French and Riviera News Wednesday 14th October 2020

Local

Drop in number of people being tested for Covid-19 in Nice - The number of people being tested for Covid-19 in Nice has dropped from 150 to 70 during September.

According to the head of the infectious disease department of the University Hospital of Nice “the number of contaminations in the department is stable with 90 cases recorded every day with no indication that the situation is worsening”.

The latest figures from the regional health agency show that in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region for the first week of October, there were 6,060 new cases of Covid-19, 848 people were hosptialised, 182 were in intensive care and 31 people had died.

Romain Alexandres from the Alpes Maritimes regional health agency has added that “Just because the number of COVID-19 tests is lower it does not necessarily mean the danger is over and it is therefore absolutely necessary to continue and increase the barrier measures to reduce the risk.

Monaco - Meanwhile in Monaco five new cases of Covid-19 were declared on Tuesday with the number of residents affected by the virus reaching 241.

Four people are currently hospitalised in the Principality and 21 people are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Covid-19 figures - Latest national figures published by Public Health France have shown that an additional 226 people with Covid-19 were admitted to intensive care on Tuesday. To date 1,633 are currently in intensive care and 32,933 people have died from the virus in France.

Hospital staff still working despite being infected - Meanwhile according to reports the situation in France’s hospitals is becoming increasingly difficult.  As hospitals are faced with lack of personnel medical staff who have tested positive for Covid-19 are still having to work, as is the case at Nantes University Hospital.

The CGT secretary of Nantes University Hospital, Olivier Terrien has said he is “shocked by such practices” adding that the hospital is playing Russian roulette with the lives of patients and staff.  

Volunteers for vaccine trials - In less than ten days, 25,000 people of all ages have volunteered in France to test potential vaccines against Covid-19.

The National Institute of Health and Medical Research launched the appeal on October the 1st and say a record number of volunteers have since come forward.

Two types of clinical trials are to be carried out and are expected to start by the end of the year.

French President television interview this evening - French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation this evening at 7.55pm on TF1 and France 2.

Following a meeting with the defence council on Tuesday there are reports that the Head of State may announce a possible 8pm curfew for Paris during his television appearance this evening, a measure which is currently being considered.

Paris and Lille are of particular concern to the French President concerning the circulation of Covid-19 however, there is concern that should the measure be taken for these cities there is the possibility that it could affect others across France. The final decision is not yet clear and will no doubt be clarified this evening.

Meanwhile local MP Eric Ciotti has criticised the French government saying that “mixed messages were given on Tuesday with new restrictions being introduced yet the Minister of tourism encouraging the French to still go on holiday during the upcoming school half term”.

La Grande Braderie of Saint Tropez cancelled – Shop owners in Saint Tropez have aired their “anger and disbelieve” following the news that the prefect has refused the authorization of this years “Grand Braderie”.

The event which is a popular big clearance sale for many shops in the town with fantastic bargains to be found is normally held from the 23rd-26th October. 

Mooring restrictions to save Posidonia - In line with regulations set out by the maritime prefect for the Alpes Maritimes in June of last year regulating the anchoring of yachts over 20 meters further measures are to be introduced to determine zones in the Mediterranean which will ban mooring to stop the destruction of Posidonia

Posidonia has been a protected species since 1988. The seagrass beds are the lungs of the Mediterranean and are often torn off by the anchors of large vessels.

With the surface occupied by Posidonia reducing in recent decades. The maritime prefect of the Mediterranean has decided to act introducing “no mooring zones” which will be clearly marked for vessels 20 meters and over in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Increase in police budget - Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has announced a series of changes for the police force in France with an increase to the police budget of 325 million euros.

The minister also announced that 15 million euros would be allocated to a bonus intended for 22,000 police officers working at night. The announcement comes after a series of violent attacks targeting police officers in the Paris region.

Agricultural Show cancelled - Organisers have confirmed that the Agricultural Show, which was to be held from February 27th to March 7th, 2021 at Porte de Versailles, in Paris, will not be taking place due to Covid-19.

This year the event had to close its doors early, on March 1st, after the government decided to ban events bringing together more than 5,000 people.

However the Minister of Agriculture has confirmed that the open competition, which judges around 12,000 French agricultural and food products each year, from honey to wine, with the finals being held during the fair, will go ahead and could to be held "in different towns and villages across France".

 

Business

A report by Bloomberg says that the European Union and the UK are locked in talks on their future relationship with each “daring the other to blink” just two days before Boris Johnson’s self-imposed deadline for abandoning negotiations expires.

Bloomberg says that neither side has offered enough for talks to reach a conclusion with the UK criticising the EU for its hard-stance on fisheries and the EU calling on Britain to cede ground in other key areas such as government business subsidies.

The deadlock is expected to continue today when Mr Johnson and the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discuss the issues in a video call.

Mr Johnson has said that the UK will walk away from the talks is there’s no clear progress by tomorrow when EU leaders will be holding a summit in Brussels.

On Tuesday ,the German leader Angela Merkel said that “we want a deal but we have to take into account the reality”. She said that the agreement had to be in the interests of both parties.

 

Apple has confirmed that its new iPhone 12 will be the first to work on faster 5G networks.

The company has also extended its new range of handsets to include a new ‘Mini’ model that has a smaller screen.

Some experts say that the new range of phones will give Apple its best chance for growth since 2014 when it revamped its line with the iPhone 6.

The higher-end iPhone 12 range will also have bigger screens and a new sensor to help with low-light photography.

However ,for the first time ,none of the new phones will be shipped with a charger or headphones with the firm saying the decision is part of efforts to reduce its impact on the environment.

The new iPhone 12 will sell from a starting price of 799 dollar with the new ‘mini’ device retailing for 699 dollars.

The phones will go on sale from the 23rd of October with the ‘mini’ available from the 13th of November.

And-The Republic of Ireland has unveiled a new “unprecedented” budget that the Finance Minister says will meet the challenges of both Covid-19 and a Brexit trade deal.

Pascal Donohoe said that “from the ashes of the pandemic ,we will build a stronger and more resilient Ireland”.

The Minister said that unemployment was expected to reach around 10.25 percent next year and that the budget deficit would climb to 21.5 billion euros this year.

The national debt will come to 219 billion euros or 108 percent of national wealth.

Mr Donohoe promised an extra 8.5 billion euros for public services as well as a 3.4 billion euro recovery fund.

VAT for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be reduced to 9 percent from 13.5 percent from the 1st of November until December 2021.

There will be no broad changes to income tax but its bad news for smokers with the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes being hiked by 50 percent to 14 euros.

Sport

Football-The Portugal and Juventus star Christiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus and is self isolating.

The Portugese Football Federation said in a statememt that the 35 year old is “doing well and is without symptoms”.

Portugal play Sweden in a Nations League tonight.

In other Nations League games today England play Denmark in Group A2 .France are away at Croatia in Group A3. Scotland host the Czech Republic in Group B2  and in Group B4 the Republic of Ireland visit Finland and Wales travel to Bulgaria.

Formula 1- Fernando Alonso has taken part in a test for Renault in Barcelona.

The double world champion said that driving the car was “a nice surprise” and that he’d “felt the grip and potential”.

Alonso last drove a Formula 1 car for McLaren at a test in Bahrain in April 2019. He’s rejoining Renault from the start of next season on a two year contact when the team will be renamed Alpine after the French manufacturer’s  performance brand.

Rugby Union-Eden Park is expecting a near capacity crowd of 47 thousand for the second Bledisloe Cup game between New Zealand and Australia on Sunday.

New Zealand with a population of 4.8 million people has been highly successful in combating Covid-19 and there has only been one confirmed case in the country in the 24 hours up to the 13th of October.

The first Test in Wellington hosted a crowd of 31 thousand without masks.

The third Test in Sydney is also expected to be played in front of a large crowd of around 40,000.

Golf-The world number one Dustin Johnson has tested positive for Coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s CJ Cup at Shadow Creek.

The 36 year old is self isolating  and is reported to be suffering symptoms.

He said that he would do everything possible to return as soon as possible.

Cycling-Peter Sagan won stage 10 of the Giro d’Italia on Tuesday with Joao Almeida of Portugal still wearing the leader’s Pink Jersey.

Sagan survived an early breakaway and then stayed out in front to win the 177 kilometer stage from Lanciano to Tortoreto in the hills along the Adriatic coast.

Two teams have pulled out of the race with Jumbo-Visma and Mitchelton-Scott both withdrawing after 6 positive coronavirus tests in the latest round of testing.

Weather 

Sunshine and showers with some more persistent rain this afternoon.

Light to moderate south easterly winds and a high of 17-18 degrees.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with cloudy skies.

Thursday and Friday-Cloudy tomorrow ,fine on Friday. Highs of 17-18 degrees.

And Finally 

According to a new study watching nature programmes can uplift people's mood and reduce boredom levels from being indoors.

The research, found that those who watched nature shows in virtual reality had even larger benefits including positive feelings and increased their connection to the natural world.

During the experiment participants were first asked to watch a boring video where a person describes their job at an office.

Then the participants watched scenes of underwater coral in three different ways; on TV, using a VR headset using 360 degree video and using a VR headset using computer generated interactive graphics.

The results found that all methods of watching the underwater coral reduced feelings of sadness and boredom.

 

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