French and Riviera News Friday 12th March 2021


Covid intensive care - France has again passed the threshold of 4,000 patients in intensive care, a first since the end of 2020. The number of intensive care patients passed below the 2,600 threshold at the beginning of January and was only yesterday reported as stabilizing.

Figures - According to the latest data from Public Health France there have been 266 additional deaths in the last 24 hours compared to 299 the day before. The total number of deaths in France from Covid stands at 89,856. The vaccination rate in France currently stand at 6.8% of the population.

Press conference - Three regions of France continue to cause concern the Hauts-de-France, Ile-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Following Thursday's press conference, the minister of Health said that “pressure is now reaching similar levels to the peak of the second wave. In the Ile-de-France the minister said a resident is being admitted to intensive care every 12 minutes and that "dozens or even hundreds" of medical transfers out of the region will take place in the coming days. However, he said that the local restrictions put in place in some areas of France recently are bearing fruit, especially in the Alpes-Maritimes. The minister did not mention any possible new confinements.

Travel - The French government has announced that from today, travellers will no longer need a "compelling reason" to visit the UK, Australia, New Zealand or several other countries. There will also be no need to demonstrate a compelling reason to enter France from the countries concerned. The French government said that the specific health situation in the foreign destinations had been taken into account in reaching the decision as well as the British variant now being widespread in France. The other countries for which a "compelling reason" will not be required are South Korea, Israel, Japan and Singapore. The list of compelling or personal reasons for visiting other countries outside the European Area has also been extended as of today.

Cyberattack on French hospital - A French hospital in the southwest Pyrénées-Atlantiques region, has been paralyzed following a cyberattack. Hackers have crippled the entire hospital demanding a ransom of US$50,000 in Bitcoin to unlock the systems. It’s the third cyberattack on a hospital in France in less than a month. The attack illustrates how healthcare establishments have become a high-profile target of cybercriminals, especially given the coronavirus pandemic.

Alpes Maritimes lockdown - The Alpes-Maritimes will be under lockdown again this weekend and the prefect is expected to give a press conference at 11am this morning concerning the organization of the Paris Nice cycling race which was due to hold the final stages in the city this weekend. Prefect Bernard Gonzalez, has given details for the reasons which led to the authorities opting for a 3rd partial lockdown in the region saying that the “spread of Covid in the Alpes Maritimes remains worrying with an incidence rate at 481 per 100,000 inhabitants on Thursday, compared to 217 for the national average as well as a positivity rate which stands at 10.2% compared to 7.3% for the national average”. He went on to say that the pandemic is “weighing heavily on the hospital capacity of the department" and that there is an intensive care bed occupancy rate of 132.2%. He added that fifteen Covid patients have already been transferred to other regions of France since January 25th, with five additional transfers of patients this week.

Lockdown measures - The lockdown means that circulating outside of your home is prohibited between 6am and 6pm Saturday and Sunday (note that this is in addition to the 6pm to 6am curfew), except for compelling reasons which are detailed on the attestation form. Practicing a physical activity remains limited to one hour, within a radius of five kilometers despite the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi suggesting to the prefect on Thursday that it be extended to 3 hours.

Meanwhile the Monaco government has said that it recommends not going to the Alpes-Maritimes during this weekend’s lockdown except for compelling reasons. A PCR test is required for Monaco residents who visit the Alpes-Maritimes or Var Departments for a period of more than 24 hours. For all trips beyond the Alpes-Maritimes or Var Departments, a PCR test of less than 72 hours is required.

In other news 

Stabbing in Nice - A 16-year-old teenager has been stabbed in Nice and is suffering serious injuries. The incident happened at around 7pm on Thursday evening on Rue Barla in the port district of the city. The victim was taken to hospital in a state of absolute emergency. An investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances of the attack.

Coast road in Antibes closed to vehicles on Sunday - With a third weekend of lockdown announced for the Alpes Maritimes. The mayor of Antibes has announced that the coast road between the Fort-Car