Joe Biden has become the 46th president of the United States after taking his oath of office in a heavily scaled-back inauguration ceremony in Washington DC.

He swore to preserve, protect and defend America to the sound of cheers and applause from former presidents both – though Donald Trump decided to break tradition by skipping the event.

It came minutes after new Vice President Kamala Harris took her oath, too.

Giving his inaugural address outside the Capitol building, Joe Biden stressed that last November’s election result was fair – declaring: “This is democracy’s day. The will of the people has been heard and the will of the people has been heeded.

“We’ve learned again that democracy is precious, democracy is fragile and at this hour my friends, democracy has prevailed.”

Joe Biden promised to “press forward with speed and urgency” during a “winter of peril” to tackle the “once-in-a-century virus that silently stalks the country” – and also vowed to confront white supremacy and terrorism.