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The police contingent deployed across France has been increased fivefold for New Year’s Eve in order to prevent people from violating the Covid-19 curfew and staging illegal parties to mark the arrival of 2021.

The curfew, which has been imposed between 8pm and 6am, must be “respected,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Thursday.

To execute this order, more than 100,000 police officers, some 32,000 firefighters and 7,000 soldiers have been mobilized across the country on December 31. In Paris alone, some 9,000 officers are assigned to patrol the streets. The number of police working on the ground on an average day in France is around 20,000.

Law enforcement will show “zero tolerance” to those violating the restrictions aimed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Minister Delegate in charge of Citizenship Marlene Schiappa warned. An infringement of the curfew is punishable with a fine of 135 euro.

Toute l’année, les gendarmes répondent présents pour nous protéger.Le #31décembre aussi !Je suis auprès des gendarmes déployés en renfort à #Paris✅ 100 000 membres des forces de l’ordre mobilisées le 31.Avec @GDarmanin nous sommes avec eux aujourd’hui #SoutienFDO#Merci 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/L3FQYagy9j

Police have been assigned with a triple mission for the night: enforce the curfew, track down illegal parties, and tackle urban violence – traditionally on the rise on New Year’s Eve.

The gendarmes “won’t go in to check if there are six of you at the table,” Schiappa clarified. The authorities are only concerned with large parties that bring together dozens of people and could lead to spikes in Covid infections.

The officers have been asked to not only be strict with those attending such gatherings, but also to do everything possible to identify party organizers.

The coronavirus outbreak remains a difficult situation in France, as the authorities face criticism over the vaccination campaign being too sluggish.

On Thursday, the country reported 19,927 Covid-19 infections, which is still a far cry from the target of 5,000 new cases per day set by the government under their containment strategy.

France has recorded 2.6 million coronavirus cases – the fifth-highest number in the world – and over 64,600 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

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