French and Riviera News Wednesday 6th May 2020

For the eighth consecutive day no new cases of Covid- 19 in Monaco - For the eighth consecutive day, there have been no new Covid-19 positive cases reported in the Principality.

The number of cases still stands at 95. Three more patients have recovered bringing the total number of people cured to 81. One person is in hospitalised in intensive care.

To date, 3 patients are being cared for by the Home Monitoring Center.

Alpes Maritimes and the Var - In the Alpes Maritimes and the Var the coronavirus has claimed to date 415 lives.

Doctors warn of a “cluster” case in Marseille - Doctors in Marseille have warned of a cluster of coronavirus cases in the north of the city. Ahead of the end of the lockdown in France which is planned on Monday May 11th three families in the same apartment block have tested positive for Covid 19.

While the number of cases drops daily in the region the reports of the new “cluster” cases has caused concern for doctors highlighting the risk amongst those living in disadvantaged areas of Marseille.

Masks – The distribution of protective masks has begun in the Gulf of St Tropez. On Tuesday ,door to door distribution began in St Tropez itself to those who had registered. Registration is still possible by filling in an online form at https://www.saint-tropez.fr/formulaire-masques or by filling in the paper form available in shops.

Distribution of masks in other communes in the area will be taking place over the next few days.

Tourism - With tourism in France representing 8% of the country’s GDP, figures show that 13% of that is in the Provence Alpes Côte d´Azur region where it generates 20 billion in turnover. According to the French government officials, due to the current health crisis, 5 billion has already been lost along with 143,000 jobs.

Speaking to industry unions Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Secretary of State to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, has said that several points need to be addressed including the possibility of resorting to partial unemployment which will be maintained for tourism businesses, the extension of the solidarity fund to businesses without employees and the self-employed as well as the cancellation of rents and occupancy fees during the period of closure.

The Secretary of State said that "Of the 4.5 billion euros validated by the State, 2.7 billion had been allocated for catering and 1.1 billion for hotels."

He went on to say that “in addition to the banks, the government also expects insurers, who have so far refused to do so, to play their part in compensating part of the operating losses of tourism businesses”. The minister added that "It is important to find an agreement with insurance companies and tourism professionals”.

Many tourism professionals are feeling concern over what they describe as the “vagueness” of the French government. More detail is hoped to be outlined in the Tourism Committee meeting with ministers on May 14th.

Holidays – In an interview following a visit to a school in the west of Paris region on Tuesday French President Emmanuel Macron has said that "France will know at the beginning of June" where it will be possible to go on holiday.

Macron said that international travel will be limited during the summer holidays, to perhaps within Europe or "even in a more restricted area" before adding that at the moment it is too early to say.

On the subject of schools reopening on May 11th the Head of State said that mayors who do not wish to open their schools will not be forced to do so. Figures for the Var and the Alpes Maritimes region show that only 30 to 40% of  parents are prepared to send their child to school from May 11th.

Meanwhile this morning Emmanuel Macron will hold a videoconference with artists from different fields before announcing a specific aid plan for the cultural sector in France in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

Defence Council Meeting to be held on Thursday May 7th - A meeting of the Defence Council will take place on Thursday May 7th and further decisions regarding deconfinement will be made. Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe is expected to make a speech to present the plan for the end of the lockdown in France. It will be his last address ahead of the May 11th which marks an important first step in the progressive end to the lockdown in France.

StopCovid app - The Secretary of State for Digital has said that the StopCovid app will be ready on June 2. A testing phase will begin next week before being presented to deputies on May 25. The app aims to enable the tracing of people who have been in contact with someone suffering from the virus.

Poll published shows drop in French Presidents popularity - In a poll published on Tuesday and carried out by Ifop the popularity rating of French President Emmanuel Macron has shown a sharp decline, while that of the Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe is on the upward slope.

Emmanuel Macron's rating drops by 6 points in one month, while that of Edouard Philippe climbs by 3 points and exceeds that of the Head of State in the midst of the health crisis.

Negative judgments are rising sharply, with almost six in ten French people disapproving of the President’s action during the Covid 19 pandemic.

Clinical trial - A clinical trial of an existing drug is beginning in Paris to test its effectiveness in treating Covid-19. The trial of Chlorpromazine, which is used to treat psychological disorders, will involve 40 people and will last about one month.

It's the first time in the world that a trial of the drug has taken place with the aim of establishing its effectiveness against Covid-19.

Report on France’s immigration policy - A new report by the national auditor has recommended that France "modernises" its immigration policy and increases the number of deportations of illegal immigrants.

The Cour des Comptes says France’s immigration system needs to be updated. The report examines the French government’s efforts to ensure controlled immigration, respect the right of asylum and foster the integration of immigrants already living in France. It concludes that there is a need for “more realistic and tangible objectives”.

Business

Asian markets have dipped this morning and oil has faltered with investors becoming increasingly concerned about worsening relations between China and the United States.

Markets in China and Japan dipped on their return from long public holidays and oil fell back on renewed concerns about oversupply risk amid weak demand.

Wall Street futures have also turned negative as President Trump continued to blame China for the coronavirus outbreak.

Markets have been caught this month between grim economic figures and concerns over worsening relations between China and the US and optimism over the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in many countries.

President Trump has been repeatedly taking aim at Chinese authorities as the source of the pandemic and has warned that he will take the country to account.

 

Walt Disney has suffered a 1.4 billion dollar hit to profits in the first quarter as it was forced to close theme parks ,cancel film releases and saw a reduction in advertising.

The firm says that every part of its business has been affected by coronavirus  almost wiping out profits for the quarter.

Disney chairman Bob Iger said that the firm was facing unprecedented challenges but that he was confident of recovery.

The firm is planning to open its Shanghai park on the 11th of May and said that it was seeing signs of a return to normality in China.

The parks division has been a reliable profit driver for Disney in recent years as its media business tries to adapt to online competition and declines in pay-TV subscriptions and movie theatre attendance.

 

And-The global airline industry body IATA has said that fares should fall when flights restart but then rise by some 50 percent.

The International Air Transport Association says that airlines are keen to get planes back into the air quickly which could lead to overcapacity.

Passenger demand is likely to remain low which should put pressure on carriers to reduce the cost of flights.

However ,if airlines are forced to keep middle seats free to comply with social distancing rules then fares will need to rise significantly.

The IATA estimates that under these conditions ,only 4 of the 122 airlines that it surveyed would be able to break even leading to consolidation and an increase in fares.

Sport

Formula 1-The sport’s bosses have made a final offer to teams of a sliding scale budget cap from 145 million to 130 million dollars over the next three years.

The proposal is part of changes aimed at addressing the financial cost of the coronavirus pandemic and was set out in a letter to teams from Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn.

Teams will spend the coming days assessing the proposals before they’re put to a vote.

 

Football-Players from the England and Scotland men’s teams have made significant financial donations to the UK National Health Service.

The move has come as part of the #playerstogether movement which has involved stars from the English Premier League.

England players have donated a chunk of their match fees dating back to 2018 while Scotland players have made similar contributions.

The players said in a statement that they “stood by the nation” in a time of crisis.

 

Rugby Union-The chief executive of the English RFU has said that it will be hit with revenue losses of 107 million pounds if the 2020 autumn internationals are scrapped.

Bill Sweeney said the revenue losses would reach 85 million pounds if games were played without fans.

England are due to play New Zealand ,Australia ,Tonga and Argentina at Twickenham in November.

There have been suggestions that another 6 Nations tournament could be organised to replace the autumn internationals if players from southern hemisphere countries can’t travel.

Weather

Quite cloudy with light drizzle at times and some brighter weather as the day progresses.

Light variable winds and a high of 21 degrees.

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

Thursday and Friday-Mainly fine with highs of 20-23 degrees.

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