French and Riviera News Thursday 4th June 2020

Weather warning - Météo France has issued a Orange weather warning with storms forecast in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var until 3pm this afternoon. There's also an orange warning in both departments for heavy rain and flooding from 9am to 3pm today.

Coronavirus - There has been one additional death from the coronavirus in the Alpes Maritimes on Wednesday. Latest figures released by the regional health agency have noted that no new deaths were reported in the Var.

Since the start of the epidemic, the Covid-19 has claimed 252 victims of which 70 were in nursing homes in the Alpes-Maritimes and 227 in the Var, of which 96 were in nursing homes.

Pressure continues to ease on hospital admissions since early April with 340 people still in hospital in both regions of which 12 are in intensive care units.

Covid-19 testing in Monaco - No new cases of coronavirus were reported in Monaco as voluntary Covid-19 testing continues for employees in Monaco. If your surname begins with the letter C, you can go to the Grimaldi Forum today, June 4, and if it's the letter D, testing is on Friday June 5th at the Grimaldi Forum. You're reminded not to forget your proof of employment, your ID and your mask.

StopCovid – France's digital minister has said that the coronavirus contact-tracing app “StopCovid” has been downloaded 600,000 times since it became available on Tuesday.

The app is designed to prevent a second wave of infections by using smartphone logs to warn users if they have been near someone who later tested positive for the virus.

Health emergency to be extended – Meanwhile, the French government has announced plans to extend the national health emergency until October. The national health emergency which was declared on March 23rd in France was extended on May 11th until July 10th.

The question of extending the state of emergency will be decided on June 17th according to health developments and a report from the Scientific Council.

Government officials say that they need to keep the state of emergency in place during the summer allowing regional prefects to continue to make decisions, such as the closing of beaches or banning events due to the coronavirus.

Fines for littering on the increase in Cannes - Police in Cannes have issued several fines to people for littering the streets and discarding rubbish.

Since the lifting of lockdown, the number of fines has increased, with over 150 fines of up to 450 euros.

The City's message is clear there is a zero tolerance for littering.

Sailing school in Cagnes sur mer to reopen - The sailing school in Cagnes sur mer has announced that it will reopen on Monday June 8th. Registrations are now open for summer courses from June 29th to August 21st.

With all the necessary health measures in place to respect social distancing, the club also invites people to register online. For more information go to www.ecoledevoile.cagnes.fr

Princess Charlene of Monaco public swimming pool to remain closed for the summer - Meanwhile the mayor of La Turbie has said that the local Princess Charlene of Monaco public swimming pool will remain closed for the summer season.

The decision he said was “regrettable” and taken due to the organisation and cost involved in implementing the necessary health measures.

Mayor of Nice to allow exceptional terrace extensions to restaurants - The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has said that restaurants which don't have a terrace may be able to organise entertainment evenings by closing certain traffic lanes in coordination with city authorities.

Estrosi said that restaurants which do have terraces can extend them where possible, subject to respecting certain principles, in particular regarding fire safety, pedestrian access, the rights of third parties and respect for the neighbourhood in terms of noise. After signing an agreement, those terrace extensions will be authorized until the end of September.

Casino’s in Monaco to reopen from Friday - As Monte Carlo’s casinos prepare to reopen to the public this Friday, Casino director of the Société des Bains de Mer, Pascal Camia, has said the aim is to make “Monaco the most secure gaming destination in Europe”.

The closing of the Principality’s casinos for the first time in more than half a century due to the coronavirus has led to management preparing an unprecedented road to recovery with all necessary health measures allowing the casinos to open at the same time as cafes, restaurants and bars.

Event workers stage protest in Nice - Event workers have staged a demonstration in Nice. Those protesting included caterers, drivers and other personnel who have been facing reduced incomes because of the cancellation of the cultural, sporting and business meetings at which they usually earn their living. About 150 people gathered to protest on the Place Massena on Wednesday, while observing social distancing.

Protests - A French government spokesperson has insisted that France is not a racist country and should not be compared with the US. The comments were made after a banned rally was held in Paris to protest against the death in police custody of Adama Traore in July 2016 in France.

Police fired teargas and rubber bullets at protesters on Tuesday evening. About 20,000 people turned up for a demonstration that was banned by the authorities.

The Lancet medical journal issue statement over medical study - The prestigious medical journal The Lancet has distanced itself from the much-criticized study it published on the hydroxychloroquine used as a treatment against Covid-19

The journal wishes to "alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to [its] attention" regarding the study, which is currently the subject of an audit initiated by its authors.

The warning was issued in the form of an "expression of concern", a formal statement used by scientific journals to indicate that a study is potentially problematic.

The study in question led to the discontinuation of hydroxychloroquine clinical trials worldwide, as it concluded that the drug is not beneficial to hospitalized Covid-19 patients and may even be harmful. Published on May 22 in The Lancet, it draws on data from 96,000 patients hospitalized between December and April in 671 hospitals and compares the status of those who received treatment with that of patients who did not.

In the wake of its release, many researchers expressed doubts about the study, including skeptical scientists about the benefit of hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19.

The study was also attacked by the defenders of hydroxychloroquine, foremost the French researcher Didier Raoult. After having already described the study as "messy", he estimated that it had been incorrectly carried out.

Meanwhile the ANSM, the French Medicines Agency, which suspended clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine last week, has said that following the statement from The Lancet they will re-examine their position on the clinical trials.

Business

Scores of former Facebook employees have slammed Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to act on posts by US President Donald Trump which they say is a betrayal of company ideals.

In an open letter published by the New York Times ,the former employees implored the Chief Executive to implement checks on speeches by political leaders as it does for other users including fact checks and labels on potentially harmful posts.

The former staffers said that the company that they joined “valued giving users a voice as loud as their government’s -protecting the powerless rather than the powerful”.

The letter has deepened the crisis at Facebook’s top management team who were forced to defend their decision at a meeting on Tuesday after employees had walked out in protest over the firm’s lack of action over Mr Trump’s inflammatory remarks.

 

The United States is to suspend passenger flights from China from the 16th of June in the latest signs of tension between the world’s two largest economies.

The US Department for Transportation says that its taking reciprocal action against Beijing for refusing to let US airlines resume flights to China.

The two countries are already at loggerheads over Hong Kong which is threatening to derail the Phase 1 trade agreement signed at the end of last year.

President Trump has repeatedly accused China of unfair trade practices and has in recent weeks criticised its handling of the coronavirus crisis as well as its policy on Hong Kong.

China has moved to ease restrictions on charter flights in recent weeks but not from the United States.

 

And-Three former UK Finance Ministers have warned of mass unemployment in the aftermath of the coronavirus crisis.

Alistair Darling ,George Osborne and Philip Hammond were giving evidence to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee where they said that UK unemployment could hit levels not seen since the 1980’s.

The three former Chancellors were asked about the severity of the crisis compared to the financial crash of 2008-2009 and what measures they thought could revive the economy and whether taxation should be increased to help pay the UK’s mounting debts.

Mr Darling who was the last Labour Chancellor of the Exchequer said that unless the government gets a grip on the virus it’s “difficult to see” how the economy can be revived successfully while George Osborne said that he was more optimistic but that huge challenges lay ahead.

Philip Hammond who was Chancellor until Boris Johnson became Prime Minister said that he thought it was “too early to say” how things were going to pan out but that he considered the key to a sustained revival was the development of an effective vaccine against the virus.If that didn’t happen rapidly , he said that businesses and employees would just have to “learn to live” with Covid-19.

Football-English Premier League clubs are set to discuss options if the season is curtailed after the restart on the 17th of June.

All clubs are to be given a say in a detailed debate over how to finalise the League table if the season can’t be completed.

Matches could be called off again if there’s a surge in new coronavirus cases or if there is a large outbreak at one or more clubs.

It’s not thought that scrapping relegation will be considered as part of the discussions.

Sport

Formula 1 -The Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has backed Lewis Hamilton’s anger over the death in police custody of African American George Floyd.

The world champion has spoken out twice this week about Mr Floyd’s death and said on Tuesday that he was “completely overcome with rage”.

Toto Wolff said that “Lewis is a supporter of minorities” and that he had learned “ a lot” from him.

Formula 1’as first black driver has been deeply affected by the death of Mr Floyd after a police office knelt on his neck for several minutes.

Mr Wolf said that “it is very hard for us to comprehend how difficult it is a black man” and that he was happy that Lewis has been “so vocal” in his protests.

 

Cricket-Three West Indies players have decided not to join the tour of England because of concerns over the coronavirus.

Batsmen Shimron Hetmeyer and Darren Bravo as well as all-rounder Keemo Paul will not travel to England.

The three Test tour is set to start behind closed doors on the 8th of July. 

 

Weather

ORANGE WEATHER ALERT IN FORCE FOR THE ALPES-MARITIMES AND VAR.

Heavy rain and thunderstorms with the risk of localised flooding.

The bad weather should clear by late afternoon.

Moderate westerly winds and a high of 21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 17 degrees on the coast and 14 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Partially cloudy with highs of 23-25 degrees.

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