Although farewell celebrations to the pandemic year of 2021 were almost as muffled as those that ushered it in, news that the omicron variant wave appeared to be starting to recede brought hope for a happier New Year.

The Australian city of Sydney was one place where the New Year charged in with something like full swagger, as spectacular fireworks glittered in the harbor above the Opera House.

But many other landmark cities were forgoing pyrotechnics as midnight rolled across the globe, with displays called off at Paris' Arc de Triomphe, London's riverside and the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.