In pictures: World rings in New Year under Covid cloud, with hopes for a better 2022
In pictures: World rings in New Year under Covid cloud, with hopes for a better 2022

Good riddance to 2021. Let 2022 bring fresh hope.

That was a common sentiment as people around the world began welcoming in the new year.

In many places, New Year's Eve celebrations were muted or cancelled for the second straight year due to a surge of coronavirus infections, this time driven by the highly contagious Omicron variant. Even before Omicron hit, many people were happy to say goodbye to a second grinding year of the pandemic.

But so far, at least, the Omicron surge hasn't resulted in the same levels of hospitalizations and deaths as previous outbreaks — especially among vaccinated people — offering a glimmer of hope for 2022.

Australia went ahead with its celebrations despite an explosion in virus cases. Thousands of fireworks lit up the sky over Sydney's Harbor Bridge and Opera House at midnight in a spectacular display. Neighboring New Zealand had earlier opted for a more low-key approach, replacing its fireworks show in Auckland with a lights display projected onto landmarks including the Sky Tower and Harbor Bridge.

Because of where the international date line sits, countries in Asia and the Pacific region are among the first to usher in each new year.

Fireworks explode over the Chao Phraya River during New Year celebrations in Bangkok, Thailand, January 1, 2022. — Reuters
People take a selfie while the last sunset of 2021 hangs over Karachi, Friday, Dec 31. — AP
New Year's Eve fireworks light up the sky over Sydney's iconic Harbour Bridge during the fireworks show on January 1, 2022. — AFP
Students hold candles while participating in a demonstration to say goodbye to 2021 and welcome in 2022, in Lahore, Friday, Dec 31. — AP
A man swings a homemade fireworks sparkler after sunset during the last night of the year in Gaza City on December 31. — AFP
Beam lights are projected from the 123-storey Lotte World Tower skyscraper during a countdown lighting show to celebrate the New Year in Seoul on January 1. — AFP
People dance in front of a giant kite on a street during celebrations to welcome the New Year in Ahmedabad, India, December 31. — Reuters
Fireworks are seen at the former blast furnace of 'Phoenix West' in Dortmund, western Germany on New Year's Eve, December 31. — AFP
A barber colours the digits of the number 2022 after cutting a man's hair to welcome the new year, at a barbershop in Ahmedabad, India, December 31. — Reuters
Fireworks explode over the skyline to celebrate New Year in Hong Kong, China, January 1, 2022. — Reuters
People wearing face masks attend a New Year's countdown at an amusement park in Beijing on December 31. — AFP
Crowds of people celebrate the New Year around the Christmas tree with the St. Sofia Cathedral in the background in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, Dec 31. — AP
People watch fireworks set off from the beach to ring in the new year on January 1, 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. — AFP

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