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Happy New Year 2021 Live Updates: Virus fears loom over muted celebrations as the world welcomes 2021

New Year 2021 Live Updates: Across the world, celebrations were toned down due to Covid-19 fears; India introduced night curfews in several cities to avoid case spikes.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 1, 2021 2:45:59 pm
Visual from Gulmarg, Kashmir. (Express photo: Shuaib Masoodi)

Happy New Year 2021 Celebrations Live Updates: After a tumultuous year wreaked by the Coronavirus pandemic, the world welcomed the year 2021 with cautioned celebrations. This year’s festivities were subdued due to the rising cases and the rapid spread of the new UK Covid-19 strain, whose first 6 cases were detected on December 29 in India.

From New York’s Times Square to Sydney Harbor, big public revelries have been turned into TV-only shows and digital events.. Germany has banned the sale of fireworks, which residents usually set off in on the streets, and a pyrotechnics show at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate has been called off. Similar is the case of the fireworks show over the River Thames in locked-down London.

In India, Delhi has announced night curfew on New Year’s Eve, restricting more than five people to assemble at a public place. According to the order, no celebratory events, congregations and gatherings at public places are permitted from 11 pm of December 31 to 6 am of January 1, 2021.

In Maharashtra, while hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars will close at 11 pm and large gatherings were prohibited in public places, families were allowed to hold parties in residential places provided it is a small group and social distancing norms are maintained. In Ahmedabad, the restrictions will be effective between 10 pm, Thursday and 6 am Friday. The police restricted hotels from hosting any late-night parties on New Year Eve on Thursday.

Live Blog

New Year 2021 Live Updates: New Year celebrated in lieu with Covid-19 protocols around the world; Delhi announced night curfew for New Year's Eve. Follow Live Updates here.

12:30 (IST)01 Jan 2021
A Covid-19 vaccine volunteer in Pune: ‘Like dust gets cleared, so will Covid be… Picture abhi baaki hai’

“Mild fever and body ache for a day or two.” Four months after he, eight members of his family and six employees at his home and office became among the first volunteers in India for trials of the Covishield vaccine, Pune-based Arun Khanna says that his routine is back to pre-Covid days, but for that brief interlude when he received his first dose.

The 64-year-old takes his two dogs, Naughty and Angel, out for a walk, and then settles down to work from home, these days not going to his office, that is a five-minute drive from his sprawling bungalow. Khanna has also taken two outstation trips since — with family to Amby Valley near Pune and with his chartered accountant to Vaishno Devi.(Read Anuradha Mascarenhas's report here)

10:46 (IST)01 Jan 2021
It’s back to class in Assam: ‘We told each other I’ll come if you do… Now entire batch here’

On November 2, when Himakshi Das saw Pinky at the temperature check queue at Guwahati’s Kamakhya Higher Secondary School, she almost rushed to give her best friend a hug — a pre-class, morning ritual for the last six years. But soon, the 11-year-old remembered her father’s words from the night before, and stuck to, “How are you?” through her new N-95 mask, from a safe distance. “Pinky did not hear me but I was happy,” says Himakshi. It had been, after all, eight months since the Class 6 student had last gone to school, met her teachers, or seen her best friend.

A week before her classes resumed, Himakshi’s father, who runs a hardware store in Guwahati, refused to sign the mandatory consent form allowing her to attend school. “He was worried. But I told him, life must go on, and if we want our daughter to be something, do something, she needs to go to school,” says Dipali Das, Himakshi’s mother. Eventually, he agreed. (Read Tora Agarwala's report here)

10:29 (IST)01 Jan 2021
From politics to science, the women trailblazers of 2020

The year 2020 showcased women’s stories of resilience and strengthened their resolve to fight harder for their rights. It provided opportunities to break barriers like never before.The coronavirus pandemic shed light upon female leadership like never before. According to data, countries led by women suffered six times fewer Covid-19 fatalities as compared to countries led by men. Women led countries were also more effective and rapid in flattening the case curve.

From women leaders’ meticulous handling of Covid-19 in their countries, to legal wins for women rights and to some surprising firsts, take a look at the defining moments for women this year here.

09:38 (IST)01 Jan 2021
In New Year messages, Trump reflects while Biden looks ahead

President Donald Trump in a New Year's Eve message reflected on his accomplishments in office, calling them "historic victories," while his successor, President-elect Joe Biden, struck an upbeat tone in looking ahead to 2021.After weeks of vowing to win his fight to remain in office, Republican Trump said in a video posted on Twitter: "We have to be remembered for what's been done.While President Elect Joe Biden paid tribute to healthcare workers and encouraged people to get vaccinated in a brief appearance with his wife, Jill Biden, on ABC news.""I'm absolutely, positively confident - confident - we're going to come back and we're going to come back even stronger than before," said Biden, who takes office on Jan. 20.

09:32 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Tech predictions for 2021: The world inside your home

The Covid-19 pandemic and the unprecedented lengths to which we had to go to keep its spread under check also resulted in never-before imagined dependence on technology. The entire world was suddenly stuck at home with real life getting an unnerving accent of virtual reality as we tried to get close to friends, family and colleagues without actually being there. 

For a change, as everyone uncharacteristically trudges towards a new year with caution, there is a lot you can expect in the world of technology. What has happened in 2020 will have a significant impact in how technology shapes up in the coming year. This is very unusual, because technology is usually forward looking. But it all depends on things remaining at least the way they are — ceteris paribus as the economists would say. Here is our punt on what the tech world will be like in 2021. (Read Nandagopal Rajan's explainer here)

08:50 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Editorial| This was a year of the shrinking public sphere. Here’s to stepping out, without stepping over

2020 began with people’s sit-ins against a discriminatory citizenship law in open spaces and mohallas across the country; it is ending with farmers’ dharnas on the borders of the national capital against laws that have stoked unaddressed anxieties. 

The year of the coronavirus saw the very idea and reality of the public sphere become embattled and besieged in new and never-before ways. As people and institutions receded behind a mask, and swaddled themselves in PPEs, it also brought home the necessity in the new year of stepping out again — into shared spaces made more precious by being threatened, commons that must now be made larger and more encompassing.

This is the challenge of the new year and it will not be easy. It will require the vaccine but not just that. It will need the continuing efforts and innovations of the COVID warriors at the frontlines — the scientists, the doctors and the nurses, and other healthcare workers. 

08:19 (IST)01 Jan 2021
PM Modi greets the nation on New Years 2021

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Friday extended his greetings on the occasion of New Year and hoped that the year 2021 brings “good health, joy and prosperity.” In a tweet, Modi said, “Wishing you a happy 2021! May this year bring good health, joy and prosperity. May the spirit of hope and wellness prevail.” Modi is set to lay the foundation stone of Light House Projects (LHPs) under Global Housing Technology Challenge-India (GHTC-India) virtually at 6 sites across six States today.

00:54 (IST)01 Jan 2021
New Year 2021: Visuals from Kashmir's Gulmarg

00:17 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Express Editorial: Happy New Year

It was the year when the people claimed the public space, when barriers were erected in their way, and when a powerful virus sought to push them back into private corners and places. 2020 began with people’s sit-ins against a discriminatory citizenship law in open spaces and mohallas across the country; it is ending with farmers’ dharnas on the borders of the national capital against laws that have stoked unaddressed anxieties. The anti-CAA protesters were dispersed by the onset of the pandemic but the farmers’ protests have seemed undeterred by the still raging public health emergency — the government sought to paint both as misguided and as a conspiracy but in the latter case has, belatedly but wisely, kept the door open for discussion. In between, the year of the coronavirus saw the very idea and reality of the public sphere become embattled and besieged in new and never-before ways. As people and institutions receded behind a mask, and swaddled themselves in PPEs, it also brought home the necessity in the new year of stepping out again — into shared spaces made more precious by being threatened, commons that must now be made larger and more encompassing. Read more here.

00:14 (IST)01 Jan 2021
New Year 2021: Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal extends wishes

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal extends wishes

00:09 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Rahul Gandhi extends New Year wishes

Rahul Gandhi extends New Year wishes, tweets: "My heart is with the farmers and labourers fighting unjust forces with dignity and honour."

00:01 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Muted celebrations as India welcomes 2021

After a year of the pandemic, which brought with it deaths, lockdowns, economic insecurities and anxiety, the world is set for a new beginning in 2021. Earlier today, people across the globe bid adieu to 2020, and welcomed the new year with hopes of happiness and prosperity.

However, several countries are witnessing tepid New Year celebrations as the risk of Covid-19 is not over yet. From New York’s Times Square to Sydney Harbor, big public revelries have been turned into TV-only shows and digital events, reported The Associated Press.

In India, Delhi and many other cities have announced night curfew on New Year’s Eve, restricting gatherings at public places. Germany has banned the sale of fireworks, which residents usually set off in on the streets, and a pyrotechnics show at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate has been called off. Similar is the case of the fireworks show over the River Thames in locked-down London.

00:00 (IST)01 Jan 2021
Visuals from Bengaluru

Police tighten vigil across Bengaluru city

23:58 (IST)31 Dec 2020
Heavy security deployed at Delhi's Connaught Place

Heavy security deployed at Delhi's Connaught Place on New Year Eve. The city has announced a night curfew on New Year’s eve restricting more than five people to assemble at a public place.

23:12 (IST)31 Dec 2020
Britain urges 'see in New Year safely at home'

On New Year's Eve, the British government is running ads imploring people not to celebrate with anyone outside their household.
The campaign is urging Britons to “see in the New Year safely at home.”

No parties, no hugging strangers, no mass choruses of “Auld Lang Syne.”

Stephen Powis, medical director of the National Health Service in England, says “COVID loves a crowd”.

Most of the country''s population is under lockdown measures to slow the spread of a new, easily transmissible coronavirus strain. Social gatherings involving multiple households are barred. Police will be patrolling to deter groups planning to celebrate or to mark Britain''s final economic split from the European Union. (AP)

21:45 (IST)31 Dec 2020
New Year's Eve fireworks are cancelled due to Covid situation in Singapore

People watch a light show, as the traditional New Year's Eve fireworks are cancelled due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at Marina Bay in Singapore December 31, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su

20:49 (IST)31 Dec 2020
Bengaluru/Chennai say no to public celebrations to welcome 2021

The new year festivities in Bengaluru will be lacklustre this year following the prohibitory orders imposed by the city police to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and its new variant.

Chennai will also see virtually no public celebrations as the government has already banned such festivities in restaurants, hotels, clubs and resorts, including beach resorts, on Thursday and Friday.

The Bengaluru police have imposed prohibitory orders under section 144 of the CrPC from 6 pm on Thursday to 6 am Friday.

The city is known for its grand gala celebrations during the New Year and the major hub of activities used to be MG Road, Church Street, Brigade Road, Koramangala and Indiranagar.

Now, according to the order passed by the Bengaluru Police Commissioner Kamal Pant, these places are "No-Man Zones."

To prevent the unnecessary travelling in the night, the police closed major flyovers for traffic.

20:22 (IST)31 Dec 2020
In Photos | How countries are ringing in New Year with a bang
20:15 (IST)31 Dec 2020
North Korea celebrates the New Year with firework display
19:04 (IST)31 Dec 2020
Delhi: North Block and South Block illuminated on the eve of New Year

Days ahead of the ball drop in Times Square, it clearly wasn’t New Year’s as usual at the Crossroads of the World. There was room to roam on sidewalks that would normally be all but impassable. Vendors’ carts and window displays at the area’s struggling gift shops flaunted few 2021-themed souvenirs as workers set up a stage for a celebration that will unfold this year without the usual throngs of cheering, kissing revelers. Police will block off the area so spectators can’t get a glimpse.

The Netherlands moved the national countdown from an Amsterdam park to a soccer stadium, where spectators won't be allowed in and pyrotechnics will be replaced with "electric fireworks", AP reported. In Rome, the fireworks will still go up, but customary concerts in public plazas have been cancelled in favour of livestreamed performances and art installations. Pope Francis will skip his typical December 31 visit to the Vatican's life-sized Nativity scene in St Peter's Square and has planned to deliver his New Year's Day blessing indoors, to prevent crowds from gathering. Rio de Janeiro too did away the fireworks, open-air concerts and rooftop parties this year.

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