French and Riviera news Tuesday 24th March 2020

France to tighten containment measures - France’s Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced new restrictions to fight the coronavirus epidemic on Monday March 23 on TF1. Physical activity is limited to one hour and within a radius of 1 km , the markets will be closed with certain exceptions and travel for health reasons will only be authorized with  a medical certificate. The amount of the fines has been increased  to 1,500 euros.

Latest figures - According to figures released by the Minister of Health on Monday, March 23rd, 860 people have died in France since the start of the epidemic, including 186 in the past 24 hours. The number of confirmed cases is now 19,856, with 3,176 more cases in one day. According to Olivier Véran, 8,675 people are hospitalized due to Covid-19, 1,435 more than the day before. Among them, 2,082 are in intensive care. 

Testing - Meanwhile the  French government has announced plans to begin massive widespread testing for the coronavirus to begin when the lockdown period ends.

A recent Chinese study, published in Science magazine,  found that at the beginning of the epidemic in Wuhan, 86 per cent of those infected were not detected and very possibly went on to contaminate others.

The approach in France at first was to test those who presented symptoms and then isolate positive cases and all those traced to have been in contact with them. This failed to stem the transmission of the virus significantly.

According to biologists and doctors the strategy  was the only option as there were simply not enough test kits, or labs available to process the results.

France is now racing to produce enough kits to be able to test massively once confinement ends – it will be vital to know who tests positive to Covid-19 in case there is another wave.

HSH Prince Albert of Monaco - HSH Prince Albert of Monaco has announced that during the health crisis currently facing the world, his Government is more than ever mobilized to manage one of the most serious crises the Principality has had to experience since the Second World War.

HSH the Prince will sign in the coming days, a joint COVID-19 monitoring committee , chaired by the Minister of State, in which the representatives of this Assembly will be closely informed of all the decisions taken, or to be taken by His Government. 

Aware of the consequences of this health crisis on everyone’s  life, the Sovereign Prince wishes to reaffirm his unfailing commitment so that all the necessary arrangements are implemented. Welcoming the total mobilization of the staff of the Services of the State and the Municipality, of health, rescue and security as well as volunteers he concluded  that today is the time for action, solidarity and unity.

France’s former Secretary of State for human rights - Claude Malhuret former Secretary of State for Human Rights from 1986 to 1988, now a senator at the head of the group Les Indépendants - République et Territoires at the Luxembourg Palace,  also chairman of Médecins sans frontières from 1978 to 1986, and co-founded of the Doctissimo website in 1999 has said that « A trial on 24 coronavirus patients does not mean that chloroquine can be used on  everyone »

The comments come following the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi’s claim that he was using the treatment after having tested positive for covid-19 and intended to make it available to doctors in Nice. 

Critics were quick to accuse the move as « giving false hope » 

At the end of the 1970s, Claude Malhuret a member of the World Health Organization, was one of the teams that eradicated smallpox in India.

Vaccine - Several countries have launched research programs to find a vaccine against the Covid-19 coronavirus. An international coalition, of which the famous Institut Pasteur is a member, has formed to launch a first clinical study on humans from next September.

Meanwhile an English-language official Chinese daily, the Global Times, has announced that China has started testing the human coronavirus vaccine, information that has not been confirmed by health officials.

According to the Global Times, 108 volunteers in three groups received the first injections last Friday in Wuhan, where the new coronavirus appeared. China gave the green light for a human trial on March 17, the same day that the United States announced the first test of a vaccine against Covid-19, on 45 people.

Cannes hospital launches appeal - Faced with the growing needs of healthcare teams and a growing shortage of material, Cannes hospital has launched an emergency appeal to companies in Cannes.

The president of the medical commission of the establishment of the hospital of Cannes hopes that companies in Cannes, Sophia-Antipolis and the entire area of Grasse area will respond.

In order to function properly and protect caregivers, the establishment lacks FFP2, FFP3 masks, waterproof glasses and waterproof suits.

Quality of air in the region - AtmoSud, the first air quality monitoring laboratory has confirmed that as in China and northern Italy, the effects of the containment measures and traffic restrictions are already being felt. 

A paradox in the middle of the COVID19 pandemic, a virus which attacks the respiratory functions of hundreds of thousands of people.  From Nice to Toulon, and up to Marseille there is a considerable improvement in the air that we breathe.

An example: At Place Arson in the city center of Nice, the level of nitrogen oxide (mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels: heating, transport pollutants and industrial smoke) is in free fall.

Areas close to major traffic routes, such as the Promenade des Anglais in Nice or Boulevard Carnot in Cannes, the rate of pollution and fine particles has dropped by more than 60%.

The drop in economic activity in Italy also has had a significant impact on the air which we breathe on the French Riviera: "Our region is open to two types of large air traffic. Those which come from the south, and those that are commonly called "east wind" and which carry air masses from Liguria and beyond Lombardy. "

 

Football - Unable to attend matches at the Allianz Riviera, Nice supporters will be able to console themselves on their PS4 as OGC Nice plans to organize its first FIFA 20 "MonGymMaFamille" tournament on Wednesday 25th March and Thursday 26th March from 2 p.m. 128 players, divided into 32 groups of four competitors, will compete for the victory.

The winner will have the chance to spend a special moment with a player of their choice from OGC Nice,  as soon as life resumes its course at the training center.

However victim of its own success, the tournament is already sold out for this week. The Gym however specifies that the next session will take place on Wednesday April 1st and Thursday April 2nd. The club will reorganize it every week (Wednesday and Thursday) until the field regains its rights. To participate, volunteers must register online.

 

Business.

The US Federal Reserve has announced a plan to buy as much government-backed debt as it needs to keep financial markets functioning as a massive bail out of businesses and consumers worth in excess of 1.8 trillion dollars stalled in Congress.

The US central bank announced a series of programmes on Monday aimed at supporting large and small businesses which are reeling from the effects of the coronavirus outbreak.

The Fed said that “aggressive efforts must be taken across the public and private sectors to limit the losses to jobs and incomes and to promote a swift recovery once the disruptions abate”.

The Fed added that it would be using its full range of authorities to provide powerful support for the flow of credits to American families and businesses.

Meanwhile ,moves for a government bailout have stalled in Washington with Senate Democrats saying that it does not adequately protect workers or include restrictions on bailed-out businesses.

 

 

The head of the International Monetary Fund has said that the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic will be worse than during the financial crisis of 2008.

Speaking after a virtual meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the G20 group of major developed nations ,Kristalina Georgieva said that it was crucial to stop the virus from spreading and to strengthen health systems everywhere.

She said that the economic impact will be and is severe but the faster the virus stops ,the quicker and stronger the recovery will be.

Countries around the world are already reporting massive spikes in unemployment as businesses lay off staff.

Developing nations where health services are not as developed as in Western nations are facing an increasing emergency as cases of coronavirus increase daily.

 

And-The budget clothing retailer Primark has closed all of its 189 UK stores until further notice as demand drops due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The firm said that it had already closed stores in mainland Europe and wanted to protect the health of its staff and customers.

The chain said that it was facing unprecedented and frankly unimaginable times.

Other UK high street retailers including John Lewis and Timpson have already announced store closures.

The John Lewis department store chain has closed all of its 50 shops for the first time in its 155 year history.

 

Sport.

 

Olympics-His Serene Highness Price Albert the Second of Monaco has suggested that the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo should be put off “probably by two or three months”.

In an interview with RTL last night ,the Prince ,who’s a member of the International Olympic Committee said that the Games could “hardly be staged on the scheduled date”.

The Games are supposed to start on the 24th of July but many countries are calling for them to be put off or scrapped.

Canada and Australia have already said that they won’t be sending teams.

Prince Albert said that putting the Games off by two or three months would be “reasonable”.

So far there’s been no official decision but it seems highly unlikely that the Games can go ahead in July.

 

Formula 1-The Azerbaijan Grand Prix which was due to take place on the 7th of June has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

It’s the 8th race to be called off so far this season with Formula 1 still working on a plan to stage between 15 and 18 races when it’s possible.

The Canadian Grand Prix on the 14th of June is also now in doubt.

 

Football-Uefa has postponed this season’s club finals and says that knockout games in some Champions League matches could be held only over one leg.

Europe’s governing body said that it still hoped to play the Champions League and Europa League finals potentially at the end of mini-tournaments in Istanbul and Gdansk.

It added that there was no possibility of the competitions reaching their scheduled conclusion by the end of May.

 

Boxing-The promotor Eddie Hearn has warned that many fighters will be forced to leave the sport because of the impact of coronavirus.

Mr Hearn said that many boxers will have to get different jobs  and that the virus pandemic is going to have a massive effect on all businesses including boxing.

 

Weather.

 

Quite cloudy with occasional showers and some bright spells later.

Moderate easterly winds and a high of 13 degrees.

Overnight lows of 7 degrees on the coast and 2 degrees inland with some ground frost in places.

Wednesday and Thursday -Sunshine and  showers with a  high of 12 degrees.

 

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