FRANCE must mobilize 100,000 party cops on New Year’s Eve to disrupt rallies in its attempt to fight Covid.
It comes as millions of people around the world have abandoned their annual holidays as coronavirus lockdowns lead to the most miserable celebrations since World War II.
⚠️ Read our live coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates
France — which has the highest Covid cases count in Western Europe and the fifth largest in the world — will impose a nationwide nightly curfew from 8pm to 6am tonight.
This will be enforced by about 100,000 police and gendarmes, who will make sure people there are no gatherings of revellers in public spaces.
In Paris, which is known as the City of Light because of its throbbing nightlife, half of the metro lines will be closed in the evening.
The government is also saying no more than six adults should gather around a table.
But elsewhere in the world, party plans have also been trashed. by lockdowns.
Australia was among the first nations to ring in the new near because of its close to the International Date Line.
In past years more than a million people crowded Sydney’s harbour to watch fireworks that center on the Sydney Harbour Bridge — but most will be watching on television as authorities urge residents to stay home.
Locations on the harbour were fenced off, popular parks closed and famous night spots eerily deserted.
Meanwhile, the 9 pm fireworks display was scrapped, although there was a seven-minute pyrotechnics show at midnight.
People were only allowed in downtown Sydney if they have a restaurant reservation or are one of five guests of an inner-city resident.
Melbourne, Australia’s second most populous city, has canceled its fireworks this year.
Mayor Sally Capp said: « We did that because we know that it attracts up to 450,000 people into the city for one moment at midnight to enjoy a spectacular display and music.
« We are not doing that this year. »
New Year’s Eve parties in the UK must be cancelled because « Covid loves a crowd », officials have warned.
People have been banned from watching the famed fireworks display at the London Eye on the River Thames.
Instead, the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, revealed that there will be a special broadcast that can be watched on TV.
Trafalgar Square has also been cordoned off and the Metropolitan police has revealed it is set to break up raves across the city.
The Edinburgh Hogmanay Street Party, which usually draws in thousands to the capital to ring in the new year, has also been cancelled.
Prof Stephen Powis, NHS England’s medical director, called on people to show restraint when seeing in the new year.
He said: « We know it’s the end of the year, it’s a time where people traditionally want to celebrate,” he said at the Downing Street press conference on Wednesday.
« But it’s absolutely vital that this year, everybody continues to follow the guidance by staying at home and not mixing. »
He added: « Covid loves a crowd, so please leave the parties for later in the year. »
Berlin’s chief of police says thousands of officers will be enforcing bans on protests and the use of fireworks in much of the German capital on New Year’s Eve.
Instead of the annual open-air show at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, which regularly draws hundreds of thousands of people, organizers are putting on a virtual event for people to watch at home.
Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, reported 32,552 newly confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours and 964 deaths.
Courts this week rejected legal challenges against the ban on public assemblies in Berlin on New Year’s Eve and New Years Day that authorities had imposed due to the pandemic.
USA – NEW YORK
The NYPD are out in New Year’s Eve celebrations to prevent crowds of any size from gathering in Times Square, which has been closed off.
They said they would disperse any onlookers venturing into a so-called frozen zone » the blocks surrounding the ball that historically draw shoulder-to-shoulder crowds.
The coronavirus has upended public life for months, and New Year’s Eve will be no different. This year, police said, revelers headed to Times Square won’t be permitted past police lines.
Referring to the glittering, crystal ball that descends in Times Square each New Year’s, Chief of Department Terence Monahan said: « If you think you’re going to be able to stand there and watch the ball, you’re mistaken. »
Juanita Holmes, chief of patrol for the NYPD, said: « Coming to Times Square is a family tradition for some. It is a bucket list item for others. But this year is different.
« I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for everyone to stay home. »
Ireland sees further 1,620 cases confirmed and 12 more deaths reported
1,929 new Covid-19 cases and 11 more deaths confirmed in Northern Ireland
Varadkar sends ‘sympathies’ to George Nkencho’s family & ‘thoughts’ to gardai
DEATH TO 2020
New Zealand and Australia welcome New Year with heaving crowds despite Covid
Healthy girl, 18, dies as Covid ‘ate her through’ after suffering headache
CMO says ‘substantial amount’ of social activity caused spike in Covid-19 cases
Tokyo is seeing a record surge in coronavirus cases as the governor of the Japanese capital implored people to stay home.
Gov. Yuriko Koike told reporters: « The coronavirus knows no year end or New Year’s holidays. »
She asked people to skip countdown ceremonies, and expressed concern people were out shopping in crowded stores.
Please spend a quiet New Years with your family and stay home, she said, switching to English for stay home.
She said the latest figures for Tokyo showed 1,300 new infections. The previous biggest daily number of cases for the capital was 949 people reported last Saturday.
Japan has had more than 230,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 3,000 deaths. Sixty-five of the deaths came on Wednesday, the health ministry said Thursday.
Government-backed discounts for travel have been discontinued after infections started climbing.