New Year’s Eve 2022: Fireworks and celebrations from around the world – watch live

New YEar's celebrations - Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images

New YEar’s celebrations – Wendell Teodoro/Getty Images

New Year celebrations around the world have been called off as coronavirus casts gloom over festivities for a second year, but Australia and New Zealand were determined to enjoy the night and there were even signs North Korea was preparing fireworks.

New Zealand began the celebrations after easing its crowd limits on public gatherings just in time for New Year’s Eve, holding a light display in Auckland.

Festivities will ripple across the globe in line with time zones, with many countries including Britain facing a patchwork of restrictions which threaten to dampen spirits.

Revellers in England have been given the green light to party “cautiously”, but the three devolved nations face nightclub closures and limits on gatherings.

Australians told to ‘enjoy the evening’

Australia was determined to ring in the New Year with a bang despite surges in infections to record levels in certain places.

Fireworks were launched at midnight against the backdrop of the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, with spectators allowed at a number of ticket-controlled vantage points.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told Australians to “enjoy the evening”, while Dominic Perrottet, the premier of New South Wales, urged everyone to “head out and enjoy New Year” even as daily infections in the state nearly doubled.

Mr Perrottet said he took heart from the higher levels of vaccination and the fact that hospitals were coping with the wave of omicron. “Our position remains incredibly strong,” he said.

New Zealand - Dave Rowland/Getty Images for Auckland Unlimited

New Zealand – Dave Rowland/Getty Images for Auckland Unlimited

New Year - Dean Lewins/AAP/AP

New Year – Dean Lewins/AAP/AP

Social distancing rules are in place and masks are required indoors in Sydney, but thousands of people flocked to its harbourside to watch the fireworks, with queues forming at many vantage points from early in the morning.

North Korea also appeared to be preparing to buck the trend and celebrate the New Year, with midnight fireworks at Kim Il Sung Square in its capital, Pyongyang.

Commercial satellite imagery showed preparations were underway with a stage being installed in the square, according to NK News, a Seoul-based website that monitors North Korea.

The Rodong Sinmun state-run newspaper ran photographs of flower shops in Pyongyang crowded with mask-wearing customers buying blooms for the celebrations.

New Year's - Diego Fedele/Getty Images

New Year’s – Diego Fedele/Getty Images

New Year's - Ajit Solanki/AP

New Year’s – Ajit Solanki/AP

North Korea sealed it borders after the pandemic began and has not officially reported a single case of Covid-19.

Over the border in South Korea, the mood was not so festive.

A traditional midnight bell-ringing ceremony has been cancelled for the second year running and authorities announced an extension of stricter distancing rules for two weeks to tackle a persistent surge in infections.

China remains on high alert

China is on high alert against the virus, with 13 million people in the city of Xian under lockdown and New Year events in other cities cancelled.

Authorities in the Indonesian capital Jakarta will close 11 roads that usually draw big crowds for New Year, police said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia has banned big gatherings nationwide and cancelled a spectacular fireworks display at the Petronas Twin Towers in the capital, Kula Lumpur.

Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, took to his official YouTube channel to urge people to wear masks at parties and limit the number of people attending. While Tokyo’s famous Shibuya entertainment district has banned year-end parties.

Indian authorities started to impose stringent rules on Thursday to prevent big gatherings, with night curfews in all major cities and restaurants ordered to limit customers.

Despite the curbs, domestic tourists have been flocking to the famous beaches, pubs and nightclubs of Goa on the western coast to see in the New Year.

However, Taiwan will hold its celebrations almost as normal with a pop concert in front of city hall in the capital, Taipei. Those attending the concert will have to wear masks, register names and will only be allowed to drink water.