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IN PICS: France shakes off its Covid blues with Fête de la Musique street party

France was able to hold its annual Fête de la Musique midsummer music festival on Sunday, although questionable safety measures at one of the larger events in Paris have drawn some criticism.

IN PICS: France shakes off its Covid blues with Fête de la Musique street party
Photos: AFP

France took one step forward in its return to normality as many of its cities turned into musical street parties on Sunday, as is customary every June 21st to celebrate the beginning of summer. 

In towns and cities across France, artists set up booths in bars and restaurants and on street corners to perform for passers-by, all while maintaining health rules to avoid a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic.

But an open-air DJ concert at Villemin garden in Paris's 10th arrondissement has raised eyebrows given that several hundred partygoers huddled up at the event, most of them without face masks and not abiding by social distancing as had been required by France’s Ministry of Culture for the event to take place.

Paris police prefecture told Le Parisien newspaper that it was not asked to give permission for the five-hour “Apero électronique” concert to go ahead but that it had been approved by Paris city hall.

There were also protests staged in the western city of Nantes to demand answers about the death of Steve Maia Caniço, a 24-year-old teaching assistant who disappeared during the city’s Fête de la Musique last year. 

READ MORE: Why are people across France demanding to know 'Where's Steve'?

This year, the prospects of maintaining the Fête de la Musique had looked bleak as France recently had begun to lift a two-month long strict lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the country.

But after weeks of steady decline in key indicators of the spread of the virus, life has returned to somewhat normal and the music festival was allowed to go ahead. 

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HEALTH

France’s monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

France has detected 277 cases of monkeypox, health authorities said Tuesday, June 21st, including the first case in the country of a woman contracting the virus.

France's monkeypox count rises to 277 as first woman contracts virus

The case numbers have risen steeply since the last official figure of 183 cases five days earlier. But there have been no deaths in France attributed to monkeypox.

The normal initial symptoms of monkeypox include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

Until recently, the viral disease had generally been confined to Western and Central Africa but is now present in several continents, particularly Europe.

Among the latest cases recorded in France, “a first female case has been confirmed, the mode of transmission of which is currently being investigated, and all the others are men,” the French national public health agency said in a statement.

So far, the recent outbreak of monkeypox, which is currently affecting some 40 countries, has mainly affected men who have engaged in gay sex.

The World Health Organization is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday to determine whether to classify the global monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern.

The virus usually clears up after two or three weeks.

Most of the cases identified in France have been found in Paris and its suburbs, though smaller outbreaks have been seen in several regions throughout the country, including Normandy in the north and the Cote d’Azur in the south.

The first monkeypox case in France was discovered on May 20, the same day the virus was detected in neighbouring Germany.

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