French and Riviera news Thursday 19th March 2020


Confinement obligations - According to the prefecture, the gendarmes of the Alpes-Maritimes have issued more than 70 fines for breaches of confinement obligations. 

The Côte d'Azur police issued about fifty in the morning despite it being announced that the fine had increased  38 to 135 euros.

The prefect reminds people  that travel without a certificate is prohibited. Physical exercise is only tolerated individually and around the home.

According to the prefecture, the crowd on Wednesday on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice was "not acceptable".

Prefect of Alpes Maritimes places himself in self isolation - Following the news that the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi had tested positive for coronavirus on Monday, The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez announced on Wednesday evening that after having been in contact with the mayor on several occasions ahead of his diagnoses, he was placing himself in self isolation as a precaution. 

Gonzalez, who is currently showing no symptoms hoped to set an example of civil responsibility after being shocked at seeing so many people still out in Nice on the Promenade, at the beach, in Cannes on the Croisette and in forest areas. 

Number of coronavirus cases in the region - The assessment, drawn up Wednesday evening by the Regional Health Agency (ARS), reports 566 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region since February 28. 178 of them are still hospitalized.

In detail, there are 303 cases in the Bouches-du-Rhône, 110 in the Alpes-Maritimes, 103 in the Var, 32 in the Hautes-Alpes, 15 in the Vaucluse and 7 in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence . Among these cases, 33 are in intensive care.

The ARS records 7 deaths of people who were hospitalized in the Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse.

Monaco - Meanwhile in Monaco, to date, Wednesday March 18 at 6 p.m., there have been no new cases reported since Monday. 

So far 9 people have been affected in the Principality since the first positive case on February 28.

The  Government recalls that each of us holds a share of the protection of the others, starting with those close to us. The Princely Government calls on the responsibility and civic sense of each and everyone to adopt the most cautious behavior.

Monaco Telecom announces free television channels - Monaco Telecom has announced that a wide choice of television channels, entertainment and cinema will be made available free of charge.

The company said that « In these complicated times for all, Monaco Telecom ensures daily that all residents, individuals and businesses, can have access to TV, mobile and internet telecom networks »

The Cannes Lions postponed - After the postponement of Mipim, the CanneSeries festival, and the  cancellation of MipTV, another big meeting in Cannes has announced that it will not be held due to the coronavirus.

The Cannes Lions, the international festival of advertising and creativity, the largest professional event of its kind which brings together each year more than 15,000 participants from a hundred countries, will no longer take place in June, but from 26 to 30 October.

Figures for France - In total, France has 9,134 confirmed cases of coronavirus. 3626 patients are currently hospitalized, including 931 serious cases in intensive care.

The coronavirus caused 89 new deaths in 24 hours in France. On Wednesday evening, 3626 patients were  hospitalized, including 931 in intensive care of which 50% are "less than 60 years", announced the Ministry of Health during his daily speech.

5,500 patients are at home or considered cured. The director of health Jerome Salomon added that « the difficult situation already identified in the Grand Est,  is also tightening in the Ile-de-France where it is "important to keep enough beds in intensive care,"

Figures released on Wednesday by Public Health France have revealed that Covid-19 has already claimed more victims than seasonal flu, and in less time. 264 people have died of coronavirus in France since the start of the epidemic, against 88 victims of the flu since last November.

Testing - The daily capacity to test patients for the coronavirus has gone from 2,000 to 2,500. Faced with the epidemic, and a growing demand for tests, the health minister Olivier Veran has stated that it is not possible to screen everyone who has symptoms at this stage and he has drawn up a list of those who have priority and should be tested systematically. They are "Those who have serious symptoms coherent with the virus, those ill patients who are fragile or at risk who present symptoms, all people in hospital who show symptoms and medical staff will also be considered a priority.

The French Health Ministry has reportedly given the green light to all labs in French cities to use the test. Previously, only hospital labs were equipped to do so.

The health minister added that "Patients with serious symptoms will still need to be tested in hospital.

As for other patients with symptoms, "they will be able to be tested in labs if they have a prescription to do so. The samples will be done at home. However, patients should not go in person to the lab until they have called ahead to know if the test is available and ask for instructions."

The World Health Organization's director has already called for countries to "test any suspected case".

Folk in the countryside not welcoming Parisians - Parisians who fled the French capital before the national lockdown are finding the welcome to second or family homes in the countryside less than warm after locals accused them of spreading the coronavirus.

Trains leaving Paris for the countryside were packed on Tuesday morning, hours before the government’s order to stay at home unless absolutely necessary or face €135 fines came into effect at midday.

People applaud health workers from their windows - Wednesday saw many  French people show up at their window to applaud and thus pay tribute to the nursing staff, who are on the front line facing the coronavirus epidemic.

Across all of France, from Mulhouse to Marseille via Paris or Laval, applause was heard this Wednesday around 8 p.m. at the windows to thank the nursing staff.

In Mulhouse, particularly affected by the disease, people cheered, whistled and shouted "thank you" at the windows. In Strasbourg, applause was also heard.




The European Central Bank has launched an emergency 750 billion euro financial package in a bid to ease the impact of the coronavirus epidemic.

The bank is to buy government and company debt across the eurozone including in Italy and Greece.

The president of the ECB Christine Lagarde said that there were “no limits” to its commitment to the euro.

Central banks and governments around the world have been announcing emergency stimulus packages over the past few weeks.

The new European Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme comes just 6 days after the ECB unveiled measures to calm markets which was not successful.

The fresh asset programme will be temporary and will be concluded once the ECB judges that the Covid-19 crisis phase is over.


The pound has fallen to its lowest level against the dollar since 1983 and has also fallen sharply against the euro as the coronavirus pandemic spooked the money markets.

Sterling slumped to 1 US dollar 15 cents-a fall of 5 percent in a single day and its slipped to one euro 5.5 cents.

The pound’s weakness could partially stem from questions over how the UK government plans to pay for the emergency measures its introduced to fight the pandemic.

One analyst said that it was the worst sustained selling period for sterling that he’d ever seen adding that the government’s massive fiscal package will undoubtedly mean more borrowing.




And-Oil prices have risen in Asian trading this morning but gains were pared as the market waits to see how effective massive stimulus by central banks will be in shoring up the global economy.

Brent Crude was trading up 37 cents a little earlier at 25 dollars 25 cents after falling by 13 percent on Wednesday.

West Texas Intermediate was up 7.1 percent at 21 dollars 81 after having crashed by 25 percent in the previous session.

Analysts warn that selling on the oil market could start again if the latest round of stimulus is not seen as being successful.




Olympics-The president of the International Olympic Committee has said that there are “no ideal solutions” to the future of the summer games in Tokyo.

Thomas Bach said that he’d been confronted with “many questions” over qualifications and restrictions but reminded everyone that there are still four months to go before the games start.

Many athletes have criticised the IOC’s approach to remaining fully committed to the Tokyo Olympics.

The games are due to start on July the 24th despite the cancellation of many other sporting events.


Formula 1-The sport’s “summer break” has been moved forward from August as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new season has been thrown into disarray by the virus and Formula 1 is working on plans to run as long a season as possible once races can be staged.

The break will be held in March and April with teams choosing a three week time period to close.

At the moment ,the Monaco Grand Prix in May is still going ahead and work has started here in the principality to put the grandstands together.

However ,the situation is fluid and the event may have to be called off if the virus is not sufficiently contained.


Football-The English Premier League is expected to re-iterate its commitment to finishing the season at an emergency board meeting which is to be held via video-conference later today.

All games have been postponed until at least April the 4th although its widely acknowledged that matches won’t be able to be played until some time after that date.

Games could be staged behind closed doors and with the cancellation of Euro 2020 a window has opened up for the Premier League competition to be completed by the end of June.



Tennis-The entire clay court season has now been scrapped with all events called off until the 7th of June.

All men’s and women’s rankings have been frozen until further notice.

Wimbledon could also be doubtful depending on whether the coronavirus can be contained.The All England Championship is due to start on June the 29th.




Clear skies  with light to moderate easterly winds.

Top temperatures 17-19 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Sunshine and possible showers tomorrow ,fine on Saturday.Highs of 15-18 degrees.



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