Last night out in France as 20 million as virus curfew imposed

Millions of French people enjoyed a last night of freedom on Friday before a Covid-19 curfew in Paris and other large cities came into force at midnight, for a least a month, prompted by an alarming surge in new cases.

The curfew aims to keep some 20 million people home from 9 pm to 6 am from Saturday — 30 percent of the French population.

It was ordered by President Emmanuel Macron this week as the number of new infections and deaths raised the spectre of hospital overloads like those seen in March and April.

Health authorities on Friday recorded more than 25,00 new coronavirus cases, after Thursday’s record of over 30,000. A total of 122 people were said to have died of the virus in 24 hours.

The mood in the streets of the capital Paris ahead of the curfew taking effect was something akin to New Year ‘s Eve, with tables overflowing in bars and the sound of laughter in the air.

“We will enjoy it as much as possible, a restaurant, bar hopping and a little walk with friends on the Champs-Elysées”, said 19-year-old Kurtys Magdelo who was out with friends. (AFP | Jürgen HECKER / Joseph Schmid)

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