French and Riviera News Friday 13th August 2021

News

Health Minister expresses concern at age of patients - During a visit to the University hospital of Fort-de-France in Martinique on Thursday, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran has expressed concern at the young age of covid patients in intensive care. Veran remarked that some “are as young as 20 or 30 years old and none of them are vaccinated”. Martinique is experiencing a new wave of covid contaminations and a lockdown has recently been enforced.

Nice hospital is seeing more and more infants admitted with covid - The pediatric service of the Nice hospital is admitting more and more infants with covid who are presenting serious symptoms. While severe cases in children remain rare, they are more recurrent since the arrival of the Delta variant. Several newborns are currently hospitalized. But in previous waves, the pediatric ward was empty. Since July, the number of children positive for covid has increased tenfold. Of the 9,233 patients hospitalized in France, there are only 44 children aged 9 or under, and 74 young people aged 10 to 19. But the Delta variant has increased contamination in children. For doctors, this is more of an epidemiological than a medical concern, as few positive children develop severe symptoms.

Anti-health pass protesters –250,000 anti-health pass protesters are expected to take to the streets this weekend. The total number of demonstrators across France has already more than doubled, since the first Saturday of protests on July 17th when according to the minister there were then 114,000. In a note sent to the government on Thursday August 12, the central territorial intelligence service expects at least 250,000 people to participate throughout France, including many families. Nearly 200 actions are already planned, and it is especially in the south of France that the gatherings will be the most important, such as in Toulon, in the Var, where 15,000 demonstrators are expected.

Vaccination centres vandalized – French covid vaccination centres have been hit by vandalism and sprayed with Nazi-themed tags as the French government steps up its vaccination drive. Across the country, vaccination centres and outdoor testing facilities at pharmacies have been tagged in recent weeks.

“Together, we will make it happen” tweets French President – Meanwhile in a message published on Twitter French President Emmanuel Macron has welcomed the news, that since his speech on July 12th, 10 million people in France have been vaccinated. In his message accompanied with a photo the Head of State wrote “Together, we will make it happen”.

Monaco - The Monaco government has published Covid-19 statistics for July. The month saw a rise in infections with 312 new cases of registered residents. The incidence rate has increased significantly, standing at 276.4 on August 1st but remains well below that of the Alpes-Maritimes.

Mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet - The mayor of Villeneuve-Loubet Lionnel Luca, has announced that the municipal police will not carry out controls for the health pass. The mayor says he believes that the police are not empowered to carry out an identity check outside of an offense.

In other news

France suspends expelling Afghan migrants - The French government has announced that France has suspended expelling Afghan migrants whose asylum applications had been rejected, due to the deteriorating security situation in the country. The French interior ministry said in a statement that the policy had been in place since early July, after similar announcements of the suspension of such expulsions by Germany and the Netherlands. In 2020, Afghans had accounted for the most asylum requests in France, with 8,886 applications. 

Decision for MOTs for two wheelers is suspended - The French government has announced that it is suspending the decision to introduce MOTs for motorized two-wheelers. Contrary to the decree published on Wednesday, the government has made a u-turn, which reportedly comes after being put under pressure from a powerful lobby representing a small minority who are against the move.

Number of accidental drownings in France drops- The number of accidental drownings in France has dropped by 22% compared to 2018. In a survey published by Public Health France both fatal drownings and those which have given rise to hospital treatment were listed. Of the 700 people who drowned accidentally between June 1st and August 8th, 2021, 168 have died, compared to 198 in 2018. Those most affected by accidental drownings are those under 6, mainly in private swimming pools, and those over 65, mainly in the sea.

Weather warning - The Var and the Alpes-Maritimes have been put on a Meteo France Orange alert for high temperatures until at least 4pm this afternoon. An Orange alert is the third highest alert level of the four levels used by Meteo France.

Busy weekend on the roads - It's expected to be another busy weekend on the roads. It's another "crossover" weekend with some people arriving on holiday and some leaving. VINCI Autoroutes say that significant traffic is expected from today through until Monday on the main axes of the network, including the Rhone Valley, the Mediterranean coast and the Paris and Bordeaux areas. In our region, the A8 motorway between Aix-en-Provence and the Italian border will experience heavy to saturated traffic from today, especially on the outskirts of the main towns. Saturday will be the busiest day in both directions throughout the day. On Sunday the traffic will still be very dense from the end of the morning in the Aix-en-Provence. If you're travelling on French motorways you can find lots of useful information on the website https://www.vinci-autoroutes.com

Golden Foot Awards 2021 - Voting has officially opened to elect the next footballer, who will leave his footprint on the famous Champions’ Promenade here in the Principality and claim this year’s Golden Foot Award. Football fans and enthusiasts from around the world can vote at www.goldenfoot.com until October 31st, to elect the successor of Cristiano Ronaldo, last year’s winner.

Business

Poly Network has confirmed on Twitter that the hacker who stole just over $600m (£433m) worth of cryptocurrency has now returned most of the stolen assets. The hacker posted several pages of notes to the blockchain, disclosing why they hacked the firm and the offers Poly Network made to them. In a twist that's worrying some cyber-security experts, the hacker claims the firm offered to pay $500,000 if they returned the stolen assets, as well as a promise of immunity from prosecution. However, the hacker says he did not accept the offer. The anonymous hacker claimed he or she carried out the heist for fun  and to encourage cryptocurrency exchange firm Poly Networks to improve its security.

The sandwich chain Pret a Manger has told its staff that a temporary pay cut will now be made permanent as trade remains "significantly below" pre-Covid levels. Pret a Manger stopped paying workers during their breaks last September in an effort to cut costs. However, it has now told workers that the measure will be kept in place.

Walt Disney Co's revenue has beaten expectations in the third quarter, thanks to new streaming subscribers and the reopening of its theme parks. Disney+ launched in the UK in March last year, about four months after it launched in the US and Canada, where it had more than 10 million subscribers sign up on its first day.  The company said it expects up to 260 million subscribers by 2024.

Sport

Football - Chelsea have re-signed 28-year-old Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku from Inter Milan for £97.5m. Lukaku returns to Stamford Bridge on a five-year deal, having left the Blues to join Everton for £28m in 2014. The fee is just short of the British transfer record of £100m paid by Manchester City for Jack Grealish. 

In this weekend’s Premier League action

This evening Brentford, whose rise to the Premier League has been incredible will play Arsenal. On Saturday; in the lunchtime fixture Manchester United, play Leeds. Burnley face Brighton, Chelsea will host Crystal Palace. Everton as they play Southampton, Leicester play Wolverhampton, Watford play Aston Villa and Norwich host Liverpool. On Sunday Newcastle face West Ham and Tottenham play Manchester City.

Tennis - British number one Johanna Konta has pulled out of the Canadian Open with a knee injury. The 30-year-old was due to face 15th seed Coco Gauff in the third round, with the American now advancing to the quarter-finals in a walkover result.

Athletics - British sprinter CJ Ujah has been suspended from competition after testing positive for a banned substance. Ujah, 27, was part of Team GB men's 4x100m relay team which won silver at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics this month.

Golf - Michele Thomson put a "turbulent time" behind her to lead the Scottish Women's Open by two strokes after a course-record first round.

Cricket - England suffered a demoralising first day of the second Test as India were asked to bat first.

Weather

Clear skies with an orange warning in place due to high temperatures. Highs of 31 degrees in Nice and Saint Tropez. 35 degrees in Marseille with a light moderate breeze. This evening going down to 24 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 21 in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for the weekend remaining fine with highs of 31-35 degrees.

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