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World prepares for muted New Year’s Eve under Covid shadow

Britons urged to stay home; France puts 100,000 police out on patrol; Merkel laments hardest year; Times Square closed to public

Millions of people around the world are preparing for a New Year’s Eve like no other – with lockdowns, restrictions and curfews in place in dozens of countries in an attempt to stem the spread of Covid-19 before vaccination drives start to take effect.

New Year’s Eve marks one year since the World Health Organization first mentioned a mysterious pneumonia in China later identified as Covid-19, which went on in 2020 to kill more than 1.79 million people and devastate the global economy in unprecedented ways.

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