French and Riviera News Wednesday 8th April 2020

 

 

Coronavirus - According to the latest figures released 30,000 people are hospitalized in France due to Covid-19. 7131 patients are currently in intensive care. 19,337 people also left the hospital cured.

7,091 deaths have been recorded in hospitals since the start of the epidemic in France and 3,237 in nursing homes, bringing the total number to 10,328 deaths in France since March 1st. 

Compulsory to wear a mask - On the French Riviera and in the  Paris region, several local councils have decided to make it compulsory to wear a mask in the street to combat the spread of the coronavirus. The mayors of these communes rely on several scientific opinions to justify their decisions, in particular that of the Academy of Medicine which ruled on Friday that a "general public" mask should be made compulsory for outings during and after confinement.

Meanwhile the city of Vence, in the Alpes-Maritimes, has announced that the wearing of the mask could soon be compulsory along wih other towns in the Alpes Maritimes region. 

Ile Levant in the Var no cases of the coronavirus - The 180 inhabitants of the Ile Levant, the naturist island, located in the Var and cut off from the world has reported that “There are no cases of the coronavirus” on the island. 

Since the beginning of confinement, those on the island have been deprived of maritime links with the continent. A hundred people live all year round on the island, the others have a second home there and have come to spend the confinement period on the island with its advantages and disadvantages.

Since March 17, with the announcement of confinement due to the Covid-19 epidemic, maritime links to Lavandou, the nearest coastal town, have been suspended. 

'I Love Nice" - The "I Love Nice" structure which usually stands on the "Quai Rauba Capeu" has been temporarily removed while it undergoes renovation work. Nice City Council has assured worried locals that the structure will be back for all to admire in about three weeks time. 

Petition supporting use of chloroquine - Nearly 400,000 people have signed a petition urging French officials to let more doctors in France  prescribe the anti-malaria drug chloroquine for coronavirus patients, as experts continue to disagree over how effictive it is. 

It's the latest example of increasing support for the approach advocated by Dr Didier Raoult,based in Marseille.

Raoult has had notable success using chloroquine and its derivative hydroxychloroquine on patients with Covid-19 before their condition deteriorates to the point where intensive care is needed. He combines the drug with the antibiotic azithromicyne.

The French government announced recently that the drug was being used for critical cases only. Those in favour argue that the treatment was specified to be used at the start of a diagnosis for coronavirus not in critical cases and they also contest the fact that for 10 years, up until January this year chloroquine has been available over the counter in French pharmacies without a prescription. 

French President is expected to address the nation on Thursday - According to French media however, not yet confirmed by the Élysée, French President  Emmanuel Macron is expected to  speak to the nation this Thursday evening. An address to the people in which the President of the Republic is expectd to announce the upcoming calendar of confinement and health developments in the country.

Partial unemployment figures - Figures published have shown that the use of partial unemployment has been requested for 5.8 million employees in France, or one in four in the private sector, the cost in estimated at 19.6 billion in three months, according to France's Labour Minister Muriel Pénicaud.

Pénicuad annouced on Tuesday that  "France is  the only country to be at this level of partial unemployment," 

International travel attestation - The French government has published a new international travel attestation, available in English and French which, anyone wishing to enter France must fill in. The British Embassy is keen to raise awareness of this document amongst UK nationals who reside in France or who may need to transit through France to get home. Cross-border businesses should also be aware. 

The British Embassy reminds British citizens that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office currently advises against all non essential travel abroad (UK nationals who own second homes in France should not be looking to travel to France for example). For more information go to British Embassy's website. 

Notre Dame Cathedral - A small congregation of worshippers will hold a Good Friday service at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris, a year after it was devastated by fire, but attendance will be limited because of a lockdown during the coronavirus outbreak.

Only seven people will attend the televised service on Good Friday, when Christians commemorate the death of Jesus Christ.

There will be no Easter Saturday processions this year because of the nationwide lockdown, which limits the size of public gatherings.


Confinement how are the French managing? - A recent survey carried out has shown that during the confinement period on average the French go out on twice a week, they are in general  busy watching television, internet and being sportive and do not in general feel depressed. The survey, carried out by Odoxa-CGI, focuses on the French during confinement.

During this period of confinement, the French carry out an average of two outings per week (2,4), while a small minority (7%) go out every day. It's the 50-64 year olds who tend to go out most often and the size of the accommodation or access to a garden does not affect the number of outings.


79% of French go out above all to make basic purchases, more often than to stretch their legs, play sports or walk an animal, only (24%) or for professional reasons (16%).

Main distraction of confinement is, screens: watching television (57%) and surfing the internet (44%) are the most popular leisure activities. Note that the over 65s surf as much as the under 25s.


Among their three main hobbies, 38% of French respondents also cited exchanges with their loved ones by phone or social networks, 29% cited cooking, 28% DIY and gardening. Next reading (19%), music (18%) and sports (14%). In reality, 56% of French people practice physical activity or sport every day, twice as much as before the confinement. In addition, 7 out of 10 French people follow the news more than usual.

According to this survey, the French are generally experiencing the  confinement period well. Three-quarters (75%) do not feel depressed, a majority (57%) do not feel anxious or stressed. 


For those confined with children, 85% of French respondents say they have a good time with the family. A majority of parents (53%) deplore the children's lack of concentration. 

Even if the vast majority of French people (94%) remained confined to their usual place of residence, the Odoxa survey also highlights that a massive proportion of urban dwellers, particularly Parisians, left their main residence during the time of confinement. It is estimated that around four million French people have left their usual home. This "exodus" more often concerns people under 25 (21%) who wanted to join larger living spaces and get closer to their families.

 

Business.

 

The evaporation of Tuesday’s rally on Wall Street suggests that many investors fear that the US stock market is in danger of a renewed tumble due to uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic.

An early rally on Tuesday which saw the S&P 500 up by more than 3.5 percent was fueled by signs that the virus outbreak is levelling off in some US hot spots including New York State but investors got cold feet by mid afternoon as latest figures showed the death toll continuing to rise alarmingly in some European countries including Spain.

The market is also being unsettled by the ongoing oil supply situation with Opec calling an emergency meeting tomorrow to discuss cuts in production.

Much of Wall Street’s recent recovery has been based on the 2 trillion dollar US government package to stimulate the economy but analysts say that many investors remain skeptical that the recent rise represents the start of a sustained recovery.

The message is that volatility is still an overriding factor and that markets could turn very negative again if the virus continues to spread rapidly or the government can’t get fiscal stimulus into the hands of businesses quickly enough.

 

The German airline Lufthansa is closing its Germanwings budget operation as part of wider cutbacks driven by a decline in travel due to the coronavirus.

Lufthansa said that it would be decommissioning more than 40 aircraft and said that it didn’t expect demand to return for “years”.

The firm said that it would also be reducing flights in its other businesses which include Austrian Airlines  ,Swiss and Eurowings.

The measures could signal more drastic steps to come elsewhere in the airline industry.

Experts say that until the health risks from coronavirus abate ,the future for many airlines is extremely bleak.

The global airlines group IATA says that it expects airline passenger revenues to drop by more than 40 percent this year and has warned that more than 25 million jobs in aviation and related industries are at risk.

 

And-The founder of Twitter ,Jack Dorsey has said that he’s to donate one billion dollars to efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Dorsey says that the donation represents 28 percent of his wealth adding that the needs are “increasingly urgent”.

He did not specify where exactly the funds will be used but there are a range of options such as paying for ventilators and personal protection equipment or helping out businesses or individuals who are struggling financially.

He said that once the Covid-19 pandemic had been “disarmed” the funds would go towards health and education for girls and research into universal basic income.

 

Sport.

 

Football-The former England and Spurs striker Jimmy Greaves is being treated in hospital for an unspecified illness.

The 80 year old scored 44 goals for England in 57 games as well as a club record 220 league goals for Spurs.

He also had spells at West Ham and Chelsea.

Greaves suffered a severe stroke in 2015 and has had other health complications in recent years.

 

Formula 1-The Canadian Grand Prix has become the 9th race of the season to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The race was due to be held on the 14th of June but the organisers say that won’t be possible because of the length of time it takes to set up the track.

Attempts will be made to find a slot for the race sometime later in the summer.

 

Cricket-If you’re being starved of your favourite sport then the BBC’s Test Match Special is inviting you to relive one of the greatest Test matches of all time from last summer’s Ashes.

The BBC will rerun the Ashes Test from Headingly in its entirety during which Ben Stokes made an incredible rear-guard century to save the game and the series for England.

Coverage will start today and run until Sunday.

 

Rugby Union-The British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has suggested that there should be a one off decider with New Zealand ahead of next summer’s tour of South Africa.

The Lions and the All Blacks drew their 3 Test series in 2017 and Gatland says that a 4th Test could help the sport to generate revenue after the coronavirus crisis.

Rugby across the world is currently on hold because of the pandemic.

 

Weather.

 

Clear skies  with light  southerly winds.

Top temperature 19-21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Clear skies with highs of 18-21 degrees.

 

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