Coronavirus: London's New Year's Eve fireworks cancelled

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Watch how London celebrated the start of 2020

London's New Year's Eve fireworks have been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the mayor has revealed.

About 100,000 people normally pack the streets around Victoria Embankment for the annual event.

However, Sadiq Khan told LBC that "we simply can't afford to have numbers of people congregating".

He said they were instead "working on something people can enjoy in the comfort and safety of their living rooms on TV".

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About 100,000 people attend the event in central London every year

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.

Explaining the need for something to replace the fireworks, Mr Khan said London "really can't lose that slot... because New Year's Eve is a really good opportunity for the rest of the world to see how wonderful our city is".

He added that it was important to "continue investing in our city" to try to attract tourists "particularly during a recession".

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A replacement for the event will be announced "in due course", the mayor's office said

The decision to cancel the event has been called "a hammer blow to central London", by one Conservative London Assembly member.

Tony Devenish, the member for West Central, said it "effectively warns visitors to stay away on New year's Eve, which will inevitably hurt local businesses".

A mayoral spokesperson told the BBC that City Hall was "working up plans to ensure that we usher in the new year in London in a spectacular but safe way", adding that an announcement would be made "in due course".

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