“COVID loves a crowd” was the phrase touted in the UK government”s advertising campaign emploring citizens to stay at home.
Despite the warnings to “see in the New Year safely at home”, some apparently attended parties to ring in 2021.
British media reported mass gatherings in London, with police in the capital saying they shut down an event with around 70 to 100 people in attendance in the borough of Barking and Dagenham.
London is currently under England’s tightest COVID-19 restrictions – Tier 4 – which comes with the order to “stay at home”, meaning citizens cannot leave or be outside of the place they are living unless they have a reasonable excuse.
Meanwhile, in France, ravers ignored the government’s threats to strictly impose an 8 pm COVID curfew, with gatherings reported near Marseille and in Brittany.
France Bleu – a network of local media in the country – reported 2,000 people had attended an illegal rave party in Brittany “without masks and without any social distancing”.
Three law enforcement officers were injured when stones were thrown at them at the party, which took place on a country road between Rennes and Redonand, and a police vehicle was set on fire, it added.
In Marseille, police dispersed an illegal party with 300 people in attendance – over 150 of the revellers were fined for violating the country’s curfew, AFP cited police sources as saying.
The event’s three presumed organisers were arrested and placed in police custody, Marseille’s public prosecutor, Dominique Laurens, said.
France has the fifth-highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the world with its total standing at 2.6 million.
The country has also seen over 64,000 deaths due to the virus.