There was very little festive spirit to be seen on the streets of the Principality as locals and visitors saw in the new year at midnight on Saturday.

The traditional fireworks display was cancelled, masks had to be worn, and numbers on the pavements were limited to groups of ten.

Adding to the sense of non-event was the fact that barriers had been erected to keep would-be revellers away from Casino Square, the traditional epicentre of festivities. There was scant evidence that Italians – usually the most enthusiastic of visitors – had made the trip to Monaco.

On New Year’s Day itself, there were many more people about, strolling in groups, standing in small knots, and lining up to get into the Cafe de Paris past security checks, all under the ominous cloud of coronavirus and the sobering thought of a very difficult year ahead.

PHOTO: Visitors enjoy a distance glimpse of the Casino on New Year’s Eve