North Korea sealed it borders after the pandemic began and has not officially reported a single case of Covid-19.
Over the border in South Korea, the mood was not so festive.
A traditional midnight bell-ringing ceremony has been cancelled for the second year running and authorities announced an extension of stricter distancing rules for two weeks to tackle a persistent surge in infections.
China remains on high alert
China is on high alert against the virus, with 13 million people in the city of Xian under lockdown and New Year events in other cities cancelled.
Authorities in the Indonesian capital Jakarta will close 11 roads that usually draw big crowds for New Year, police said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia has banned big gatherings nationwide and cancelled a spectacular fireworks display at the Petronas Twin Towers in the capital, Kula Lumpur.
Fumio Kishida, the Japanese prime minister, took to his official YouTube channel to urge people to wear masks at parties and limit the number of people attending. While Tokyo’s famous Shibuya entertainment district has banned year-end parties.
Indian authorities started to impose stringent rules on Thursday to prevent big gatherings, with night curfews in all major cities and restaurants ordered to limit customers.
Despite the curbs, domestic tourists have been flocking to the famous beaches, pubs and nightclubs of Goa on the western coast to see in the New Year.
However, Taiwan will hold its celebrations almost as normal with a pop concert in front of city hall in the capital, Taipei. Those attending the concert will have to wear masks, register names and will only be allowed to drink water.