Surprise London fireworks and light show usher in the New Year as whole nation hopes for a brighter 2021

SURPRISE London fireworks and a light show have ushered in the New Year as the whole nation hopes for a brighter 2021.

The night sky was lit up over the capital tonight in a spectacular display.

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The fireworks came despite the traditional London show being banned due to the Covid pandemic.

The new year '2021' was illuminated into the darkness, alongside a flying bird.

A light display was also projected from the Tower Bridge.

Some determined revellers flouted strict lockdown rules and headed out to mark the end of 2020.

However, cops were out in force to move them along and keep the streets empty – with fines of up to £10,000 threatened for those who break the rules.

Strict Covid rules mean there will be none of the usual New Year's Eve celebrations.

Pubs and restaurants are shut across the nation as 20million people went into Tier 4 this morning, meaning no mixing is allowed outside of household or support bubbles.

Streets in Central London are empty this evening, with usually-bustling areas in the capital eerily quiet.

Central city areas – usually hubs of mass celebrations at this time of year – are deserted across the UK.

Publicans across the country have been forced to tip kegs full of beer down the drain, as almost all pubs in the UK will be closed tonight.

Cops have warned the public they will be fining people breaking the rules by meeting up with others tonight – starting with £100 and rising to £10,000 for people having parties.

And they will be focusing their patrols in London on areas with the highest rates of Covid infections too, they said.

Despite the strict rules, a string of illegal New Year’s Eve raves are being secretly planned across Tier 4 London.

Thousands of people are expected to attend the events which could send Covid spreading even faster through the capital. 

Despite officials insisting there will be no fireworks or light shows to mark the New Year, there is speculation there will be some celebrations.

A test display of lights was seen over Tower Bridge in Central London last night.

Meanwhile in Newcastle, fireworks were set off early this evening to avoid crowds gathering later.

Coronavirus cases continue to soar as a mutant strain of the bug sweeps across the UK.

Today, Britain saw its highest ever daily rise in cases with 55,892 infections reported in the past 24 hours.

A further 964 deaths were recorded, bringing the total number of fatalities to 73,512.

The rise in cases means a total of 2,488,780 Brits have now been infected with the bug.

Today's rise in deaths is only slightly smaller than yesterday’s figure of 981 – the highest daily toll since April – amid fears that the high toll may not be a lag in reporting, as was thought yesterday.

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