Photos: As curtain falls on 2020, New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world are muted

Boats are spaced around Sydney harbor as fireworks explode overhead.
New Year’s Eve fireworks explode around Sydney Opera House. Many watched the show from home this year.
(Wendell Teodoro / Getty Images)
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This New Year’s Eve is as unique as the year that’s coming to an end, with pandemic restrictions limiting celebrations and many bidding 2020 good riddance.

As the clock struck midnight across Asia and the South Pacific, the New Year’s experience mirrored countries’ responses to the virus itself. Some canceled or scaled back festivities, while others without active outbreaks — or ignoring rising cases — carried on as though it were any other year.

Australia was among the first to ring in 2021 because of its proximity to the international date line. In past years, 1 million people crowded Sydney’s harbor to watch fireworks. This time, many watched on television. Authorities had urged residents to stay home, and the most populous states, New South Wales and Victoria, were battling new outbreaks.

Here are photos of 2020 New Year’s Eve celebrations — and the lack thereof — from different parts of the globe.

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New York

Puddles on an empty New York street reflect buildings.
Barricades are set up in New York’s Times Square, which was closed for New Year’s Eve reportedly for the first time since 1907.
(Kena Betancur / AFP/Getty Images)

Rio de Janeiro

A long-stemmed red rose, surrounded by footprints, lies atop the sand at a beach.
On a beach in Rio, a flower has been placed as an offering during the ritual celebration in honor of Yemanja, the goddess of the sea. Beaches in the Brazilian city are closed due to the pandemic.
(Buda Mendes / Getty Images)

Berlin

A man in beanie, sunglasses and mask jobs along an empty roadway in Berlin.
A man runs in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Germany canceled the annual New Year’s Eve celebration at the site that usually draws hundreds of thousands of people.
(Michael Sohn / Associated Press)

Athens, Greece

People pose for photos in front of a 2021 sign and oversized ornament sculpture covered with Christmas lights.
People pose in front of lighted holiday sculptures in central Athens. Greece remains in lockdown for New Year’s.
(Louisa Gouliamaki / AFP/Getty Images)

Melbourne, Australia

A couple kiss amid a packed crowd, most without masks.
A couple kiss during the celebration at Federation Square in Melbourne, one of the cities in Australia battling an outbreak of the coronavirus, according to news reports.
(Asanka Ratnayake / Getty Images)

Moscow

A boy eats a soft pretzel and a girl wears a unicorn headband near a man dressed as Santa Claus.
A man dressed as Santa walks with children during a performance to mark New Year’s Eve in Moscow.
(Pavel Golovkin / Associated Press)
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Bangkok, Thailand

People in masks sit inside coffins, holding bouquets of flowers and praying.
People prepare to lie down in coffins in Bangkok during a resurrection ceremony at Wat Takien. The symbolic “rebirth” is intended to cleanse participants of bad karma.
(Lauren DeCicca / Getty Images)

Mandalay, Myanmar

People and a small boat are in silhouette on a river, with the sun behind them, large and low on the horizon.
People cross the Irrawaddy River near Mandalay during the last sunset of the year.
(Aung Shine Oo / Associated Press)