London welcomes 2021 with fireworks, drone show

LONDON, Jan. 1 (Xinhua) — London welcomed 2021 with unique fireworks and drone show using landmarks across the capital and screened live on BBC One.

The special broadcast event was organized in place of the annual fireworks display, which could not take place due to the impact of the coronavirus.

The 10-minute show paid tribute to the defining moments of 2020, highlighting the role of the National Health Service (NHS), Black Lives Matter and the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives.

Millions watched from their homes as a countdown clock beamed out from The Shard, before the traditional “bongs” of Big Ben sounded for the new year and lights shone out from London Bridge.

Above The O2 entertainment complex in southeast London, 300 drones formed a series of images, paying tribute to the NHS, Captain Sir Tom Moore and Black Lives Matter movement, as well as sending a message of love and togetherness for 2021.

The event was created to replace the usual public celebration on the banks of the Thames, due to the COVID-19 restrictions and the need to stay at home.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said it has been an incredibly challenging year for London and Britain, but while Londoners could not gather together to welcome in the new year it was important to unite together to reflect on 2020 and look ahead to 2021.

London and many other parts of England have already been under the highest Tier Four restrictions, which require residents in the areas to stay at home, with limited exemptions.

Meanwhile, the British government has decided to close all primary schools in London for the next two weeks to counter the rapid spread of a more infectious variant of the COVID-19 virus, Khan said on Friday.

“The Government have finally seen sense and u-turned,” the mayor said on Twitter. “This is the right decision – and I want to thank education minister Nick Gibb for our constructive conversations over the past two days,” he added.

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