French and Riviera News 17th December 2021

News 

New travel restriction from France to the UK and from the UK to France - New restrictions have been introduced by France to limit the spread of the covid variant Omicron. From tomorrow Saturday, December 18th at midnight. To travel to or from the United Kingdom, it will be necessary to have a "compelling reason". 

The "compelling reasons" concern both vaccinated and unvaccinated people.  All tourism-based travel for UK citizens, including visits to family and friends in France, is off, at least for now. French citizens, partners and children are still allowed to travel to France for visits and as foreign nationals going to their country is allowed this means that Christmas Family trips for Britons in France going to the UK, are allowed. The full list, for both arrivals in and departures from France to the UK can be found at:

https://www.gouvernement.fr/sites/default/files/contenu/piece-jointe/2021/12/liste_des_motifs_imperieux_-_royaume-uni_-_16.12.2021.pdf

There will also be a need for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to initially present a negative test (RT-PCR or antigen) of less than 24 hours. The French government said that there will be an obligation for all travellers from the United Kingdom to register, prior to their trip, on a digital platform including the address of their stay in France. There is an obligation to isolate on arrival in France in the place of their choice for all travellers, unvaccinated as well as vaccinated. This isolation obligation can be lifted from 48 hours, subject to being able to present a negative test (RT-PCR or antigen). Controls will be organized to ensure the proper implementation of these measures. See the French government's statement at https://www.gouvernement.fr/les-nouvelles-regles-pour-les-deplacements-entre-le-royaume-uni-et-la-france

Incidence rate reaches new record in the Alpes Maritimes - According to the latest data from Public Health France the Alpes-Maritimes department has just broken its covid incidence record, reaching 785 positive cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants. The last time it was so high was in July, with 758 people infected. The situation in hospitals is also deteriorating. There are currently 68 patients in intensive care with 22 deaths in one week.

False health passes - France's Ministry of the Interior has announced that it has identified 110,000 false health passes. The passes were obtained after the account of a doctor in Nantes was hacked, generating 54,000 false QR codes. This week France's Health Minister had raised the possibility to drop charges against patients with fake health passes if they came forward and agreed to be vaccinated. In some hospitals such as Nice, 30 to 50% of patients in intensive care have used a fraudulent pass.

Six-year-old found wandering the streets after turning up at school without a mask - A couple in Toulouse are considering filing a complaint after their six-year-old child was found wandering the streets alone, after having gone to school without a mask. The incident occurred this week when upon arrival the pupil was told by a member of staff to go and get a mask. The child, disoriented, left the establishment. The school has not yet commented on the incident and the regional education board has suggested the school reviews its protocol for welcoming students.

60-year-old woman hit and killed by train - Police have launched an investigation after a 60-year-old woman was hit and killed by a train on Thursday lunchtime at the Saint-Laurent-du-Var train station. The exact circumstances are still to be determined. Train traffic was interrupted for nearly three hours between Nice and Cagnes sur mer resuming gradually by early evening.

Fire - An 81-year-old man has been found dead after a fire broke out in his villa in Roquebillière. Firefighters intervened on Thursday evening on the ground floor of the villa. The victim's 83-year-old companion was taken care of by emergency services. An investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the blaze.

Train strike - Rail unions have lifted the strike action after reaching an agreement at the last minute. SNCF have announced that train traffic will be "almost normal" on Saturday and Sunday in the south-east of France, but TGV services are expected to be disrupted today.

Dreams do come true! – An Australian man who dreamt of his lottery numbers has won 3 million euros. The winner claimed to have used the numbers – 11, 1, 41, 43, 40, 44 and 42, and the 31 and 4 in complementary numbers – which had appeared to him in a dream, a few years earlier.

Business 

The professional organizations of the hotel and restaurant sector (UNHCR) in France, have announced in a joint statement that after more than five hours of negotiations, they have agreed on a new salary scale. The question of remuneration in this sector is at the heart of the debate while the sector is still lacking 150,000 employees. The new remuneration grid will see an overall increase in wages of 16.33% and a minimum remuneration of more than 5% of the Smic.

According to a study by Drees, the French begin to worry about the age at which they will be able to retire as well as the amount of their pension at 58 years old. The study shows that the French are "not at all ready to work longer". However, it is not "because they are tired of working but wish to stay fit enough to enjoy retirement".

The UK has signed a free trade deal with Australia which it says will benefit consumers and businesses.

It is described as the first post-Brexit deal negotiated from scratch and not "rolled over" from trade terms that the UK enjoyed while in the EU. The government estimated it would unlock £10.4bn of additional trade while ending tariffs on all UK exports.

Sport

Football – Mohamed Salah scored his 22nd goal of the season as Liverpool closed the gap on Premier League leaders Manchester City beating Newcastle 3-1. Chelsea drew 1-1 against Everton and the Leicester Tottenham match was postponed.

This weekend's action in the Premier League has been affected by outbreaks of covid with all of Saturday's matches postponed apart from Leeds against Arsenal - kick off is at 6.30pm French time.

Sunday's match between Everton and Leicester is postponed. However, Wolverhampton play Chelsea, Newcastle are at home to Man City and Tottenham play Liverpool.

Tennis - Rafael Nadal says he does not have big expectations for the Australian Open as he prepares to play for the first time since a foot injury ruled him out of the final months of the 2021 season. The 35-year-old Spaniard plays Britain's Andy Murray today at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship, an exhibition event in Abu Dhabi.

Formula One - Max Verstappen says Lewis Hamilton has every reason to return to Formula 1 next year despite his unhappiness over the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said on Thursday that Hamilton was "disillusioned" and he could not guarantee he would return next year. Verstappen said: "I can understand the first few days after a race like that you're not happy. But you should also understand this is racing and these things can happen." Verstappen pointed out that Hamilton himself had won a title in similar circumstances, when he deprived Ferrari's Felipe Massa on the last corner of the last lap of the last grand prix in 2008.

Weather 

Sunny with a gentle breeze, highs of 16 degrees in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 6 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend - Remaining fine, highs of 15-16 degrees.

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