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Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020

New Year's Eve celebrations cancelled in London as infections rise

Sadiq Khan has cancelled traditional New Year’s Eve celebrations in London as coronavirus cases soar in many parts of the country.

The Mayor of London has revealed there will be ‘no fireworks’ and ‘nothing happening’ on December 31, as the capital ‘can’t afford’ to have large crowds of people come together.

He said 2021 would instead be brought in by ‘something that people can enjoy in the comfort of their living rooms’ – but refused to give any further details.

Tens of thousands of revellers normally congregate on the banks of the River Thames each year to watch the firework display.

Last year saw around 100,000 people pack onto the streets around Victoria Embankment, as 2,000 fireworks were fired from the London Eye.

Speaking to LBC on Friday, Mr Khan said: ‘I can tell you there will not be fireworks on New Year’s Eve this year like in previous years, we simply can’t afford to have the numbers of people who congregate on New Year’s Eve congregating.

‘What we’re working on, we’re not in a position to explain what it is yet, but what we’re working on is something that people can enjoy from the comfort and safety of their living rooms on TV.

‘As soon as we’ve managed to bottom that out I’ll be letting Londoners know and people across the country.’



When questioned on how he planned on deterring large crowds from heading into central London, the Labour politician said there was simply going to be ‘nothing happening’.

He said: ‘Well there will be nothing happening in town, we’re trying to avoid a reason for people to come in.

‘We can’t afford to lose that slot because New Year’s Eve is a really great opportunity for the rest of the world to see how wonderful our city is.

‘Particularly during a recession we need to continue investment in our city and people coming to London.’

London annual Winter Wonderland event in Hyde Park was also cancelled earlier in September due to the ongoing pandemic.

In a statement, organisers said their team had worked ‘tirelessly’ to explore different options but ‘considering the size and scale of this event’, they could not make it work.

It comes as England’s top scientists reportedly suggest a two-week national lockdown over the October half-term.

No firm decisions have been made yet, but the government’s chief scientific adviser and medical officer predicted a ‘significant number of deaths’ by the end of October if no action is taken, Financial Times said.

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