French and Riviera News Friday 1st May 2020

Orange zone for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var - The Alpes Maritimes and the Var have been provisionally classified as an “orange” zone concerning the level of “circulation of the virus” in the region. France’s Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, unveiled the map on Thursday.

The map is aimed at showing the rate of circulation of the virus across France with “red” for the regions the worst hit and “green” for those areas the least affected by the virus.

Three criteria are taken into account to determine if a department is "ready" to be deconfined: the rate of new cases, hospital capacities in intensive care and a "local system of testing as well as detection of contact cases".

By May 7th both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var are expected to switch to red or green.

Coronavirus figures for the region - Since the start of the epidemic, the coronavirus has killed 400 people in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var claiming 6 new victims on Thursday in the Alpes Maritimes, the largest number of deaths in one day since April 24th, according to the Regional Health Agency.

National - Meanwhile on a national level the coronavirus has caused 339 additional deaths in France in the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 24,376 deaths since March 1st.

Just over 26,000 patients are hospitalized for Covid-19 with nearly 50,000 patients able to leave hospital since the start of the epidemic.

Four regions in France account for 71% of patients who remain in intensive care, they are the Ile de France (40%), the Grand Est (13%), the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (9%) and the Hauts-de-France (9%).

Deaths at home to be counted - France is to investigate the number of deaths from Covid-19 which are occurring at home. Studies have shown that up to a third of deaths are not being reported.

The French government now says health services will provide an estimate of how many people have died from Covid-19 at home in June. The estimate will be provided by the Public Health France agency and will be based on a review of death certificates, which generally state the cause and place of death.

Nice attack - Anti-terrorist judges in France have completed investigations into the Nice attack of July 14th 2016 which could now see a trial take place in 2022. The closing of the investigation "opens a period of questioning, for the association of the victims”. The attack which took place on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice claimed 86 lives on July 14th 2016.

Return to school, Eric Ciotti asks for it to be postponed - Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has sent a letter to Prime Minister Edouard Philippe today asking for the start of the school year to be postponed to June 2. He said that a major health risk was posed by the return to school on 11 May because of lack of preparation and because there are "too many fears and questions to envisage a peaceful return to school". He noted that both Italy and Spain have postponed the return until the start of the next school year in September.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Fréjus, David Rachline, has announced that schools will not re-open on May 11th in Frejus and will remain closed until the end of the school year. He said that a reception service would be set up for children whose parents have to return to work.

Road checks - An increased level of police controls is expected this weekend. Major roads, railway stations and city centres will be heavily monitored. Police reinforcements are being called in and drones and a plane will be used in the Alpes Maritimes to enforce compliance with the lockdown measures.

Masks - A distribution of masks is being organised by local authorities in Menton. Pre-registration is first required and you're able to do that from today until 5pm next Tuesday the 5th of May. You can register by going to the website menton.fr/masques and following the instructions there. Alternatively, you can call 04 92 10 50 00, which is open during town hall working hours. The aim is for each local resident to have at least one mask by the 11th of May and at least three masks by the end of the month.

Elsewhere on the Riviera, six drive-in mask distribution points have opened in Antibes on Thursday, including ones at Fort Carre and at the Palais des Congrès in Juan-les-Pins. Masks are being distributed in alphabetical order by surname over the next few days. You'll need to take appropriate ID and proof of address less than 6 months old.

The town of Mandeliu-La-Napoule has made it mandatory to wear a mask in public places from 4 May. The town has also announced plans to hand out a "restart kit" to local merchants before stores re-opening on May 11th. The kit contains masks and gel and is being given out to traders at the town hall on several days next week.

1st May - Residents of Nice are being invited to celebrate the 1st of May at their windows. The Ville de Nice are inviting e