French and Riviera News Friday 24th December 2021

News

New record of covid contaminations in the Alpes Maritimes - Public Health France has announced a new record of covid contaminations in the Alpes-Maritimes with 2,231 new cases on Thursday December 23rd. Yesterday, the worst figures ever recorded on a national level in France since the beginning of the pandemic, were published with nearly 88,000 cases in the last 24 hours. Meanwhile the incidence rate in the Alpes Maritimes also hit a record high standing at 962 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants while the national average stands at 565. The Alpes-Maritimes is among the 4 departments of France most affected by the 5th wave of covid behind the Drôme (1,127), Paris (998) and the Ardèche (962).

Hospitals in the region have admitted 32 new patients in the last 24 hours. In total, 378 patients are hospitalized with covid in the Alpes-Maritimes and 3 people have died in the last 24 hours.

Monaco - In Monaco on Thursday a 77-year-old resident died from covid. Since the beginning of the health crisis 38 residents have died and 4,606 cases have been identified including 69 new cases on Thursday 23rd December. 25 people are currently in hospital and 294 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Negative test required in addition to vaccination pass - Meanwhile according to French media, the government is planning to introduce in addition to the vaccination pass the requirement of a negative test for access to certain places. The future draft law will be presented on Monday and will concern access to places where the risk of contamination is the greatest.

The government intends to strengthen existing tools for managing the health crisis, replacing the current health pass with a vaccine pass and further strengthening measures to combat fraud. Presentation of a PCR test or a recovery certificate will no longer be enough to access places open to the public, such as bars, restaurants, museums, theatres, cinemas or even interregional trains.

January 15th - From 15th January 2022, the health pass, previously acquired at the end of a complete vaccination plan, is replaced, in the draft law, by a vaccination pass. According to the text presented by the government employees currently subject to the health pass will also have to have a vaccination pass. This mainly concerns people working in bars and restaurants, cinemas, museums or amusement parks. Also concerned are the staff of TGV, domestic flights or cruise ships since the vaccination pass is now required for long-distance transport. That's about 1.8 million people.

The government also plans to introduce the possibility of requesting ID when checking vaccination passes. The text presented on Monday therefore rewrites the law of last May which provided that identity checks could only be carried out by "law enforcement officers".

French President tweets advice in face of fifth wave of covid –French President Emmanuel Macron has in a tweet, advised the French to "take a test ahead of meeting up with family members for Christmas". The tweet published on Thursday went on to wish "Happy holidays to all" adding "Let's take care of each other".

Meanwhile two preliminary studies conducted in the UK have shown that infections with the Omicron variant of covid are less likely to cause hospitalisations compared to the Delta variant. However, it still calls for caution as the high transmission rate of the variant could still cause an increase in severe cases.

In other news

Gang arrested for burglaries in Nice - A gang of Albanians have been arrested in Nice suspected of carrying out at least a hundred burglaries. The arrests were made on Thursday as part of a major investigation. The suspects are believed to have carried out at least one burglary a night since October.

Rail line resumes - The railway line which connects Breil-sur-Roya to Ventimiglia has resumed its service, for the first time since storm Alex in October 2020. Eagerly awaited by the inhabitants of the villages the line is essential in the opening up of the valley.

Monaco Palace gives update on the health of HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco - The palace here in Monaco has this morning, released a statement with an update on the health of HSH Princess Charlene in which they state that; the "Princess is recuperating in a satisfactory and reassuring manner, although it may take a few more months before her health has reached full recovery". HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco and their children will be able to visit Princess Charlene during the Christmas holidays and once her health is fully restored, she looks very much forward to spending time with the Monegasques. During this period of convalescence, the Princely couple kindly ask that their privacy and family environment remains well respected.

Brigette Macron to take legal action - France's first lady Brigette Macron is to take legal action over an internet conspiracy theory claiming that she is a transgender woman and was born male. The wife of French President Emmanuel Macron was targeted on social media by the false claims, after they were published on a far-right website in September then circulated by conspiracy theorists. The rumours claim she was born male under the name Jean-Michel Trogneux. A lawyer for Mrs Macron confirmed she is taking action.

Business

The president of the Scientific Council in France, Jean-François Delfraissy, has said that with "hundreds of thousands of covid cases" per day expected in January, this new strain could lead to a "disorganisation of society from" the beginning of the year. In companies, the number of work stoppages has already risen sharply in recent weeks and the scale of the fifth wave is already beginning to affect the SNCF which has been forced to cancel regional trains. Abroad, some transport companies have had to make similar decisions. The Scandinavian airlines SAS and the German Lufhtansa have announced the cancellation of several long-haul flights "due to the increase in the rate of illness" among pilots.

British luxury department store chain Selfridges is being sold to a Thai retailer and an Austrian property firm. The deal for the majority of Selfridges Group is worth around £4bn ($5.4bn) according to reports. Founded in 1908 by US retail magnate Harry Gordon Selfridge, the company is best known for its flagship department store on London's Oxford Street. The Canadian wing of the billionaire Weston family bought Selfridges for nearly £600m in 2003.

And - TikTok is the world's new most popular online destination. The viral video app gets more hits than Google, according to Cloudflare, an IT security company. The rankings show that TikTok knocked Google off the top spot in February, March and June this year, and has held the number one position since August. Last year Google was first, and a number of sites including TikTok, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft and Netflix were all in the top 10.

Sport

Football - The Premier League has postponed Liverpool's game against Leeds United and the match between Wolves and Watford because of coronavirus. Both games were at 12:30 GMT on Sunday, 26 December but have been called off after requests from Leeds and Watford.

Brazil legend Pele has been discharged from hospital after undergoing treatment for a colon tumour. The three-time World Cup winner, 81, had surgery to remove the tumour in September, with the hospital saying at the time he would also need to have chemotherapy.

Cricket - England captain Joe Root says he will "bang out a hundred" as the tourists plot an Ashes fightback in the Boxing Day Test.

Weather

Scattered showers with a moderate breeze. Highs of 14 degrees in Monaco, Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez. This evening, Christmas Eve going down to 10 degrees and cloudy.

The outlook for Christmas Day and Boxing Day light rain is forecast tomorrow. Cloudy on Boxing Day highs of 15-16 degrees.  

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