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Australia celebrates the end of a year like no other


#Australia has finally completed a year that felt to many like it would never end.

#At the stroke of midnight residents up and down the country’s east coast were the first to cheer to the end of 2020, lookoing forward with hope for what 2021 could bring.

The #Sydney #Harbour fireworks display is seen over a near-empty #Sydney #Opera #House forecourt during #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations. (#Getty)
The #New #Years #Eve fireworks in #Sydney #Harbour as seen from #Mrs #Macquarie’s #Point. (#Dominic #Lorrimer)

#Masks and kisses as countries welcome 2021

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The fireworks were as bright as ever, but the mood was far different: CBD foreshores and parks were largely quiet, and the traditional thrum of restaurants and pubs was muted.

#It has been a year with more challenges than many have seen in a lifetime: from devastating bushfires to a global pandemic, nearly every resident in #Australia has been touched by events that started far overseas.

The #New #Years #Eve fireworks in #Sydney #Harbour as seen from #Mrs #Macquarie’s #Point. (#Dominic #Lorrimer)

The 2020 #Olympics were cancelled, family events and holidays postponed, weddings culled down to single-digit guests or called off altogether and in the middle of it all was a US election.

#Interest rates dropped to historic lows as unemployment (temporarily) threatened to rise to record highs.

#It became normal to wear surgical masks in supermarkets, and hundreds of thousands of businesses learnt to embrace the “pivot” in order to keep cash coming in.

The #Sydney #Harbour fireworks display is seen over a near-empty #Sydney #Opera #House forecourt during #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations. (#Getty)
The #Sydney #Harbour fireworks display is seen over a near-empty #Sydney #Opera #House forecourt during #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations. (#Getty)

#But many realise that the passing of a calendar year means little for a global virus that is seemingly mutating every few months.

NSW is currently battling an outbreak of cases that started on the #Northern #Beaches, and has since spread to #Sydney’s inner west.

#Sydney’s #New #Years #Eve #Fireworks as seen from #Mrs #Macquarie’s #Point. (#Dominic #Lorrimer)
#Sydney’s #New #Years #Eve #Fireworks as seen from #Mrs #Macquarie’s #Point. (#Dominic #Lorrimer)

#Victoria, having endured the longest lockdown of any state in #Australia, had its 61-day streak broken after three new cases were discovered yesterday.

#As a result, #Victorians are now asked to wear masks indoors and borders have once again been fortified to domestic travellers.

#Queensland, #South #Australia, the #Northern #Territory, the ACT and #Western #Australia all remain free of locally-acquired cases – but each have introduced border restrictions or quarantine mandates to prevent it spreading further.

A woman raises a glass of champagne to residents as she and her partner sit on a traffic island at #Bronte #Beach during #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations on #December 31, 2020 in #Sydney. (#Getty)
#Police look over a near-empty #Sydney #Opera #House forecourt on #December 31, 2020. (#Getty)
#Police patrol a near-empty #Sydney #Opera #House forecourt during #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations on #December 31, 2020. (#Getty)

#But, for all the doom and gloom, there is hope: a COVID-19 vaccine – several in fact – has been developed, and is currently in the process of gaining regulatory approval.

#While not foolproof, the vaccine is widely anticipated to ease domestic and international travel and reduce fear of community transmission.

#Authorities say the vaccine rollout is “on target”, with the first #Australians to receive their jab in #March.

#Masks and kisses in #Melbourne

A couple are seen kissing as they bring in the #New #Year at #Federation #Square in #Melbourne, #Australia. (#Getty)
#People are seen cheering and celebrating as they bring in the #New #Year at #Federation #Square in #Melbourne. (#Getty)

#New #Zealand the first to enter 2021

#Fireworks from the #SkyTower in #Auckland as #New #Zealand becomes the first major country to begin 2021. (#Getty)
#Fireworks from the #SkyTower in #Auckland as #New #Zealand becomes the first major country to begin 2021. (#Getty)
#Not much social distancing required in #Auckland. A crowd enjoys the #Jordan #Luck #Band during #Auckland #New #Year’s #Eve celebrations in #Auckland, #New #Zealand. (#Getty)
#Beyond #Blue’s #Coronavirus #Mental #Wellbeing #Support #Service is a 24/7 service free of charge to all #Australians. #Visit the site here or call 1800 512 348.
#For coronavirus breaking news alerts and livestreams straight to your smartphone sign up to the 9News app and set notifications to on at the #App #Store or #Google #Play.



[ source link ]
https://www.9news.com.au/national/new-years-eve-2020-australia-celebrates-the-end-of-a-year-like-no-other/91ef38a0-a65c-430d-92f1-34f69af1026f

##Australia #celebrates #year

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