French and Riviera News Tuesday 12th May 2020

Coronavirus Alpes Maritimes and Var - The latest report, from the Regional Health Agency, has shown that there were 7 additional deaths from coronavirus on Monday in the Alpes Maritimes and 5 in the Var.

Since the beginning of the epidemic Covid-19 has claimed 443 lives in both regions, 224 in the Alpes Maritimes and 219 in the Var. 202 people are in hospital in the Alpes Maritimes of which 21 are in intensive care. In the Var, 219 patients are hospitalised of which 21 are in intensive care.

The numbers in intensive care are the lowest since March 25th.

Monaco - In the Principality, no new Covid-19 cases have been reported with 3 more people making a full recovery. The number of cases stands at 96 and 85 patients have been cured. One person is in intensive care at the Princess Grace Hospital.

National - On a national level France experienced a sharp increase in the number of deaths from Covid 19 on Monday. After several days of decline 263 people were declared dead from the virus.

While 26,643 deaths have been recorded to date in France the pressure on A&E services continues to decline with 64 fewer patients.

Since the start of the epidemic 96,431 people have been admitted to hospital of which 56,724 have since been discharged. 22,284 remains in hospital across France.

Making masks obligatory in public spaces - The obligation to wear a mask in public in Nice has been cancelled by the mayor Christian Estrosi.

Estrosi had introduced the compulsory measure, however it was soon challenged by the Human Rights League leading to the withdrawal of the measure on Monday.

Following the announcement, the Mayor of Nice has added that “he will not give up on making masks compulsory in public spaces” introducing a new decree today as part of the health emergency law which was official extended in France on Monday.

Significant rainfall has caused little material damage but has broken records – The Alpes Maritimes and the Var experienced heavy rainfall on Monday. 135mm of rain was recorded in Châteauneuf-Grasse. In the Var, an average of one month’s worth of rain fell overnight from Sunday to Monday.

Yellow vests - Despite the bad weather on Monday it did not stop 50 yellow vests from gathering on the Bandol roundabout at the motorway entrance to the A50 in the Var. The first day of the easing of lockdown in France saw police present as protestors gathered declaring that “they wanted to show that their fight continues”.

Beaches in the Var - The mayor of Toulon Hubert Falco, has said that he is “optimistic” that the region’s coastline will be reopened to the public this weekend. Pending  a decision from the prefecture Falco added that “following talks a favourable outcome could be given by the end of this week”.

Most of the parks and gardens in Toulon were reopened on Monday.

Nice to open beaches this weekend - Meanwhile in Nice the mayor confirmed on Monday that the green light had been given by the prefect for beaches and the Promenade to reopen at the weekend. Swimming, walking and individual sporting activities will be allowed while sunbathing remains prohibited.

100km as the crow flies - The travel limitation of 100 km radius from your home has been introduced as part of the easing of the lockdown measures. While you will no longer need a certificate to circulate freely you will however need a valid “essential reason” for work or family, to go further than 100km from your home. The new certificate required is available on the government website at http://www.interieur.gouv.fr

However, if you’re wondering how far you are allowed to go? There are many online tools which have been published by the government as well as an app entitled “carte de deconfinement (100km) à vol d’oiseau”.

The joys of gardening - According to a recent study the French have discovered the joys of gardening during lockdown, with the sale of outdoor plants tripling in the last eight weeks. 66% of respondents said that had spent more time tending to their garden (or patio) during lockdown and 85% of them said that gardening had occupied "a central place" in their activities during lockdown.

Business

Investors are bracing for a second wave of coronavirus infections after the Chinese city of Wuhan reported five new cases on Monday and a fresh outbreak in South Korea rose to 100.

As countries around the world start to ease lockdown restrictions in an effort to restart their economies ,the concern is that cases of coronavirus will start to increase again.

Germany’s Robert Koch institute has reported that the reproduction or ‘R’ rate has risen to 1.1 meaning that the virus is spreading exponentially.

Analysts say that the re-opening of the global economy is likely to follow the shape of business activity in China where companies are trading and factories are open but not necessarily at capacity.

People in China have remained mainly cautious since lockdown restrictions were lifted. Restaurants are open but reported to be half empty while vehicle sales have risen but are still well below normal.

The pattern is likely to be repeated in Europe and the United States even as activity picks up.

 

Sir Richard Branson is to sell a stake in his Virgin Galactic firm to raise 500 million pounds in order to prop up his other businesses.

Sir Richard has been criticised for seeking financial aid from the UK government for his Virgin Atlantic business and will now sell a stake in his space tourism firm in a bid to meet the shortfall.

The Virgin Group said that it would use the proceeds of the sale to support its leisure ,holiday and travel businesses.

Last week ,Virgin Atlantic said that it was cutting more than 3,000 jobs and ending its operation at Gatwick Airport.

Virgin’s Australian airline entered administration last week.

 

And-The government of Argentina has rescheduled a deadline to restructure 65 billion dollars of debt in an effort to avoid further financial turmoil.

Argentina has asked private bondholders to accept significantly lower interest payments and defer them until 2023 but many have rejected the idea.

The government says that it can’t afford to make the payments amid the coronavirus pandemic but non-payment could make it virtually impossible to obtain any future loans.

At the end of 2019 ,Argentina has racked up 323 billion dollars in debt ,the equivalent of 88 percent of its GDP.

The country has warned that while it’s willing to pay its debts ,it needs the economy to grow before it can make the payments.

 

Sport

Formula 1-Sebastien Vettel is to leaver Ferrari at the end of the season.

Reports say that the four time world champion will move on after contract talks with Ferrari broke down without agreement.

The news has started the rumour mill with suggestions that Carlos Sainz is favourite to get Vettels’ seat with and suggestions that Vettel might move the other way to McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo might also be interested in a seat at McLaren should Sainz leave to join Ferrari after being reportedly unsettled at Renault.

Vettel’s options may be limited and there is no suggestion that he could rejoin Red Bull where he won his 4 world titles.

Football-English Premier League teams have been told that they may have to repay 340 million pounds in television money even if the season resumes behind closed doors.

Reports say that the figure could rise substantially if the season is curtailed and relegation scrapped.

On Monday ,the British government said that there could be no elite sport staged in the country until at least the 1st of June.

Clubs have been meeting to try and engineer a restart behind closed doors.A meeting of the Professional Footballers’ Association and the League Managers’ Association is to be held tomorrow to discuss medical protocols.

Rugby Union-English and French clubs have written to World Rugby with a demand to be involved in the establishment of a new schedule post-coronavirus.

In a joint letter ,the RFU and the LNR say that it’s vital that they are consulted about plans to shake-up the calendar.

Rugby administrators have been discussing how the sport will look after the pandemic with one proposal being to abolish the July tour window in order to run back-to-back international windows in the autumn.

The concept has been endorsed by World Rugby which is also in favour of a revised 6 Nations Championship.

Such changes would require radical alterations to both domestic and European club seasons.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 20-22 degrees.

Overnight lows of 16 degrees on the coast and 14 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Sunshine and showers with highs of 19-21 degrees

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