French and Riviera News Wednesday 13th January 2021

News

Monaco - A 75-year-old resident of the Principality has died from Covid at the Princess Grace Hospital. This is the seventh death of a resident in Monaco and the fourth since the start of 2021. On Tuesday, 25 new positive cases were identified amongst residents bringing the total to 1,092. Twenty-five people are currently hospitalized and nine people including six residents are still being treated in intensive care. 124 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Covid-19 - According to France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran, the English variant of Covid-19 represents around 1% of positive tests in France. On Tuesday France identified 20,000 additional cases of Covid-19 and 362 deaths in 24 hours. During a hearing in the French parliament on Tuesday, the Health Minister said that he is not in favour of giving priority to elected officials in France for the vaccination against Covid-19. Adding that they should "set an example and wait their turn”. The minister was responding to a question about the possibility of granting priority access to vaccines for elected officials of the Republic.

Vaccination - The French Ministry of Health said that vaccination appointments for those aged 75 and over, outside of nursing homes can be made from this Thursday either by phone or through the website sante.fr, with the first vaccinations of that age group being carried out from next Monday, 18th January.

Vaccination in the region - However locally, the city council of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has announced that Covid-19 vaccinations are due to begin this Friday, January 15th, starting with people over 75 years old. The aim is to vaccinate the entire local population over 75 years of age who wish to be vaccinated, as well as patients suffering from co-morbidities, before the end of February. Since Tuesday afternoon it's been possible to make an appointment. There are several ways to do this - online at the website antibes-juanlespins.com, by calling 04 92 91 35 79 or by visiting the vaccination center at 288 Chemin de Saint-Claude in Antibes. The vaccination center, located at the Maison des Associations, will work alongside the Antibes hospital center. The hospital will welcome those over 75 as soon as it has completed the vaccination of health workers. Residents of Antibes Juan-les-Pins, Vallauris Golfe-Juan and Villeneuve-Loubet may be treated by the Antibes vaccination center. The town hall added that the establishment of a vaccination center in Vallauris is under study and should open at the end of January. A third center will be opened in Valbonne to accommodate the inhabitants of the middle country of the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration. Finally, the population in the north of the Sophia Antipolis Agglomeration will be taken care of by the Departmental Council.

Increase in the number of people wishing to be vaccinated – Meanwhile French doctors have said that there has been an “increase in the number of people wishing to be vaccinated” against Covid. More than 50,000 people were vaccinated in France on Tuesday. In total, since the start of vaccination in France, nearly 190,000 people have been vaccinated. In light of the “more favourable” attitude towards the vaccination doctors also remind patients that the “studies which have been published, in particular on the first messenger RNA vaccines, provide reassuring results”.

To hear more about the vaccine and the campaign here in the Principality, Riviera Radio has had the opportunity to speak to the head of protection against infectious diseases at the Princess Grace Hospital, Dr Keita-Perse. You can hear the interview tomorrow morning at 8.15am during the Full English Breakfast show.  

Defence Council meeting - France’s Health Defence Council will today decide on new measures in the fight against Covid-19. Prime Minister Jean Castex will announce the decisions taken, tomorrow Thursday 14th January. So far according to French media a third lockdown seems to be ruled out suggesting that the new 6pm curfew in 25 departments is “good enough” and could be extended to the whole country. With a possibility of the curfew in the week and a complete lockdown at weekends.

Another concern to be discussed today is the situation in French schools with reportedly, the possible closure of school canteens along with a ban on school sporting activities and school trips. Many high schools are already operating on a one day on, one day off schedule and online lessons. The objective of new measures would be to avoid the complete closure of establishments. 

Road accident - A teenager has been injured in a road accident in Valbonne. The accident occurred near the Ile Verte roundabout during rush hour on Tuesday afternoon. Traffic came to a standstill in the area while emergency services intervened. The teenager, who was on a scooter at the time of the accident, was taken to the Lenval hospital in Nice.

Motorists stranded due to heavy snowfall – Meanwhile heavy snow fall has seen 2,500 vehicles come to a standstill on the A40 motorway between Lyon and Geneva. Several hundred motorists found themselves confined to the cars overnight. Police and firefighters were mobilized along with the Red Cross. The mayor of Bellegarde in the Haute Savoie opened a gymnasium to accommodate those stranded. Authorities say nearly 30 centimeters of snow fell, with traffic slowly resuming at 4am this morning.

Prison sentence following illegal party - Two people have been given a six-month suspended prison sentence and three others are to appear in court in June after being linked to an illegal party organised in Marseille on December 12th and 13th last year during the lockdown. They were convicted of "complicity in endangering the life of others".

3.. 2..1 lift off - During a visit on Tuesday to the Ariane Group, a world leader in access to space based in northern France, French President Emmanuel Macron has promised 500 million euros dedicated to space. The Head of State announced that half a billion euros of the recovery plan would be devoted to space under the leadership of the National Center for Space Studies. The news was very much welcomed by Jean-Yves Le Gall, president of the National Center for Space Studies (CNES), who accompanied the Head of State during his visit.

Le Gall said that “the investment would see 200 million euros spent on equipment manufacturers, which will mean that we will continue to be the leader in the field of satellites” adding that upcoming projects included going to Mars with the Americans on February 18th and the Moon a little later with the Chinese. Space is more and more present in our daily lives, even helping to observe climate change and help in the fight against global warming with the use of satellites.

French series enters Netflix top ten for the first time - A French series entitled “Lupin” has become the first French production to enter the Netflix top ten in the US. Starring French actor and France’s second favourite male personality Omar Sy, the series which was broadcast on January 8th on Netflix has quickly become some of the most viewed content of the platform in several countries, including France and the United States. The series is inspired by the adventures of the gentleman burglar Arsène Lupin, a character created by Maurice Leblanc in 1905.

Business

US Federal Reserve officials have said that there is now a “clearer focus” about the economy’s path forward and a horizon for a fuller recovery. Officials have also said that the transition to a new administration and the likely accelerating vaccine rollout have left them optimistic. The incoming Biden administration has pledged to speed up the vaccine rollout while President Trump has urged states to loosen rules and offer vaccines to all over 65s and to those with chronic health conditions. The Fed is concentrating on the more positive prospects for the economy in the medium term but monetary policy is set to remain on hold for the time being. The president of the Richmond Fed, Thomas Barkin says that “the future has finally come into clear focus with vaccines likely leading to a fuller reopening by the middle of the year”.

Walmart and Walt Disney have become the latest large corporations to indefinitely suspend donations to US lawmakers who voted against President-elect Joe Biden’s election certification. The firms said that in light of last week’s attack on the US Capitol Building, financial contributions to those members of Congress who voted against the lawful certification of state electoral college votes would be halted. Disney said that Congress had had an opportunity to unite and that some lawmakers had sadly refused to embrace the chance. Other large blue chip firms including AT&T, Amazon and Mastercard have announced similar moves over the past few days.

The billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has died at the age of 87. Mr Adelson founded the Las Vegas Sands casino company and was a major political power broker in the US and Israel. He was a significant backer of Donald Trump and the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu. The former US President George W Bush said that Mr Adelson had been an American patriot, a generous benefactor of charitable causes and a strong supporter of Israel.

Sport

Football - There were three games in the English Premier League last night with Manchester United going three points clear at the top of the table thanks to a 1-0 win at Burnley. Sheffield United finally got their first league win of the season in a 1-0 victory over Newcastle and Wolves lost 2-1 at home to Everton. There are two games tonight. Manchester City play Brighton and Spurs host Fulham.

In the English Championship last night QPR were 2-0 winners at Luton and Bournemouth and Millwall drew 1-1.

In the Scottish Premiership Dundee United and St Johnstone drew 2-2.

Formula 1 - The new season will have a delayed start after both the Australian and Chinese Grands Prix were postponed because of Covid-19 restrictions. The season will now start in Bahrain on the 28th March with the Australian Grand Prix rescheduled for the 21st of November. A race at Imola has been added on April 18th and will now be the second race of the season. Monaco is still scheduled for the 23rd May.

Cricket - Australia’s Steve Smith has said that he’s “shocked and disappointed” at suggestions that he deliberately scuffed up the crease on the final day of the third Test against India. The former captain was recorded on the stump camera scraping the crease with his boot during a drinks break. Smith has denied that he was deliberately removing the marks used to guide India’s batsmen at the crease. The incident has been criticised by a number of current and former players including the former England captain Michael Vaughan who described  it as “very, very poor”.

Rugby Union - The French government has asked to see England and Ireland’s virus containment plans before it will allow the national side to travel for the 6 Nations. French clubs have been barred from taking part in European matches this month over fears of the spread of coronavirus. The French government says that it requires necessary guarantees from both England and Ireland and the framework of other nations must also respect the same requirements. France has given the go ahead for the side’s opening 6 Nations game in Rome on February 6th but there are concerns over the new, more easily spread variant that was first identified in the UK.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate north westerly winds. Top temperature 12-13 degrees. Overnight lows of 8 degrees with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with some rain overnight into Friday. Highs of 12-13 degrees.

And finally

A woman has been fined for breaking a Covid curfew by walking her husband on a lead. When stopped by police, she claimed that her partner was in fact a dog. At the weekend, Quebec announced that that people would have to stay indoors between 8pm and 5am in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus. However, dog walkers are allowed to be outside during this time in an exception to the rules. Police spotted the pair at around 9pm, just after the rules took effect. Both of them were fined despite claiming they were acting within the rules for pets. Local reports said that in the evening from Saturday to Sunday, 19 tickets for breaching the curfew were issued.

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