Evening Update Friday 15 May 2020

It's been confirmed that the majority of beaches in the Alpes Maritimes will be reopening on Saturday. The Prefecture said that it was granting the requests of the twelve mayors who had asked for an exemption to reopen their beaches. Barrier measures such as social distancing must be observed and remaining stationary is prohibited. Any activities such as picnics or sunbathing are strictly prohibited and punishable with a fine. The Prefect explained that twelve different orders were being made because the details are adapted to each municipality, for example as regards beach opening hours. An extra decree was also published relating to yachting. Details of which beaches are affected by the announcement are expected shortly.

A nine year old child who had been in contact with the coronavirus has died in hospital in Marseille. A consultant at the hospital said that the child was admitted to hospital after suffering cariac arrest. According to reports, it's thought that the child had symptoms resembling a rare condition known as Kawasaki disease. Similar cases have been reported in several other countries during the coronavirus pandemic. The health agency Sante Publique France said that 125 cases were reported in France from 1 March to 12 May, with over half of those being in the Ile-de-France.

David Lisnard, the Mayor of Cannes, and Jérôme Viaud, the Mayor of Grasse have called for their local hospitals to be incuded on a list of healthcare facilities whose staff will receive an exceptional bonus of €1,500. The payment was announced recently by the French government and the Decree was published in the Official Journal today. The mayors called the omission of hospitals in Cannes and Grasse "unacceptable, incomprehensible and unjustified in view of the unfailing commitment and mobilization of the teams" to confront the epidemic. Various health establishments in Nice and Antibes have been included on the list.

Starting next week the Monaco Government will begin its Covid19 serological screening testing campaign covering its entire population together with employees of businesses, involving 90,000 people in total. The test is free and is being done on a voluntary basis. A letter signed by the Minister of State will be sent to each household to explain the process and its implementation. Two screening centers will be set up at the Espace Léo Ferré in Fontvieille and in the Space Ravel of the Grimaldi Forum. The tests will be carried out in alphabetical order by surname and details will be communicated in the press, on public displays and by social media. In the event of unavailability during the designated time slot, you'll be able to book an alternative time. You can get more details at www.gouv.mc

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has said that he will meet with restaurant professionals next week to study various measures, including the extension of their terraces on public roads for 3 months when possible. He added that the success of the tourist season and thousands of jobs depend on it.

A French government spokesperson has said that, from the government's perspective, the first assessment of the deconfinement measures had been "generally positive". She said  that it gives the government satisfaction to see that the measures have been "well understood" and "well adopted".

President Macron has called for an end to what he called "the impoverishment" of French hospitals. He acknowledged that mistakes had been made in reforms to the French healthcare system started two years ago and said that the scale of the changes were insufficient. He also expressed his desire to improve working conditions in hospitals.

In other news, the number of people who lost their lives on French roads fell dramatically in April because of confinement. New figures show that deaths on the roads fell by 55.8% compared to the same month last year. However, 103 people still died during the month.

Public construction works are gradually getting underway again after deconfinement. Reinforcement work on a cliff near the entrance to the village of Breil sur Roya are being resumed. That means the RD6204 is going to be closed in the daytime from this Monday through to 29 May.

Meteo France have a Yellow weather warning in operation for storms in the Alpes Maritimes until midnight tonight. The storms are expected to be mostly inland.


BUSINESS


New figures from Germany's Federal Statistics Office show that the Germany economy contracted by 2.2% in the first quarter of this year. It's the largest fall in GDP since the financial crisis. Figures for the final quarter of 2019 were revised to show a contraction of 0.1%, meaning that Germany has suffered negative growth for two successive quarters, which is the ususal definition of a recession.

New data has shown a dramatic fall in the creation of new businesses in France. The French government statistics agency INSEE said that new business creation fell by 34% in April compared to March, meaning that there were 17,000 less businesses started in the month. INSEE also revealed today that inflation in April fell slightly to 0.3% compared to a year ago. The figure for March was 0.7%.

Electronics make Foxconn has reported a drop in profits of 89% in the first quarter. The compnay makes products for Apple, amongst other brands. The company predicted strong revenue growth in the current quarter, boosted by demand for electronics used for remote working during lockdowns.

Airline Cathay Pacific has reported a loss of 4.5 billion Hong Kong Dollars, which is about 580 million US dollars for the first quarter. It said passanger numbers in April had declined by 99.6% from a year earlier. The company said that the pandemic is "the biggest challenge to aviation we have ever witnessed". Meanwhile Singapore Airlines has also reported heavy losses. It's Chief Executive described the pandemic as "the greatest challenge in aviation history".

In the UK, the chief executive of Royal Mail, Rico Back, is stepping down with immediate effect. Keith Williams, who was previously with British Airways will take over as executive chairman. The Communication Workers' Union called for "a total change in strategy and direction" at the business.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Formula 1 and Silverstone have agreed a deal for two grands prix to be held at the venue this season behind closed doors. Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle told BBC Sport that the races will be subject to government approval. He said their priority is the "safety of all involved and strict compliance with Covid-19 regulations."

Football... English League One teams have decided to meet again on Monday after failing to come to an agreement today regarding the rest of the season. However, the League Two season has been brought to an early conclusion following discussions between clubs and the English Football League. The table will be decided using a points-per-game method, but promotion and relegation are not yet finalised. There are still plans for the play-offs, semi-finals and final to take place.

Rugby Union...  The summer tour matches in Japan, Australia, South Africa and New Zealand have been postponed because of coronavirus restrictions. Rugby Union's governing body, World Rugby, said that extended travel and quarantine restrictions and concerns over adequate player preparation time mean that cross-border international rugby competitions can't be hosted in July. Wales were due to tour Japan and New Zealand, while England were to play in Japan. Scotland were due in South Africa and New Zealand, with Ireland heading to Australia. World Rugby are working with other organizations to try to co-ordinate the tours taking place later this year.

Horse Racing... The British Horseracing Authority is working on safety and social distancing protocols for the resumption of racing on 1 June, if the UK government gives its approval to meetings taking place. The body has said that it's proposing a total of 18 meetings in the first eight days after racing resumes, with the first race being at Newcastle.

 

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