Hong Kong welcomes 2023 in largest celebration since 2019

STORY: The 25-minute-long countdown celebrations began at 11.45 p.m. local time and a countdown clock displayed the final 30 seconds of 2022 at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

A synchronization of light and sound, the multimedia show illuminated the skies and harbor with lasers and light beams set off from the rooftops of numerous buildings and attractions on Hong Kong Island and in Kowloon to mark the beginning of 2023.

The Hong Kong government scrapped all social distancing rules such as a cap on gatherings of more than 12 people in public on Thursday (December 29). For nearly three years, the city largely followed China's lead in tackling the novel coronavirus, with both places being the last strongholds in adopting a zero-COVID policy.

It was Hong Kong's biggest New Year's Eve celebration since 2019.

The event was cancelled in 2019 due to social unrest, and it was scaled down in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.