People have been shocked by pictures comparing an empty New York Times Square on News Year’s Eve with crowded celebrations in Wuhan.
Social media users have been outraged at striking pictures that reveal a deserted Times Square in New York on New Year’s Eve, while in Wuhan, China revellers packed outdoor settings.
Typically, tens of thousands of partygoers jam into Times Square to see the ball drop on New Year’s Eve, but this year spectators were locked out to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Barriers were put in place to prevent people entering Times Square, while police stood guard to turn people away if they showed up.
Yet in Wuhan, where the coronavirus pandemic originated, thousands of people crammed together for the countdown to 2021 and waving balloons to bring in the new year.
It comes after pictures emerged last week showing bars, restaurants and clubs thriving in Wuhan, with no evidence in the city of 11 million residents that the world was currently gripped by a pandemic.
China has been experiencing a global backlash with relations souring around the world.
Nations have called for an inquiry into the COVID-19 pandemic and for compensation to be made.
President Donald Trump blamed China for unleashing the virus and expressed interest in trying to sue Beijing for damages, with the United States seeking $US10 million for every death.
To date, there have been almost 20 million cases of COVID-19 in the US and almost 345,000 deaths.
Meanwhile, China reported 87,000 cases and just over 4,600 deaths.