Following a Painful 2020, Asia Moves with Caution into 2021

As Asia bid adieu to 2020, a torturous year that engulfed the planet into a deadly pandemic, celebrations for the coming year is going to be shorter, smaller, and kind of silent due to scary chances of coronavirus flare-ups.

Canceled Light Show in China

In Beijing, the capital of China, the world’s most populous country, the annual New Year light show at the China Central Television Tower scheduled for Thursday through Sunday has been canceled.

The Beijing Yonghe Lama Temple, a tourist site, has also decreased the number of visitors permitted to half since Thursday. A lot of Chinese tourists are opting to stay at home or taking shorter domestic trips.

The coronavirus occurred a year ago in Wuhan, the central Chinese city of China, and has since spread its roots globally, infecting more than 82 million people and taking the lives of over 1.7 million.

In Wuhan, the place where the pandemic is believed to have born, thousands are anticipated to gather at many popular landmarks across the city center for welcoming the New Year and for the countdown to 2021. Some stated that they were being cautious; however, weren’t particularly worried.

“Safety is the priority,” said a Wuhan resident, Wang Xuemei, 23, a teacher.

“It’s fine because these measures aren’t enforced very strictly,” added her friend and colleague Wang Anyu. “You can still go out.”

Restricted Movement in Australia

Australia arranges fireworks over the Sydney Opera House that are believed to be a visual treat of the season. However, this year Australia has restrained movement in many places and curbed the permission for gatherings and movement even for internal borders. Most people are not allowed to come to Sydney’s downtown on Thursday night.

“What a hell of a year it’s been,” said Gladys Berejiklian, the premier of New South Wales state, where Sydney is located. “Hopefully 2021 will be easier on all of us.”

Called Off Events in Japan

Celebrations in Japan have also been affected due to weather and COVID-19. The country is calling off events and cutting public services.

Imperial Household Agency of Japan has called off an annual New Year’s event planned for January 2 because of the pandemic. The event was planned to have Emperor Naruhito and other imperial family members to greet well-wishers.

Shrines have urged people to stagger visits on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. East Japan Railway Company and Tokyo Metro are calling off extra train services in the Tokyo metropolitan starting from late on December 31 to January 1. Meanwhile, the snow has covered many parts of the country resulting in the cancellation of around 140 flights and many more disruptions.

In Singapore’s downtown Marina Bay, no fireworks will take place to celebrate the arrival of the New Year. This is happening for the first time since 2005 when the annual tradition began. Instead, fireworks are expected to be set off at different locations across the Southeast Asian city-state.

Online Concert of BTS

BTS, the globally famous band is organizing an online concert on Thursday night in South Korea, while audiences present elsewhere in the country are waiting to see whether their neighbors to the north perform their annual New Year fireworks show in Pyongyang.

Elsewhere in South Korea, the government has shut down the beaches in Gangueng, on the country’s east coast. Traditionally, people go there to see the first sunrise of the New Year. Seoul’s Bosingak bell-ringing ceremony was annulled for the first time since 1953; however, it can be seen “virtually” on the city’s website.

Many cities on the self-ruled island of Taiwan are calling off public attendance at events such as fireworks displays, and have urged asked people to watch online or on television.

However, the Taipei city government is permitting in-person attendance to its New Year’s events. They are also broadcasting them live, consisting of fireworks set off from the outside of Taipei 101, once the world’s tallest building.

It has restricted the attendance at the main viewing spot to 40,000, which is half of the 80,000 capacity it had originally planned, with attendees need to register their personal details and wear masks.

Night Curfews in the Indian States

New Year celebrations in India will most likely be more silent as compared to previous years as many states and major metropolitan cities have implemented night curfews, restricted large gatherings, and shut down pubs and restaurants.

New Delhi stated that it would not permit more than five people to gather at public places, whereas financial capital Mumbai and tech capital Bengaluru curbed gatherings to four people.

However, there are no restrictions in Goa, which is a small state along India’s western coast popular for its grand beach parties during this time of the year, especially during Christmas and New Year. Media have reported people arriving in Goa in droves during the past week.