French and Riviera News Friday 16th April 2021

News

Covid death toll exceeds 100,000 in France - The official death toll from Covid has exceeded 100,000 in France, with a further 300 dying in the last 24 hours according to figures released on Thursday April 15th. According to Public Health France, 100,073 people have died from Covid (73,000 in hospitals and 26,000 in nursing homes).

With over 5,900 patients currently in intensive care, the highest level since spring 2020, France is currently in the throes of a severe third wave and is the third country in Europe to reach the grim milestone of 100,000 coronavirus deaths, after the United Kingdom and Italy. Worldwide, the US has the highest death toll, with over half a million, followed by Brazil.

Elderly hardest hit by Covid - Since the start of the pandemic, the elderly have been the hardest hit in France: among deaths in hospitals, those over 70 represent 85% of the victims. And there are more male deaths in all age groups except the over 90s, which is 74% women.

Emmanuel Macron tweet - On Thursday French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted; “We all have a thought for the families, loved ones, for the children who have lost a parent or grandparent, the bereaved siblings, the broken friendships” adding that “If all our energy is now focused on ending this ordeal, we will not forget any face or name."

Macron had on Thursday chaired a meeting with a dozen ministers to examine the protocols for reopening the terraces of cafes and restaurants and certain cultural places from mid-May saying, that terraces and museums will be the first to reopen.

Vaccination – From this weekend "dedicated vaccination slots" for certain professionals will be available. 400,000 professionals over the age of 55 are concerned, in particular, teachers, police officers, gendarmes, and prison administration supervisors. While the pace of vaccinations has shot up in recent weeks, France is still lagging behind the US and Britain and several other countries.  So far it has administered 15.75 million shots compared with 40.96 million in Britain. 

Health measures in Monaco - In changes to health measures announced by the Monaco government on Thursday April 15th, restaurants will be able to open in the evenings until 9.30pm but will still only be accessible to Monaco residents and those staying in hotels in the Principality. As from 19th April until 3rd May, the curfew hours in Monaco will be 9pm to 6am but with an exemption until 10pm for customers of restaurants. Outdoor sports at the Principality's schools will be permitted from 26th April.

The government said that vaccination is being opened to residents aged 45 to 54 and a letter from the Minister of State will be sent today to invite people to express their wish to be vaccinated. The government said that all vaccinations are being carried out with the Pfizer vaccine and they are also waiting for the Moderna vaccine.

Minister of State Pierre Dartout said that the health situation shows that the measures put in place have slowed the circulation of the virus, but it is necessary to remain vigilant and cautious. He said that the incidence rate has been divided by three in one month and the government is proceeding "to a measured, controlled, contained, targeted reopening of certain activities" such as restaurants in the evening and sports in schools.

He added that Monaco takes its own decisions with regard to its own situation but also in reciprocal solidarity with France, with care being given to patients from neighboring municipalities at the hospital in Monaco and vaccines being supplied by France.

Historic Grand Prix - The Monaco government has given details of spectator numbers which will be allowed for the Historic Monaco Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place from 23-25 April.  Only the qualifying races and the race itself will be open to the public, with the track being closed to spectators on the Friday. Only 6,500 members of the public will be allowed to be present in the stands, which is about one third of normal capacity. All spectators must be Monaco residents, employees or clients of hotels in the Principality. Restaurants will be able to be open continuously until 9.30pm during the Historic Grand Prix weekend but there will be no sale or consumption of alcohol on public roads. Similar measures will apply to the e-Prix on the 8th May, but the government said that no decisions have yet been made about the Formula 1 Grand Prix later in May as measures will depend on the health situation.

In other news

Trade deal - European Union politicians have given the first of two green lights needed to seal a trade and cooperation deal with Britain. On Thursday, the EU’s foreign affairs and trade committees backed the trade and cooperation agreement by 108 votes to one. A second green light will be required from a full session of the European parliament.

Security bill approved - France's National Assembly has approved a law that extends police powers, allowing them to use drones, video surveillance and pedestrian cameras, and restricts the publication of images of police officers on duty. The global security bill, which passed successfully through the Senate last week, was backed by 75 votes for to 33 against in the National Assembly on Thursday.

Sexual consent in France – Meanwhile, also on Thursday the final approval was given to the legislation setting the minimum age of sexual consent in France at 15. The move came following a wave of allegations of sexual abuse and incest described as France's second #MeToo movement. Under the legislation, sex with children under 15 is considered rape, punishable by up to 20 years in prison, unless there is a small age gap between the two partners. The bill also makes it illegal for an adult to have sex with a relative aged under 18. Justice Minister Éric Dupond-Moretti said the vote sent a clear message: "Children are off-limits."

Local

Delicate rescue operation after three people were trapped in an elevator - Emergency services have rescued three people after they became trapped in an elevator. The incident occurred on Thursday evening in the elevator of a four storey building in Antibes. Firefighters were faced with a complex rescue operation after the cable threatened to give way.

Employee of bar-tabac claims nearly 80,000 euros - An employee of a bar-tabac in Nice has been handed a prison sentence for theft. The 56-year-old part time employee, a compulsive gambler, had claimed nearly 80,000 euros in scratch cards which she had not paid for. The fraud was discovered after La Française des Jeux congratulated the manager of the bar-tabac in the Fabron district of Nice, on his winnings.

Rolling Stones - There's good news if you're a Rolling Stones fan. It's been announced that the band's travelling exhibition "Unzipped" will be coming to Marseille this summer. The exhibition, which will occupy 2,000 square metres at the Velodrome, features hundreds of original objects and memorabilia from the group's sixty-year career. It's taking place from June 10 to September 5 and information about tickets can be obtained at https://www.orangevelodrome.com/events/the-rolling-stones-unzipped/

Business

China's economy grew a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the same quarter last year. It's the biggest jump in gross domestic product (GDP) since China started keeping quarterly records in 1992.

Citigroup is closing its consumer banking operations in 13 markets across Asia, Europe and the Middle East. The US banking group will instead run these operations from four hubs in Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates and London. It will continue to offer products to larger clients and institutions in these markets.

Amazon boss Jeff Bezos has said the company's recent victory in defeating a high-profile unionisation drive in the US did not bring him "comfort". In his final letter to shareholders as the company's chief executive, he addressed concerns about the firm's treatment of its workers. The comments follow a year of global criticism of Amazon's work practices during the pandemic.

Sport

Tennis - Novak Djokovic and Lucas Pouille have been eliminated from the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters , while Rafael Nadal qualified for the quarterfinals.

Five years since Novak Djokovic has not reached the semi-finals in Monte-Carlo, the Serbian was eliminated by the unexpected Daniel Evans, in just two sets with a score of 6-4, 5-7. It’s Djokovic first loss of the year and he had not been beaten so early in a tournament since the Indian Wells in 2019. Dan Evans, meanwhile, will play David Goffin in the quarterfinals.

Football – In this evening’s Premier League Everton play Tottenham. On Saturday Newcastle face West Ham and Wolves play Sheffield United. On Sunday Arsenal play Fulham and Manchester United play Burnley. On Monday Liverpool play Leeds.

And in the FA Cup on Saturday Chelsea play Manchester City.

Formula One - Lewis Hamilton says his battle with Max Verstappen for this year's drivers' title does not yet live up to his rivalry with Sebastian Vettel. Hamilton said he was "excited" by the challenge posed by Red Bull but that 2017 and 2018 against Vettel at Ferrari were the favourite years of his career.

Weather

Cloudy with showers inland and in the Var. Some sunny spells with highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Antibes and Cannes and a moderate but cool breeze, going down to 8 degrees this evening.

The outlook for Saturday and Sunday unsettled with showers and sunny intervals storms and forecast inland. Clearing by Sunday morning but rain returning on Sunday afternoon with highs of 16-17 degrees.

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