France curfew aims to cancel mass New Year’s Eve celebrations

Women wearing protective face masks walk at the Place de la Concorde as Christmas trees decorate along the Champs Elysees avenue in Paris. Reuters

France has imposed curfew orders aimed at curtailing mass New Year’s Eve celebrations as the number of coronavirus cases rises again.

The French government said on Thursday it would lift a six-week coronavirus lockdown as expected, but it would also bring in an 8pm curfew, including for New Year’s Eve.

Prime Minister Jean Castex also confirmed that families would be allowed to travel to celebrate Christmas together.

In a blow for the cultural sector, Mr Castex said museums, theatres and cinemas, which had been hoping to recoup some losses over the holidays, would remain closed for an extra three weeks, as would football stadiums.

The number of cases has dropped from almost 50,000 a day in late October to about 10,000, but that decline “has slowed over the past several days”, he said.

“We’re on a sort of plateau,” Mr Castex said, warning that if the French dropped their guard they could face a third lockdown in months to come.

The curfew will take effect on Tuesday, lasting from 8pm to 6am, with the exception of December 24 when families are invited to celebrate Christmas, but with no more than six adults in each household.

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