Evening Update Thursday 13th October 2022

The French government has appealed for increased vigilance in the face of a resurgence in the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus. After a quiet summer, the eighth wave is well under way. Across the country, more than 5,000 people are currently in hospital and more than 500 in intensive care. In the Alpes-Maritimes, nearly 800 people are testing positive each day. Government spokesman Olivier Véran called for increased mask-wearing, more regular testing, and for those who are eligible to get vaccinated as soon as they can.

A fire in an apartment in the Libération district of Nice has left one resident seriously injured with burns. The fire broke out on Wednesday evening on the first floor of an apartment block on Rue Prince-Maurice, behind the Gare du Sud. 27 firefighters were called out to the scene and the origin of the fire is not yet clear. The flat's occupant was airlifted to Toulon hospital, which has a specialist burns unit. About 30 residents of the building were evacuated as a precaution, none of whom were injured. They were able to return to their homes later in the evening.

The Alpes-Maritimes head of the CGT trade union has described the French government's decision to requisition striking fuel workers as "provocation". Gérard Ré said the workers blockading fuel depots would only stop when the demands of employees are accepted. In an interview this week, he said the strike will last as long as it takes - and wages had to be increased.

Faced with the ongoing fuel shortage, green councillors in Nice are putting pressure on the city to urgently make all public transport free. Elected environmentalists on the city council also want Nice to make on-street parking free so that those who do not have a garage or a car-park subscription can leave their car and use public transport instead.

Meanwhile, the Var préfecture has extended its restrictions on buying fuel until Sunday. The measures had been due to expire tomorrow. They include a ban on filling up jerry cans, a 30 litre limit at the pump for individuals, and seven priority filling stations around the department with lanes that are reserved for essential services.

Gendarmes have seized almost 400 kilos of cannabis resin during a raid on a house in La Roquette sur Siagne. The raid was part of a major investigation into drug trafficking opened by the Grasse prosecutor's office. Officers found 99 kilos of cannabis resin in the house and another 281 kilos while searching a nearby vehicle. They also seized €24,000 in cash. Five suspected dealers were arrested. They're due to appear before an investigating magistrate tomorrow.

An accident overnight on the A8 motorway required Vinci Autoroutes to carry out emergency repairs to the road on Thursday morning. The circumstances of the accident are not yet clear. The eastbound carriageway had been to be repaired just after the junction for Mandelieu. This led to long traffic jams during the morning peak. Meanwhile there were big queues on the A8 north of Nice around 9am this morning after an accident occurred in the westbound Canta-Galet tunnel. The Nice-Est and Nice-Nord entry sliproads had to be closed to prevent cars joining the already satured motorway. There were also big delays around the Promenade des Anglais in Nice just before lunchtime today, following a collision between a car and a scooter.

Two people were airlifted to hospital after their boat caught fire off the coast of Bandol in the Var. Rescuers were called out after thick smoke could be seen emerging from the 10-metre boat. The boat's two occupants, a couple in their 70s, were taken by a Navy helicopter to Sainte-Anne hospital in Toulon where they were treated for smoke inhalation.

And a new international festival is coming to Cannes next year. The Cannes Gaming Festival claims to be the first festival of its kind in France dedicated to all the creative industries around video games. The first edition of the five-day event is planned for next October and will include an awards ceremony with an international jury. It's being organised by a former president of PSG and ex-manager at TV channel M6. Organisers hope a gaming festival will give the industry the recognition it deserves and that the awards will become the equivalent of the Césars, but for video games instead of cinema.


The UK’s Brexit “divorce bill” stood at €41.8bn (£36.7bn) in 2021, according to the EU’s official auditors. The European court of auditors’ annual report revealed that the UK was expected to make €10.9bn in payments to the EU during 2022. The Brexit divorce bill was down from €47.5bn (£41.7bn) in 2020, reflecting payments made by the British government. Tony Murphy, the president of the European court of auditors, said the final amount the UK pays to the EU was not expected to change much. EU estimates of the Brexit financial settlement have tended to be higher than those of the British government, which forecast Brexit spending commitments between £35 and £39bn. The Treasury, however, in July revised the Brexit bill upwards by £5bn, from £37.3bn to £42.5b, blaming the rising cost on meeting