The French will once again spend a New Year under the sign of the pandemic, with restrictions put in place in at least fifteen departments, including Paris. An early closure of bars and restaurants at 2 a.m. has been announced in Val-d’Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Val-de-Marne, Yvelines, Calvados, Alpes-Maritimes, Charente -Maritime, in Indre-et-Loire, in the Landes and in Saône-et-Loire.
The authorities hope to limit the spread of the Omicron variant during the New Year’s Eve festivities, on the night of Friday to Saturday. “More than a million French people are currently positive for the coronavirus” and “10% of the French population is in contact”, alerted Wednesday, the deep voice, the French Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, in front of the deputies.
In Paris, where the incidence rate climbed to 2,000 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, it was also decided to ban gatherings “giving rise to the consumption of alcoholic beverages”. In addition, there will be a return to wearing a compulsory mask outside from December 31st.
The world is thus facing a “tsunami” of contamination, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), placing “immense pressure on an exhausted health workforce and health systems on the verge of collapse” in the world.
Tables limited to six in Greece
In France already, nightclubs have closed since the beginning of the month, and dancing in bars and restaurants is prohibited. In Greece, too, measures have been taken. “Music will be banned” in bars and restaurants, warned Thanos Plevris, the Greek Minister of Health, Wednesday in a televised message, in an attempt to limit the desires of his fellow citizens for New Year’s Eve. Bars and restaurants close at midnight, although for Christmas Eve on December 31 they will be allowed to stay open until 2 a.m., but still without music.
Greece recorded a new contamination record on Wednesday with 28,828 new cases: as of Thursday and until January 16, tables in restaurants will be limited to six people.
In Mexico City, the town hall canceled New Year’s celebrations and Cyprus banned dancing in public places. In Germany, where nightclubs will also remain closed for New Year’s Eve, private meetings of more than ten people are prohibited, even for vaccinated and cured people. For the unvaccinated, the limit falls to two members of different outbreaks. And these restrictions will not “be enough” in the face of the Omicron variant, which should cause a “sharp increase” in cases in the coming weeks, according to German Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach.
In Europe, several countries have recorded new daily case records: in England, more than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, a first since early March. Denmark, currently the country in the world with the most new cases of Covid-19 relative to its population, also smashed its record, with 23,228 additional cases in 24 hours. Same thing in Spain, yet one of the champions of vaccination, with 100,760 new cases in 24 hours.