Fireworks explode in the sky to celebrate the Belarus Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus, July 3, 2020. In December 1996, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed an ordinance to establish a state holiday - Belarus Independence Day. It is marked on the day Minsk was liberated from the Nazi invaders - July 3, 1944. (Photo by Henadz Zhinkov/Xinhua)
Fireworks explode in the sky to celebrate the Belarus Independence Day in Minsk, Belarus, July 3, 2020. In December 1996, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko signed an ordinance to establish a state holiday - Belarus Independence Day. It is marked on the day Minsk was liberated from the Nazi invaders - July 3, 1944. (Photo by Henadz Zhinkov/Xinhua)

London has decided to cancel its iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the city’s mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday.

“We simply can’t afford to have the number of people congregating on New Year’s Eve,” Khan told LBC Radio, adding that they were instead working on “to do something that people can enjoy in the comfort and safety of their living rooms on TV.”

About 100,000 people usually attend the annual celebration of the start of the new year in central London. More than 12,000 fireworks feature in the display, which is set to music and watched by about 12 million people on TV. For the past five years, the event has been ticketed due to high demand, according to local media.

Khan said that it was important to “continue investing in our city” to try to attract tourists “particularly during a recession”.

New COVID-19 cases almost doubled to 6,000 per day in Britain, prompting the British government to consider whether to impose a second national lockdown on Friday.

Hospital admissions rose and infection rates soared across parts of northern England and London.

The mayor took the move as Britain is faced with the continuing challenges of test shortages. Countries including Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop coronavirus vaccine.

The British government is considering measures including shutting down hospitality businesses for two weeks, known as “circuit breaks”, while keeping open workplaces and schools, local media reported.

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