French and Riviera News Thursday 27th August 2020

Local

Two people nearly drown in the Var -Emergency services have intervened after two swimmers nearly drowned on Wednesday. The first swimmer was rescued from the Plage de la Courtade in Porquerolles and the second from the Plage de l’Almanarre in Hyères.  Both were taken to hospital where they are reported to be in a stable condition.

Coronavirus Monaco - One new case of coronavirus has been declared in Monaco on Wednesday bringing the total number of people infected in the Principality to 166 of which 122 are residents and 44 are people living outside of the Principality.

On Wednesday, a non-resident Covid-19 patient was discharged from hospital. In total, three people are still being cared for at the Princess Grace Hospital, including a resident who is in intensive care.

To date, 32 people are being followed by the home monitoring centre.

Coronavirus – Meanwhile latest figures have shown that France has recorded its highest number of coronavirus cases since the end of lockdown and since testing has been carried out on a large scale. Nearly 5,500 new cases and 27 new clusters were identified on Wednesday compared to 3,304 Tuesday, said the public body.

Due to a ”computer failure” Public Health France was  unable to specify on Wednesday the number of deaths as well as the number of people hospitalized and in intensive care.

During an interview with French media on Wednesday Prime Minister Jean Castex called on the French "to be responsible" in the face of the resurgence of the epidemic. Castex also said that the possibility of a return to lockdown “was not the government’s objective” and he went on to defend the government’s decision not to supply free masks saying the he does not "want to pay for masks to families who do not need them", adding that "young people in urban areas" have already obtained them in cities where wearing a mask is compulsory in public transport . He concluded that "Masks in schools is not a school supply, it is a protection tool."

As far as the economic recovery plan is concerned the Prime Minister confirmed that it will be presented on Thursday 3rd September. Jean Castex concluded by saying the he feared  that the economic and social crisis "is more dangerous" than health.

Backlash against new measures in Marseille - Marseille’s second deputy mayor Samia Ghali has said that the new health restrictions are  “total hypocrisy” and “ridiculous”, questioning the efficacy of unwashed masks that she says people have been wearing for weeks on end because free masks were not made available. Ghali has also demanded compensation for restaurants forced to close early.

On Wednesday mask-wearing for people aged over 11 was made compulsory in Marseille as part of new rules to tackle a sharp acceleration of Covid-19 cases in the Bouches-du-Rhône department.

Bars and restaurants throughout the department were also been made to close their doors from 11pm to 6am under the new measures that will remain in place until 30 September.

Magic Johnson and Brad Pitt - Basketball legend Magic Johnson has been seen dining at the Michelangelo restaurant Chez Mamo on Wednesday evening, in Antibes. Able to continue his trip in Europe despite the health crisis having carried out testing in both Italy and France,  Magic Johnson is familiar with the region after having fell in love with Antibes back in 1992 while preparing American players in Monaco for the Barcelona Olympics.

Meanwhile another familiar face was spotted near the Chateau Miraval in Correns on Wednesday that of American actor Brad Pitt, the 56-year-old American star arrived discreetly and was accompanied by a very pretty brunette.

National

Poll shows rise in concern on spread of coronavirus amongst French - According to a new poll published on Wednesday, concern for the spread of the coronavirus is on the rise amongst French people.

74% of French say they are worried about the spread of the virus, up 18 points since the start of the summer with men being less worried than women 70% compared of men compared to 78% of women.

74% of French people say they are worried about taking public transport and 70% when it comes to a visit to the elderly or vulnerable and 60% are fearful of sending their children back to school.

Business

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has said that the UK was the hardest hit by Covid-19 among major economies from April to June, with its economy suffering its biggest slump on record over the three-month period as coronavirus lockdown measures pushed the country officially into recession.

Its 20.4% contraction was well above the 9.8% drop for the 37 OECD nations as a whole, the think tank said.

Spain was the next worst hit, with a decline of 18.5%.

And - Chinese financial technology group Ant has unveiled plans for a stock market debut that may raise a record $30bn (£23bn).

The company, affiliated with online retail giant Alibaba, says it will sell shares in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The announcement comes amid rising tensions as the Trump administration cracks down on Chinese firms.

While many in the West won't have heard of Ant, it is best known in China for the mobile payments powerhouse Alipay.

Sport

Basketball - The NBA postponed Wednesday's three play-off games after the Milwaukee Bucks called off their fixture in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake. Former US President Barack Obama, a dedicated basketball fan, tweeted his support of the walkout.

Football - Chelsea have signed England left-back Ben Chilwell from Leicester on a five year deal for £4M.

And - According to reports Lionel Messi's dad is already in England to discuss a two-year deal with Manchester City after the Argentina forward, said he wants to leave Barcelona. If the deal goes ahead, it could cost City £500m. 

Cricket - Australia captain Aaron Finch says his team's limited-overs tour of England is for the "health of the global game".

The Australians have arrived into a bio-secure bubble in Derby before three Twenty20 matches against England at Southampton, starting on 4 September.

They will be followed by three one-day internationals at Old Trafford on 11, 13 and 16 September.

Rugby Union - Bath scored two second-half tries at Franklin's Gardens as they beat Northampton for their third straight win since the season restarted, sending them fourth in the Premiership.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 28 degrees in Monaco, Cannes and Antibes. 34 degrees in Saint Tropez, 31 in Toulon and the Var with light variable winds.

This evening going down to 21 degrees across the region with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday and the start of the weekend highs of 32 degrees starting of fine on Friday rain is expected inland reaching the coast by the afternoon with thundery showers by the evening and continuing into Saturday.

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