Elsewhere around the globe, events were scaled back or cancelled outright, such as with the traditional fireworks over the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Midnight passed in Paris without a planned fireworks display or DJ sets, as city officials cancelled events planned on the Champs-Elysees following the advice of a scientific panel that declared mass gatherings would be too risky.
In the Netherlands, where outside groupings of more than four people are banned, police dispersed several thousand people who had defiantly gathered at Amsterdam's central Dam Square, ANP news agency reported.
But in London, where a fireworks display and light show had been cancelled in October, officials announced on Friday the spectacle would come to life on the television screen, as Big Ben rang in the New Year for the first time since 2017 following a restoration.
BBC images of the fireworks showed very light vehicle traffic and virtually no in-person spectators.
Earlier, Britain published a study of a million cases that found those with Omicron were around a third as likely to need hospitalisation as those with the previously dominant Delta variant.
The results were "in keeping with the encouraging signs we have already seen," said Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser at the UK Health Security Agency.
In the wake of encouraging data, Cape Town abruptly lifted a curfew just in time for the New Year, after South Africa became the first country to declare its Omicron wave had crested – and with no huge surge in deaths.
South Africa had first raised the alarm about the new fast-spreading coronavirus variant racing around the world.
"I'm just hoping that Cape Town goes back to the old Cape Town that we all knew about," said Michael Mchede, manager of a Hard Rock cafe by the white sands of Camps Bay Beach, who was thrilled to get the place ready to host an unexpected bash.
Hours earlier, the Australian city of Sydney also feted the New Year with something like full swagger, as spectacular fireworks glittered in the harbour above the Opera House.