Evening Update Wednesday 5 May 2021

A French government spokesperson has said that there is "a clear improvement" in the health situation. Speaking after a meeting of the Health Defence Council this morning, Gabriel Attal said that the number of Covid-19 cases had fallen by 20% in one week, the incidence rate of the virus is declining in all regions and has decreased nationally to 224 per 100,000 people and pressure on hospitals is declining. However, he added that "the threat of variants remains real". He said that "if we continue our efforts" 19 May will be "the day of national reopening of terraces and places of culture". He said that 16.5 million people have received at least one dose of a vaccine in France and reiterated that all adults will be able to receive a vaccine by the end of the summer. As regards schools, he said that almost 300,000 saliva tests will be carried out this week, which will be increased to 600,000.

Locally, in Menton access to vaccination for all people aged 50 or over is now open at the Menton Plus Sablettes vaccination center. Vaccination is also accessible to all adults aged 18 or over with certain co-morbidities on presentation of a medical certificate. Appointment can be made online at www.menton.fr/vaccins or by telephoning on 04 89 81 52 04.

The Prefect of the Var has reminded residents that the following activities still remain prohibited in the department - garage sales and flea market sales, deliveries by restaurants and bars between 10:30 p.m. and 6 a.m., alcohol consumption and amplified music on public roads and the sale, carrrying, transport and use of fireworks. Further details can be found on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

The French Interior Ministry said today that over 2,000 foreign workers "on the front line" of the pandemic have so far received French citizenship. The scheme reduces the period of mandatory residence to 2 years instead of 5 years. The Interior Ministry said that more than 8,000 applications have been submitted to prefectures throughout the country.

A fire in a warehouse in Villeneuve-Loubet has been brought under control by firefighters. The fire broke out in a 5,000 square metre storage facility this morning producing plumes of thick smoke visible over a wide area. Reports say that two people suffered slight injuries.

Civil Security alert sirens have been tested today, as usual on the first Wednesday of each month. If you've ever wondered how to respond in the event of the sirens being sounded in a real emergency, the French Interior Ministry has a useful section on its website giving lots of information about the alert system. https://www.interieur.gouv.fr/Alerte/Alerte-ORSEC

The Princess Grace Hospital in Monaco has received a donation of two million euros. The donation will allow the acquisition of a neuro-navigation system in ENT, a robot for transcranial magnetic stimulation in psychiatry and a system of hemodynamic monitoring for cardiology. It will also fund projects for clinical research, palliative care and quality of life at work.

France is today commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Napoleon Bonaparte. President Macron laid a wreath at Les Invalides in Paris in a ceremony this afternoon. Still a devisive figure in France, Bonaparte died on 5 May 1821 at the age of 51.



Online clothing retailer Boohoo has reported a 41% rise in full-year sales and a 35% rise in pre-tax profits.  The company benefitted from the growth in online shopping during the pandemic which led to the closure of many non-essential high street retailers for long periods. It said that customers bought more activewear and loungewear but there were significant declines in dresses and "going out" clothes.

The month of April saw a 30-fold increase in new car registrations in the UK compared to the same month last year. This year’s monthly total dwarfed that recorded in April 2020, when the first national lockdown was in place and only just over 4,000 new cars were sold. However, volumes in April this year still remained 12.9% lower than the 10-year average according to the latest figures from industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

French service sector activity increased for the first time in eight months during April, according to the latest purchasing managers survey. Growth was aided by an upturn in new business and rising levels of business confidence. Private sector growth in the eurozone also improved in April, with the latest data from research company IHS Markit indicating the fastest expansion since last July and the second best in over two and a half years.



Football....The second Champions League semi-final is being played tonight between Chelsea and Real Madrid. The score is 1-1 after the first leg. The winner will meet Manchester City who are through to their first ever Champions League final after beating Paris Saint Germain in the other semi-final.

Motorsports... It's been announced that Romain Grosjean will drive a Mercedes on a one-off return to Formula 1. He'll do a demonstration run at the French Grand Prix on 27 June and a test at the same track two days later. Grosjean suffered a severe crash at last year's Bahrain Grand Prix which ended his Formula 1 career. However, team boss Toto Wolff said he was happy to give the driver a day in a car if he could make it back. Speaking to the BBC, Grosjean said he is "very thankful and grateful for the opportunity" and "didn't want to finish on that crash".

Cricket... Four people have been arrested in connection with an alleged kidnapping of former Australian cricketer Stuart MacGill. Police say he was abducted and released after about one hour in Sydney on 14 April, sustaining minor injuries which didn't require medical treatment.

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