French and Riviera News Friday 3rd April 2020

 

Coronavirus - Four people carrying the Covid-19 died in hospital on Thursday in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, according to data provided by the ARS. Since the start of the epidemic, 60 patients have died in these two departments. In France, the number of deaths increased to 4,503 (471 more in 24 hours). The Director of Health Jérôme Salomon reported 26,646 people currently hospitalized in France. 6,399 patients are in intensive care.

Nursing home in Mougins - Meanwhle the number of deaths reported at a nursing home in Mougins went from 19 to 24 people confirmed by the Regional Health Agency.

Database - A database launched in France on the Covid-19, has looked at statistics of who is most affected by the new coronavirus. Every day  French health officials update on the coronavirus epidemic, including numbers of confirmed cases, hospitalisations and deaths. But demographers say these figures, along with those in other countries, leave much to be desired. 

Jean-Marie Robine of France’s Instituts for Demographic Studies says that “They report total number of cases, hospitalisations and deaths but the totals correspond to the capacity for testing” of a given country.

For example, the mortality rate appears much lower in Germany because Germany has carried out far more tests than Italy.

France reported an unprecedented rise in the number of confirmed cases on Tuesday, which may be due to no more than expanded testing. 

To have a clearer idea of who is dying from Covid-19, Ined demographers have been compiling data in France and with partners around Europe to expand on what is reported each day by health officials. 

Robine says the information, which was launched on the Ined website on Thursday,  confirms that Covid-19 is deadlier for men than women in general, and that some countries seem more affected than others. 

For reasons not yet clear, the data shows France has one of the lowest sex ratios when it comes to mortality of the new coronavirus. In addition to the sex ratio, expanded demographic research confirms Covid-19 is far more deadly for the elderly. 

Although younger people come down with serious enough cases, data shows they are far likelier to make a recovery. Less than 2 percent of deaths in France have been patients under age 50.

While mortality figures allow for comparisons of how the epidemic is evolving from one country to another, their capacity for recording the actual number of people dying is based on each country’s reporting policy.

Meanwhile it's possible that most coronavirus cases in France are not counted as one patient who was diagnosed over the phone, and who waited out the quarantine at home, alone, had little if any  official intervention. The journalist expains that after having been diagonosed by his GP he does not count in the offcial statistics as he was never tested. According to him it woud appear that there is a non emergency world of coronavirus in France. 

France's agriculture - Agriculture in France has been hit by the lockdown and the restrictions on movement brought in to try to stop the spread of the coronavirus. With restaurants and markets closed, farmers in France are worried about where to sell their harvests. The government has called on people to go work in the fields, and on supermarkets to sell French-grown produce, but one farmer Thibault de Vulpillieres, who grows and sells asparagus  near Toulouse, says the prices being offered are absurdly low. Concluding that the lockdown has completely disrupted his supply chain, but that on a positive not it has also given him the opportunity to develop contact with local customers

Homeless - The French State has announced that it is committing an envelope of 65 million, which can be extended if necessary, in favour of the homeless to both house them and support them in their daily lives.  

Digital travel certificate available from Monday 6th April - France's Interior Minister has announced that a digital travel certificate will be available next Monday. He also confirms that controls will be tightened to avoid people going on vacation over the easter weekend. Printed, on paper and now a digital version. From April 6, next Monday, the exit certificate may be presented on a smartphone, "The service will be accessible online, on the website of the Ministry of the Interior and of the government. Now, the French have adopted the rules of confinement, so it is advisable to give them a little flexibility with this tool", underlined the Minister of the Interior to daily life. We can generate the form from our smartphone and present it to the police who will scan a QR code. It is not a mobile application, in order to avoid a possible "data piracy". Included on the digital version of the certificate must be the time of leaving your domicile. "The time at which you published the document will be accessible to the police," warns the Minister of the Interior, to prevent people from completing the certificate only at the sight of a police check. The police and gendarmes will only have to scan the screen, and this QR Code, to access this information.

As a reminder, non-compliance with confinement is liable to a fine of 135 euros. The government has also decided to introduce a new fine in the event of recidivism within 15 days of an initial verbalization. Class 5, this fine will amount to 200 euros and may be increased to 450 euros, as explained in Decree No. 2020-357 of March 28, 2020 published this Sunday in the Official Journal.

 

Business.

US Federal Reserve officials are saying that the recession “has already arrived” and how soon the economy starts to recover depends on how much aid the government gives it.

Speaking on Thursday ,the Minneapolis Federal Reserve Bank president Neel Kashkari said that when millions and millions of Americans lost their jobs in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis ,it took more than a decade to put the labor market back together.He said that he was pleased so far that action by the Federal government and state governments had focused on trying to keep workers in their jobs.

The White House will start unrolling its 350 billion dollar Paycheck Protection Program today to provide small businesses with grants which will enable them to keep employees on the payroll.

Meanwhile the Dallas Fed president Robert Kaplan has said that the economy is already in “severe contraction” and forecast that unemployment could rise to the low to mid teens.

 

The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits has hit a record high for the second week in a row.

More than 6.6 million people filed jobless claims in the week ending the 28th of March according to the US Department of Labor.

That’s nearly double from a week earlier which was also a record.

Analysts at Bank of America have warned that the United States could see its deepest recession on record with more than 80 percent of citizens now under some form of lockdown which has forced the closure of increasing numbers of businesses.

Some 10 million Americans have now lost their jobs in the past two weeks compared with 9 million who became unemployed during the 2008 financial crisis.

 

And-Oil prices have surged on hopes that Russia and Saudi Arabia might end their feud and agree to production cuts.

On Thursday ,President Trump said that he expected the two sides to cut supply while Saudi Arabia called for an emergency meeting of producers.

The Russian energy minister has said that his country may be willing to resume talks after a previous deal to cut production collapsed last month.

Brent Crude rose by 21 percent on the news to 29 dollars 94 with West Texas Intermediate up 25 percent to 25 dollars 32.

Crude prices have slumped to lows not seen for almost two decades recently as Russia and Saudi Arabia slashed prices and increased production in a fight for market share.

 

Sport.

 

Football-The UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said that English Premier League players should “take a pay cut”  and play their part during the coronavirus pandemic.

There’s been widespread criticism of clubs for furloughing non-playing staff while star players continue to receive full wages.

Mr Hancock said that “given the sacrifices many people are making ,the first thing that Premier League players should do is to make a contribution”.

The Professional Footballer’ Association says that it’s aware of the public sentiment but insists that if clubs can afford to continue paying their staff and players then they should do so.

 

Rugby Union-The English RFU boss Bill Sweeney has urged coach Eddie Jones to keep his “competitive edge” after he signed a new contract that will keep him at Twickenham until after the 2023 World Cup.

Jones has a 78 percent win ratio which makes him one of England’s best ever coaches although he never seems to be far from controversy.

Sweeney recently reprimanded the 60 year old Australian after he claimed that referee Ben O’Keafe had been “biased” against England in their 6 Nations game against Wales.

He said that “occasionally with Eddie,he may slightly cross the line” but that they will manage it.

 

Golf-Organisers of the Open are considering postponing the 2020 Championships because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event is due to take place at Royal St George in Sandwich between the 16th and 19th of July.

A decision will be made within the next few days.Both the US Masters and the US PGA have already been cancelled.

The other Major ,the US Open is due to be played at Winged Foot in New York between the 18th and 21st of June with organisers yet to make a decision on whether it will be played or not.

 

Racing-The Grand National at Aintree tomorrow may have been called off but there’s still some fun to be had with a televised “Virtual Grand National”.

The forty runners who would have been most likely to compete will take part in the virtual race using CGI technology and special algorithms.

Bookmakers are offering odds with all profits going to NHS charities.

The Virtual race will be shown on ITV television at 6pm tomorrow.

 

Weather.

 

Clear skies  with light south easterly winds.

Top temperature 15-17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 9 degrees on the coast and 4 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Clear skies with highs of 16-19 degrees.

 

 

 

 

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