French and Riviera News Monday 16th March 2020

Local

Local elections –More than half of France's population abstained from voting in the first round of local elections on Sunday as the coronavirus pandemic forced 'non-essential' facilities to close for an indefinite period from midnight on Saturday.

Following the first round of local elections on Sunday results have shown that the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi is in the lead in Nice.

With a record abstention estimated at more than 60%, voters on the Riviera deserted the polling stations on Sunday.

The outgoing mayor of Nice topped the first round of local elections with 47.63% of the vote. In Cannes David Lisnard looked set for clear victory with almost 88% of the vote. In Antibes republican Jean Leonetti was re-elected mayor of Antibes for a fifth term on Sunday evening with 52.89%.

And in Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Joseph Segura, was re-elected in the first round with 54.57% of the votes (against 23.39% in 2014) and in Fréjus in the Var, National rally candidate and mayor David Rachline was re-elected obtaining 50.61% of the vote.

Many French people have criticised the government’s decision to enforce new measures limiting circulation in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus yet, at the same time going ahead with the first round of voting and calling for people to go to their polling stations.

Some politicians have since called for the second round to be postponed. Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe is today meeting with his “council of scientists” to decide if there is a threat from the coronavirus and holding the second round of local elections, which are due to take place on the 22nd March.

Coronavirus – The latest regional figures of coronavirus cases in the region currently stand at 279 in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region, with 57 cases in the Alpes Maritimes and 63 in the Var. So far one death has been reported on Friday 13th March in the region, the victim had a long history of health conditions.

In the Principality, health authorities have been informed that 4 more people have tested positive for Covid-19 to date. This brings the number of people infected in Monaco to 7. The vast majority of these are mild cases.

On a National basis figures on Sunday showed 900 new cases in France, 5,423 in total and 127 deaths. This increase in the number of deaths and contaminations is the largest recorded in a day in France since the appearance of the virus on the territory.

The Minister of Health called for all the French to respect the social distancing measures recommended by the authorities to curb the spread of the virus, saying he had himself observed, in Grenoble and Paris, many scenes of family outings this weekend, including grandparents with their grandchildren.

Meanwhile France's Minister of Economy, Bruno le Maire  announced on Sunday that the security of supply of French food and basic necessities is guaranteed for the days and weeks to come. "There is no difficulty in terms of supply and there will not be any," says Bruno Le Maire, who called on people to "not rush into distribution networks and supermarkets" and " to shop as before ".

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe at 8pm on Saturday adopted stage 3 of the measures against the spread of the coronavirus.

Here in Monaco the government followed suit with an official statement released on Saturday evening.

From midnight on Saturday and until further notice in both France and Monaco restaurants, cafes, cinemas and nightclubs closed. Places of worship will remain open but "the gatherings and the ceremonies will have to be postponed". Shops are also affected by this closure, with the exception of those deemed "essential". Food stores and markets, pharmacies, petrol stations, banks and tobacco and press offices will remain open. Public services also remain open.

The French Prime Minister noted that the government felt that there was not "enough awareness by French women and men of the importance of their role in the face of the virus".

CoronAIDES - Childcare, homework help, shopping for the elderly, even just company ... many of you have already offered your services on "CoronAIDES, solidarity coronavirus", the platform of the Nice-Matin group. A simple initiative, but in great solidarity.

By Saturday evening, more than 30,000 people had already visited our platform, the first of its kind in France. To find out more go to
CoronAIDES or download app.

Daycare service in France – France’s « daycare service » following closure schools - Following French President , Emmanuel Macron’s promise of a «daycare service» for working parents following the closure of nurseries and primary schools the Ministry of Health has this afternoon released a statement specifying the « guidelines » which will be set up by region.

Who will benefit from this childcare?

Not surprisingly, staff from hospitals, clinics and other public or private health establishments (SSR, HAD, health centers.). But also the city's health and medico-social staff: doctors, nurses, caregivers, midwives, carers for the elderly or disabled, health transporters, biologists and pharmacists.

School information - As of Monday, schools in France will be closed. According to the rector Richard Laganier, the professors of the academy have prepared for this unprecedented measure.
In exceptional health crisis, exceptional means. This is, in essence, the message delivered by the rector of the Nice Academy, Richard Laganier after a marathon of meetings with the unions of school leaders, teachers, federations of parents of pupils, and at the prefecture, with the Alpes Maritimes prefect, Bernard Gonzalez.

The objective? Bring together students, teachers and parents around a "home school" system with lessons and homework.

« The courses will be done online, remotely. All the tools (the digital workspace, CNED course access codes, virtual class) were deployed last week from nursery to high school »

For more information and the online platform go to education.gouv.fr and search CNED.

Nice airport - In the context of the covid-19 pandemic Nice Côte d'Azur Airport has announced the reorganization of its terminals.

As of midnight tonight, Monday March 16, all flights to and from Nice Côte d´Azur Airport will be operated from Terminal 2 with the closure of Terminal 1. The reorganization is part of a responsible approach to passenger management while respecting air transport safety and security rules. Nice Côte d´Azur Airport has decided to take this measure in order to optimize the management of passenger flows and until further notice.

Borders - Germany will close its borders with three border countries including France from Monday morning.

German authorities have decided to close the borders of the country with France, Switzerland and Austria from Monday morning onwards in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

The closure will take effect from 8 am local time but will not affect the transport of goods and will make an exception for cross-border workers, according to reports.

First case of coronavirus in a French prison - This is the first case of Covid-19 has been reported in a French prison. The prison located in south east of Paris confirmed the report on Saturday.

The 74-year-old prisoner arrived at the complex in the Val de Marne department on 8th March and did not have any contact with other prisoners, according to prison authorities.

Justice minister Nicole Belloubet said that one of the nurses at the prison had also contracted the virus and was now in isolation at home.

Business

The US Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates again  and has launched a 700 billion dollar stimulus programme in a fresh bid to calm markets from near panic over the coronavirus.

On Sunday ,the Fed slashed interest rates to near zero as part of coordinated action agreed with the UK ,Eurozone ,Japan ,Canada and Switzerland.

In a news conference on Sunday ,the Fed chair Jerome Powell said that the pandemic was having a profound impact on the economy.

The Fed has cut rates to a range of zero to 0.25 percent and said that it would begin buying bonds to pump money directly into the economy.

The latest move comes after the US central bank made an emergency rate cut of half of one percent on the 3rd of March.

Early indications suggest that the latest emergency measures will not shore up financial markets  with US stock futures down by 4 percent.

Asian markets have fallen again this morning despite the US Federal Reserve’s latest emergency action with investors instead concentrating on damaging economic data from China showing that industrial output has plunged by 13.5 percent as a result of Covid19 with retail sales plunging by 20.5 percent.

Analysts say that investors want to see a lot more US fiscal stimulus put to work and warned that the performance of the economy and the markets will be mainly determined by the severity and duration of the virus outbreak.

The MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan has fallen by 2.4 percent today with Shanghai blue-chips down 1.5 percent despite the Chinese central bank announcing a surprise fresh round of liquidity injections into the financial system.

New Zealand’s central bank has slashed interest rates by three quarters of one percent to 0.25 percent while the Reserve Bank of Australia pumped more money into the financial system.

And-Oil prices have tumbled again this morning with traders panicked by the spread of the coronavirus amid a price war between top producers.

Brent Crude was down by 1 dollar 13 a little earlier this morning to 32 dollars 72 with West Texas Intermediate down 72 cents at 31 dollars and one cent.

The latest falls come after the price of crude slumped by 25 percent last week -the largest weekly fall since 2008.

Sport

Coronavirus-The international sporting calendar has been decimated because of security restrictions due to the spread of Covid19.

Football and rugby matches have been cancelled along with motorsport ,cricket and golf with questions still hanging over the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo despite assurances from the Japanese government that they will go ahead.

The Italian Football Association has called for Euro 2020 to be called off and matches in the English Premier League postponed until at least the 3rd of April and doubts over whether the season will be able to be completed at all.

Many clubs have issued financial warnings with a lack of revenue over the coming weeks putting some in extreme financial difficulties.

Formula 1-Ferrari has announced that it’s stopping production at its Formula 1 and road -car factories in Italy for two weeks as a result of coronavirus.

The move is part of a wider lockdown that started last week across Italy.

The firm said that it had taken the decision for the wellbeing of its employees.

Other Formula 1 teams are carrying out work for now despite uncertainty over when the season will actually start.

 

Rugby Union-The English Premiership is set to announce that all games are to be postponed because of the virus outbreak.

The English league’s decision comes following similar moves in the Pro 14 and the Top 14 in France.

A 4 week suspension will be initially discussed but some clubs are reported to want a longer break of 12 weeks.

 

Golf-The US Masters may now be played in the autumn following its postponement due to Covid19.

It’s the first time that the Masters has been postponed since the Second World War

There is now no golf scheduled until the PGA RBC Heritage on the 16th of April and the European Tour Andalucia Open on April the 30th.

 

Weather

Clear skies with a moderate to strong easterly wind developing across the region.

Top temperature 16-17 degrees.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Mainly fine with highs of 16-18 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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