France will mobilize 100,000 police and investigators on New Year’s Eve to disband groups and use the appropriate authority to fight coronavirus.
Additional security is also aimed at stopping the torching of cars that often takes place on the final night of the year.
France has confirmed the 2.6m case of Covid-19, the fifth-largest case in the world, with more than 64,000 deaths.
Like other European countries, France will see the silent New Year’s Eve celebrations in the midst of this pandemic.
In her New Year address, German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke emotionally about the pandemic which had “imposed a lot on everyone, and too much on some” in 2020.
She reached out to those who had lost loved ones to Covid-19, and she attacked coronavirus conspiracy theories, “which are not just false and dangerous, but also cynical and cruel towards those people”.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has ordered security at urban areas and flashpoint suburbs from 20:00 (19:00 GMT), when the curfew begins.
In Paris half of the municipal roads will be closed in the evening, and Mr Darmanin has also called for a nationwide shutdown of public transport.
Despite the rising number of cases, and concerns about a new infectious disease, a government spokesman said there was no need for a closure at the moment. France has been closed down and two bars, restaurants and cultural attractions will remain closed in January.
What’s Happening On New Year’s Eve?
Mr Darmanin wrote to regional leaders informing them of the “special” mobilization on Thursday of 100,000 police officers and investigators.
This will be a “confirmation of state authority in all parts of the national territory”, he said.
Authorities will be instructed to classify underground groups as soon as they are reported, the right participants and to identify the facilitators.
In the meantime, the patrolists have to make “proper ID checks” and look for “dangerous” vehicles that can be used when dealing with officials.
Mr Darmanin also urged shops to limit or stop the sale of flammable liquids in portable containers and takeaway alcoholic drinks.
He also suggested that local authorities not disclose incidents of vehicles being set on fire in order to “prevent any occurrence of ‘competition’ between the various areas.
Car torchings have become an annual event in French cities since the 2005 riots in Paris and elsewhere.
Last year 1,457 recorded vehicles were set on fire across France on New Year’s Eve, according to media reports. Last year’s figure was 1,290.
Elsewhere In The Continent
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Wednesday that another 20 million people in England will be placed into the toughest tier of restrictions from Thursday.
“I must ask you to follow the rules where you live tomorrow night and see in the new year safely at home,” Mr Johnson said during a press conference.
The whole of mainland Scotland has been under level four – the top tier of measures – since 26 December and will remain there for at least three weeks. People have been urged to remain at home on New Year’s Eve.
Ireland will reach its highest point on Thursday, block all home visits, shut down all unnecessary sales and reduce travel to 5km.
Germany is currently under restrictions until January 10. The government has banned the sale of explosives and imposed strict limits on the number of people who can meet in public.
Health Minister Jens Spahn said he expected the country to have a “very quiet New Year” in a living memory.
The Netherlands is currently under closure and is expected to continue until January 19th. Its standard count will take place behind closed doors at the Amsterdam stadium.
Turkey will begin a four-day closure on the day before the new year.