French and Riviera News Friday 14th January 2022

News 

Covid cases in the Alpes Maritimes - According to Public Health France more than 7,800 new cases of covid were recorded in the Alpes-Maritimes in 24 hours on Monday, January 10th marking a new record since the beginning of the epidemic. On Thursday 13th figures showed that 494 people are currently hospitalised with covid in the Alpes Maritimes, including 106 in critical care, for which the occupancy rate in this service now exceeds 90%. Since the beginning of the epidemic, covid has caused 2,386 deaths (including 477 in nursing homes) in the Alpes-Maritimes and 2,372 in the Var (including 495 nursing homes).

Testing centre open on Sundays in Nice - Meanwhile in order to cope with the number of people getting tested in the region, the opening hours of the Nice testing centre at the Theatre de Verdure have been increased and it will now be open on Sundays.

Monaco - In Monaco 96 new cases of covid were identified on Thursday bringing the total number of residents affected to 6,362. Thirty-three people are currently in hospital and 247 are being followed by the Home Monitoring centre.

Fisherman found dead off the coast of Antibes - A fisherman has been found dead off the coast of Antibes. Rescue divers found the victim's body on Thursday evening shortly after 10pm, they had been alerted just a few hours earlier after the man was reported missing having gone to sea on Wednesday evening. An investigation has been opened.

Teaching unions say they are satisfied following discussions with French government - After four hours of talks between the French government and teaching unions on Thursday, which was marked by a National Day of Strike action. The French Minister of education Jean-Michel Blanquer has announced new measures to meet the demands of teachers' unions. They will include the funds to purchase CO2 censors for classrooms, an increase in recruitments (including 3,300 contract workers), the postponement of the mid-CP (first year of primary school) evaluations, planned for this month and the supply of 5 million FFP2 masks. The minister has been heavily criticised in recent days for his management of the health crisis. Trade union organisations said they are "pleased with the result of Thursday's discussions" and "hope that the planned regular meetings with government officials will put an end to the recent lack of dialogue" which has been acknowledged by the Minister of Education.

Strike action - Strike action on Thursday saw nearly 78,000 people, teachers and other national education staff demonstrate across France against the recent handling of the health crisis in French schools by the French government.  

French justice system suspends decree to make wearing a mask outdoors compulsory in French capital - The administrative court of Paris has suspended the decree from the prefecture making it mandatory to wear a mask outdoors in Paris since December 31st. The decision announced on Thursday, comes a day after that of the Administrative Court of Versailles, which had suspended a similar order, a first in France. The mandatory measure has been described as "an excessive, disproportionate and inappropriate interference to individual freedom". A decision on the decree will be published today Friday January 14th.

Meanwhile concerning the transformation of the health pass into a vaccine pass (planned on January 15th). After more than four hours of discussion on Thursday, MPs and senators have failed to find an agreement on the bill.

Better care for patients suffering from long covid - France's parliament has adopted a new bill to improve care and the creation of a monitoring platform for patients suffering from long covid. Long Covid is characterized by the persistence of symptoms in a patient affected months earlier by covid, including mild forms.

Mayor of Paris and presidential candidate presents programme which includes 5,000 euros for 18-year-olds in France- Socialist presidential candidate and mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has presented her programme which she hopes will help to relaunch her campaign for the French Presidency. Speaking on Thursday, Hidalgo evoked a revaluation of the minimum wage as well as the creation of a "youth minimum" of 5,000 euros to all eighteen-year-olds, climate wealth tax, better pay for teachers, an increase in the number of doctors and the right to vote from 16. Since running for president in October, Anne Hidalgo has struggled to take off in the polls. The mayor of Paris stagnates at around 5% a worrying situation for the French socialist party.

Travel restrictions relaxed - From today Friday 14th January covid travel restrictions for those travelling to France from the UK will be relaxed. Vaccinated travellers will no longer need a compelling reason to enter France or need to self-isolate when they arrive. Non-vaccinated travellers will still need a compelling reason to enter France and cannot travel to France for leisure reasons. They must also still isolate upon arrival. A negative Covid-19 test, taken within 24 hours before leaving the UK, will be required for those who are vaccinated or unvaccinated.

Business

Several officials from the US Federal Reserve have again spoken about the battle to control inflation and the prospect of higher interest rates. Lael Brainard, the most senior US banker behind Fed chair Jerome Powell said that the central bank was getting ready to raise rates while the Chicago Fed president Charles Evans said that there was a need for "tighter" policy. Fed presidents at San Francisco and Philadelphia have also spoken about the need to raise rates. Wall Street will be focused on 4th quarter earnings for the next couple of weeks with Wells Fargo the first to report later today. Year-on-year earnings growth from S&P 500 firms are expected to be lower in the fourth quarter compared with the first three quarters of 2021 but still strong at around 22.4 percent according to forecasts.

China's exports and imports grew at a lower rate in December as the world's second largest economy showed signs of slowing although exports came in just above expectations. Exports rose by 20.9 percent last month after increasing by 22 percent in November. China's exports outperformed expectations for much of 2021 and buoyed growth as several other sectors were faltering. Shipments are now slowing though as the overseas surge in demand for goods eases and high costs put manufacturers under pressure. Imports rose by 19.5 percent year-on-year in December, missing the forecast of 26.3 percent and down sharply from a 31.7 percent rise in November.

French ski resorts are reporting a jump in bookings after the government eased restrictions on British travellers. Many UK holidaymakers had to cancel bookings when the French government banned all but essential travel in December. However, from today, UK travellers will no longer need a compelling reason to visit France or isolate when they arrive. Proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken 24 hours before arrival will be required. More detail about travel arrangements for families with children is expected to be given shortly.

Sport

Cricket - It's day 1 of the 5th and final Test between Australia and England in Hobart with the start of play delayed because of light drizzle at the ground. England won the toss and decided to field and they've had some early success with David Warner caught by Crawley off the bowling of Robinson for a duck and the double centurion from the 4th Test Usman Khawaja caught by Root bowled Broad for 6. The success continued with Steve Smith again caught by Crawley off the bowling of Robinson leaving Australia tottering on 24-3.

Tennis - There's still been no decision by the Australian government as to whether Novak Djokovic will be allowed to compete at the Australian Open or whether he'll be forced to leave for breaking Covid regulations. The world number one has been practicing in Melbourne ahead of the tournament which starts on Monday but the Australian Immigration Minister Alex Hawke has still not ruled on the matter. On Thursday, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison suggested that Djokovic will not be allowed to play but Mr Hawke has the final say.

Football - Liverpool were held to a 0-0 draw by Arsenal at Anfield last night in the first leg of the League Cup semi final. Arsenal managed to hang on for the draw despite having Granit Xhaka was red-carded for chopping down Diogo Jota when he was in a goalscoring position.

In the English Premier League this weekend. Brighton play Crystal Palace in the A23 derby.

On Saturday Manchester City play Chelsea. Burnley host Leicester. Newcastle face Watford. Norwich play Everton. Wolves host Southampton and Aston Villa play Manchester United.

On Sunday Liverpool play Brentford. West Ham host Leeds and Spurs play Arsenal.

Rugby Union - There are two games in the European Champions Cup tonight. Cardiff play Harlequins in Pool B and Castres play Munster.

Formula 1 - The FIA has outlined the process for the en