French and Riviera News Friday 1st May 2020

Orange zone for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var - The Alpes Maritimes and the Var have been provisionally classified as an “orange” zone concerning the level of “circulation of the virus” in the region. France’s Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, unveiled the map on Thursday.

The map is aimed at showing the rate of circulation of the virus across France with “red” for the regions the worst hit and “green” for those areas the least affected by the virus.

Three criteria are taken into account to determine if a department is "ready" to be deconfined: the rate of new cases, hospital capacities in intensive care and a "local system of testing as well as detection of contact cases".

By May 7th both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var are expected to switch to red or green.

Coronavirus figures for the region - Since the start of the epidemic, the coronavirus has killed 400 people in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var claiming 6 new victims on Thursday in the Alpes Maritimes, the largest number of deaths in one day since April 24th, according to the Regional Health Agency.

National - Meanwhile on a national level the coronavirus has caused 339 additional deaths in France in the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 24,376 deaths since March 1st.

Just over 26,000 patients are hospitalized for Covid-19 with nearly 50,000 patients able to leave hospital since the start of the epidemic.

Four regions in France account for 71% of patients who remain in intensive care, they are the Ile de France (40%), the Grand Est (13%), the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (9%) and the Hauts-de-France (9%).

Deaths at home to be counted - France is to investigate the number of deaths from Covid-19 which are occurring at home. Studies have shown that up to a third of deaths are not being reported.

The French government now says health services will provide an estimate of how many people have died from Covid-19 at home in June. The estimate will be provided by the Public Health France agency and will be based on a review of death certificates, which generally state the cause and place of death.

Nice attack - Anti-terrorist judges in France have completed investigations into the Nice attack of July 14th 2016 which could now see a trial take place in 2022. The closing of the investigation "opens a period of questioning, for the association of the victims”. The attack which took place on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice claimed 86 lives on July 14th 2016.

Return to school, Eric Ciotti asks for it to be postponed - Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has sent a letter to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today asking for the start of the school year to be postponed to June 2. He said that a major health risk was posed by the return to school on 11 May because of lack of preparation and because there are "too many fears and questions to envisage a peaceful return to school". He noted that both Italy and Spain have postponed the return until the start of the next school year in September.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, has announced that schools will not re-open on May 11th in Frejus and will remain closed until the end of the school year. He said that a reception service would be set up for children whose parents have to return to work.

Road checks - An increased level of police controls is expected this weekend. Major roads, railway stations and city centres will be heavily monitored. Police reinforcements are being called in and drones and a plane will be used in the Alpes Maritimes to enforce compliance with the lockdown measures.

Masks - A distribution of masks is being organised by local authorities in Menton. Pre-registration is first required and you're able to do that from today until 5pm next Tuesday the 5th of May. You can register by going to the website menton.fr/masques and following the instructions there. Alternatively, you can call 04 92 10 50 00, which is open during town hall working hours. The aim is for each local resident to have at least one mask by the 11th of May and at least three masks by the end of the month.

Elsewhere on the Riviera, six drive-in mask distribution points have opened in Antibes on Thursday, including ones at Fort Carre and at the Palais des Congrès in Juan-les-Pins. Masks are being distributed in alphabetical order by surname over the next few days. You'll need to take appropriate ID and proof of address less than 6 months old.

The town of Mandeliu-La-Napoule has made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places from 4 May. The town has also announced plans to hand out a "restart kit" to local merchants before stores re-opening on May 11th. The kit contains masks and gel and is being given out to traders at the town hall on several days next week.

1st May - Residents of Nice are being invited to celebrate the 1st of May at their windows. The Ville de Nice are inviting everyone to sing the Nice anthem "Nissa la Bella" at 11am this morning. Each year, residents traditionally gather in the Jardin des Arènes in Cimiez for the traditional May Festival. But due to the current health crisis the City of Nice has created a special May Day in confinement.

On your bike - The French government is encouraging people to cycle in order to keep pollution levels low once lockdown restrictions end. Under the €20 million scheme, everyone will be eligible for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics.

Elisabeth Borne, Minister for Ecological Transition, said the move was aimed at reducing driving when commuting for short journeys to keep air pollution levels down once restrictions are lifted. Borne added that “60% of journeys made in France are less than 5 kilometres - making bicycles "a real transport solution",

Business

US stock markets have ended the month of April within 20 percent of record highs reached in February as Wall Street capped its best month since 1987 despite a sell off on Thursday.

Markets have been spurred by huge government and central bank stimulus as well as hopes that the economy will start to pick up and that drug trials may yield some kind of effective treatment for the coronavirus.

However ,the overall economic picture remains grim with a five week tally of unemployment claims hitting 30 million people and consumer spending plummeting.

Earnings season is continuing apace with 236 of the firms in the S&P 500 having already reported quarterly results.Of those ,two-third have surprised consensus estimates to the upside while 90 have made negative announcements.

Giant tech firms appear to have weathered the storm better than most other companies with Apple ,Amazon and Facebook all reporting positively.

 

Apple shares have risen by 2 percent in after-hours trading in New York after the firm reported growth for the first quarter.

Sales climbed to 58.3 billion dollars-up from 58 billion in the same period last year beating expectations of 54.5 billion.

iPhone sales for the quarter fell by 7.2 percent to 28.9 billion dollars but wearables such as Watch and AirPods rose by 22,5 percent to 6.3 billion dollars.

Apple services such as subscriptions to Apple Music and Apple TV jumped by 16.6 percent to 13.3 billion dollars.

Apple said that while business in China had not fully rebounded ,all of its stores in the country had reopened in mid-March  and that sales were improving.

 

And-Sales at Amazon surged by 26 percent in the first quarter as the coronavirus lockdown boosted demand for the firm’s groceries ,online marketplace and cloud computing services.

Amazon also said that sales could rise by up to 28 percent in the second quarter but admitted that its services had been “strained” because of demand.

The firm said that it would be spending around 4 billion dollars on coronavirus measures until the end of June including increasing worker pay ,purchases of masks and other protective equipment  and cleaning expenses for it premises.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said that the current crisis is demonstrating the firm’s adaptability and the strength of its business as “never before”.

Sport

Football-Paris St Germain have been awarded the French Ligue 1 title after the season was ended early because of the coronavirus pandemic.

PSG were 12 points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand when French football was suspended indefinitely on the 13th of March.

Earlier this week ,the French government cancelled the rest of the season.

Lyon meanwhile say that they may appeal against the decision to scrap the rest of the season after they missed out on a European place which the club says will cost it 10’s of millions of euros.

 

Leagues in other countries may resume at some point in the next few weeks although some players including Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero have said that they are scared about the prospect of returning to action.

 

Cricket-As expected ,the new 100 Competition in England has been put off until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 100 -ball competition involving 8 teams in separate men’s and women’s tournaments had been due to start on July the 17th but the England and Wales Cricket Board has now said that it won’t be possible to hold the event this year.

 

Rugby Union-The quarter finals of the European Champions Cup have been put back until at least September after the French government banned all sport for the next four months.

The last 8 of the competition was due to be played earlier this month but will now not be staged until at least the autumn.

Weather

Partially cloudy with moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 22 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 15 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

The weekend-Partially cloudy tomorrow with moderate to strong westerly winds across the Var.Fine on Sunday.Highs of 19-22 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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