE-EPA