Evening Update Friday 19 March 2021

The French High Authority of Health has recommended resuming vaccinations with the AstraZeneca vaccine but only for people aged 55 and over. The Authority said that the age restriction is being put in place because the European Medicines Agency has identified a possible increased risk of certain types of thrombosis in people aged under 55.

Meanwhile, Jean Castex, who is 55 years old, has received an injection of the AstraZeneca vaccine this afternoon. The vaccine was administered at a military hospital in the Val-de-Marne department in the Ile-de-France.

The Alpes-Maritimes is due to go into a four week lockdown from midnight tonight, along with 15 departments in northern France. The start time of the national curfew will change from 6pm to 7pm tomorrow Saturday 20th March. From tomorrow, if you're in the Alpes-Maritimes, you can circulate freely from 6am to 7pm on the condition that you have filled in the “attestation” form and ticked one of the reasons for being outdoors. Travel between regions is prohibited unless you have a compelling or professional reason as stipulated on the “attestation”. All non-essential shops will be closed. However, it was announced today that hairdressers will be allowed to remain open. One of the main differences between the new confinement and the previous ones is that you will be able to leave your home for an unlimited time, except during the hours of the curfew, to take exercise or play sports within a radius of 10km of your home, but a completed certificate will still be required. However, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that prefects will be instructed to stop gatherings in public places. He also warned that the authorization to leave your home should not be used to "go to friends" or "organize barbecues with friends".

The Prime Minister was due to be in Nice today but has cancelled his visit because of the health crisis.

The Monaco government has said that in view of the new provisions applicable from this weekend in the sixteen French Departments which are being confined, it recommends that Monegasques and Monaco residents avoid any stay in those departments. It also said that in solidarity with the system put in place in the Alpes-Maritimes, reinforced controls will be operated from this Saturday at the Franco-Monegasque border for the next four weeks in order to avoid a influx of people who do not have a valid reason to come to Monaco. The government said that apart from Monegasque residents, only people working in the Principality and those living in neighboring municipalities, as well as Eze and Menton, will be able to enter Monaco on presentation of the French exemption certificate. Those wishing to stay in Monaco must continue to present a hotel reservation and a negative PCR test within 72 hours.

The new confinement measures announced by Jean Castex last night have been met with opposition from some of the elected officials in the Alpes-Maritimes. The Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, has denounced what he called a measure without a health basis but with heavy moral, social and economic consequences. He said that the latest confinement should be called an "anti-trade confinement", since we can be outside "without time limit" and "only our businesses seem to be affected by these new measures". Mayor of Antibes-Juan-les-Pins, Jean Leonetti, said that the the announcements by Jean Castex on confinement for the department are "inconsistent and contradictory" with the strategy developed up until now by Emmanuel Macron. He said that the acceptability of these measures by the French is decreasing and the management of the crisis is "increasingly chaotic". He added that the measures "will only have the main effect of penalizing already weakened commercial activity without significantly slowing the progression of Covid-19" and called for vaccination to be accelerated and "confidence in all vaccines restored".

Street parking will be free in Nice from tomorrow until April 18 inclusive because of the confinement measures. A proportional reimbursement will be offered to those with a parking contract.

In other news, a meeting of the Franco-Monegasque Cooperation Commission was held yesterday. The annual meeting, which was this year held by videoconference because of the pandemic, discussed a wide range of subjects incuding ​​health, social security and labour law and transport matters. The possible integration of Monaco into any future system system of European vaccination passports was also discussed. In the area of ​​cooperation, the committee examined the impact of the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union on the situation of British people living or working in the Principality.

Organisers of the Cannes Film Festival have annnounced that an online film marketplace will be held in May. The Marche du Film will also take place alongside the Cannes Film Festival as usual, when the festival is held this summer, from 6 to 15 July. Organisers said that many international sales agents had expressed the need for an intermediate event in the spring which will allow them to do business and to network virtually, while awai