In the wake of increasing coronavirus cases, Sydney, on Monday announced a ban on large gatherings and fireworks at its famous Harbour Bridge. This decision was taken keeping in mind that New Year crowding can further surge cases numbers as Sydney is one of the most populous cities in the country and this step can help suppress a growing cluster of virus cases, AFP reported.

Generally, a large crowd gathers at the bridge at midnight to herald the new year with a dazzling display of fireworks. Officials had earlier planned to welcome around 5,000 frontline workers to the foreshore as a token of thanks for their great work against the pandemic but now that plan has also been dropped over fears the celebration could turn into a super-spreader event.

"We've abandoned our plans in terms of any foreshore viewing of the fireworks from the Sydney CBD, so that won't be allowed," the state leader of New South Wales, of which Sydney is the capital, Gladys Berejiklian, said.

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However, celebrations are not completely prohibited. People can have small get-togethers at their homes or attend controlled events with COVID-19 protocols in place. People will also be required to take permits to enter some parts of the town.

"We do recommend very strongly that people watch the fireworks on TV or go to a local venue outdoors which is not on the foreshore and doesn't have that cramped crowding," added Berejiklian.

This decision was taken amid increased cases in the city’s northern beaches that rose to 126. The lockdown for several suburbs has also been extended till January 9.