French and Riviera News Friday 19th February 2021


Health situation on Côte d’Azur described as “very worrying” - During a press conference on Thursday 18th February, France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that the health situation in Nice is currently “very worrying”. Ahead of the minister’s visit tomorrow Saturday 20th February, during which he is to announce measures for patients care and the monitoring of long Covid, figures for Covid on the Côte d’Azur have reached new heights with some neighbourhoods, such as the Ariane, describing the pandemic as “uncontrollable”. For several weeks now Nice has been the most affected area for Covid in mainland France.

School holidays - As school holidays begin this evening the Monaco Government has launched an appeal “for prudence and responsibility” in the face of Covid. This evening starts a two-week school vacation period. A moment which will allow many Monegasques and residents of the Principality to take a few days off. In recent months, each vacation period has been followed by an epidemic rebound. The Princely Government therefore calls for everyone to be vigilant and to act responsibly. The health authorities also insist that everyone maintain great vigilance in the private sphere where more than half of the contaminations occur during meetings with friends or family. On Thursday, 19 new cases of Covid were identified bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,835. 53 people are hospitalized and 107 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Isolation period extended - In France from Monday 22nd February the isolation period for those who test positive for Covid is to be extended from 7 to 10 days (remaining at 7 for contact cases only). The new measure comes in an attempt to curb the spread of variants especially the British variant which now represents 36% of cases.

Vaccination - Meanwhile a recent survey has shown that 6 out of 10 French people are in favour of getting vaccinated but a majority reject the idea of a vaccine passport for access to restaurants and cultural places. Confidence in the vaccine, which started off low in France, has increased by five points in the last month and is popular among those over 65 compared to those aged between 25-34. However, the government's vaccination strategy is highly criticized by a large majority of respondents who consider it to not be “effective” or “coherent”. The poll was carried out by Odoxa-Backbone Consulting and published on Thursday.

Health Minister - Minister Olivier Veran has said that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be made available directly in pharmacies in the month of March for people aged 50-64, as well as from their doctors, nurses and other health professionals authorized to administer vaccines. He said that the average age of vaccinated people is currently 72 years and the government hopes to open vaccination to those aged from 65 to 74 years "between the end of March and mid-April", depending on the number of people over 75 who decide to be vaccinated.

Macron calls on Europe and US to send 5% vaccine supplies to developing nations - Meanwhile during an interview with the Financial Times French President Emmanuel Macron has called on Europe and the US to urgently send up to 5% of their coronavirus vaccine supplies to developing nations. Macron proposed his plan to address the imbalance ahead of a G7 virtual summit of world leaders today.

Grand Prix Monaco - Preparatory work for this year's Monaco Grand Prix is about to get underway. Installation of the infrastructure will begin next Monday, February 22nd. This year there are exceptionally three Grand Prix events in Monaco because of cancellations last year. The Historic Grand Prix is scheduled to take place on 23rd-25th April, followed by the EPrix on 8th May and the main Monaco Grand Prix from 20th-23rd May.

Pre-poll voting rejected - The upper house of the French Parliament has rejected a government amendment for pre poll voting ahead of the presidential elections in France in 2022. The text, criticized by the opposition, would have allowed voters, in certain offices, to vote via a machine, during the week preceding the presidential election of 2022. The text had been added at the last minute to the bill on the technical organization of the presidential ballot.

Macron hails Mars landing - The French Head of State welcomed the landing on Thursday of the NASA rover on Mars, which is taking a Franco-American instrument on board, hailing it as “magnificent teamwork". "We are there! Here we are! #CountdownToMars!", tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron after having witnessed the landing operation live, broadcast by the French space agency. The Perserverance robot takes with it a SuperCam, a Franco-American instrument developed in particular by the CNRS and CNES.


The head of the RobinHoo