New Zealand’s Auckland becomes the first country in the world to welcome New Year 2022 with fireworks.
New Zealand was one of the first places to celebrate the new year with a low-key lights display projected onto Auckland landmarks, including the Sky Tower and Harbor Bridge.
That replaced the traditional fireworks show. While there hasn’t yet been any community spread of omicron in New Zealand, authorities still wanted to discourage crowds gathering.
In many places, plans for New Year’s Eve celebrations were muted or canceled for the second straight year due to a surge of coronavirus infections, this time driven by the highly contagious omicron variant.
Even before omicron hit, many people were happy to say goodbye to a second grinding year of the pandemic.
But so far, at least, the omicron surge hasn’t resulted in the same levels of hospitalizations and deaths as previous outbreaks – especially among vaccinated people – offering a glimmer of hope for 2022.