French and Riviera News Friday July 23rd 2021

Coronavirus restrictions- All eyes are on the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes to see whether he intends to reintroduce restrictions as cases of the delta variant spiral in the department.

Reports say that Bernard Gonzalez will make an announcement before the end of the day which could include mask wearing again in most outdoor spaces.

The infection rate in the department has now risen above  the 200 per 100,000 people limit that President Macron fixed as the level where local prefects are authorised to take action.On Thursday the infection rate hit 255 per 100,000 people up from 196 on Wednesday.

Curfews have already been brought in again in parts of the south west of the country where the infection rate is already well above 200 cases per 100,000 people.

In the Var , the prefect has ruled that masks must be worn again in outside spaces in 58 towns where the delta variant is spreading fast.

The only exceptions are in large open spaces such as parks and beaches.

Evence Richard has also ordered testing to be ramped up in towns and cities across the Var and has warned that further measures will be taken if the situation continues to deteriorate.

 

Monaco- The wearing of face masks in outdoor areas except beaches will become mandatory again from tomorrow in Monaco.

Everyone over the age of five will be required to wear a mask outdoors as the Principality battles a surge in coronavirus cases .

60 new cases have been detected in the past week and hospital admissions are creeping up .

The Monaco authorities say that cases are rising in an alarming manner and most of the new infections are in young and mainly unvaccinated people.

60 percent of new infections registered in June were in residents aged up to 29 and the infection rate is rising the most in children and young people aged between 6 and 18.

A health pass will also be required for people from the Alpes Maritimes and Imperia region of Italy for admission to bars and restaurants in Monaco.

 

Hospital watch - The president of the French scientific council has told senators that a close eye must be kept on the hospital network as cases of the delta variant of coronavirus continue to grow rapidly.

Jean Francois Delfraissy told a Senate hearing on the expanded use of the health pass that there has been a 150 percent jump in new cases in the past week.

At the end of June , 2,000 new cases of the virus were being picked up daily.

On Thursday, the figure had jumped to more than 21,000.

Mr Delfraissy said that although the number of hospital beds being occupied by coronavirus patients is still relatively low , there is no doubt that it is on an upward curve again as the 4th wave of the pandemic takes hold.

There are currently some 1,550 coronavirus patients receiving hospital treatment around the country including nearly 300 in intensive care.

Two weeks ago the figure was 750 with 150 in intensive care.

The last two weeks of August is being flagged up as the period where hospital admissions could rise steeply.

 

Train controls- The SNCF says that it will introduce widespread checks on long distance services from the start of August to ensure that passengers are complying with the new health pass regulations.

With tens of thousands of people booked on trains at the busiest period of the summer holidays, the rail operator says that a ticket , mask and health pass are the three essential elements that passengers will need for a smooth journey.

Checks on passengers will be conducted on the platform before embarkation by SNCF staff who will be able to call on the police for extra assistance if required.

No passenger data will be collected during the checks which are being put in place purely to make sure that health passes are valid.

The new regulations come into force on the 1st of August.

 

Bar sur Loup fire-Firefighters have been working to control a fire that broke out in woodland near Bar sur Loup on Thursday afternoon.

More than 3 hectares  of trees has gone up in flames as the fire service  aided by  water bombing helicopters battled to control the fire that started  near to the chemin Bessurane.

The blaze has been contained but fire fighters remain on the ground to douse down any flare ups.

 

Let there be light ! Authorities in Nice have installed 14 new floodlights on the promenade des Anglais in a bid to crack down on antisocial behaviour.

A number of cameras are already in operation along with a loud speaker system that issues warnings to offenders.

Extra CRS police patrols are also on duty in the area.

Last Friday night , 46 fined were handed out for a range of public order offences including the consumption of alcohol on the street , the use of nitrous oxide and not wearing a face mask.

 

Bienvenue George - The Mayor of Brignoles has welcomed two new residents.

Mr and Mrs George Clooney , who you may have heard of , have taken possession of their new property at the domaine de Canadel.

The Mayor , Denis Bremond says that he’s delighted to welcome George and Amal Clooney to the local community.

Mr Bremond  has posted photos on his Facebook page after being invited to visit the couple at their new home to show them the ropes.

 

Business.

 

Unemployment claims in the United States have hit a two week high in a reminder that the labour market is far from being out of the woods as the country confronts a resurgence  in fresh COVID-19 infections.

A report issued by the Labor Department on Thursday showed that more people are returning to work but the rise in claims demonstrates that the problems in the job market of far from over.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased by 51,000 to a seasonally adjusted 419,000 for the week ending July 17, the highest level since mid May.

There were increases in claims in Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, California, Missouri and Texas.

Some of the states have been experiencing a surge in new coronavirus cases.

Analysts say that although economists are not expecting large scale business shutdowns, the latest wave of infections does pose  a risk to the economy.

US markets opened mixed on the news while the dollars fell against a basket of currencies.

 

US Treasury yields have tumbled In a possible sign that investors may be losing confidence in both the growth outlook and the Federal Reserve’s  ability to navigate between high inflation and a resurgence in coronavirus cases.

Strong economic growth is still expected for the year and may be the strongest since 1984 but growing numbers of cases of the Delta variant may dampen the rate of expansion in the closing months of 2021.

Although the worst current outbreaks of the virus have been localised, pressure is growing on hospital capacity and a number of states have been criticised for not acting quickly enough to rein in the number of new cases.

Son 37,000 people are being diagnosed with the virus daily across America and around 200 deaths are being registered.

 

And – UK retailers are warning of disruption amid record app alerts as more and more people are told to self isolate after coming into contact with somebody who has contracted COVID-19.

Food retailers are facing serious challenges as they attempt to keep shelves stocked with rising numbers of staff absent because of self isolation.

Shortages of some products are being reported around the country and the public is being urged not to panic buy.

People who are pinged by the NHS Covid app are advised but  not legally obliged to self isolate for 10 days.

The government announced last night that key food workers will now be allowed to do daily Covid tests instead of having to self-isolate.

A shortage of delivery drivers is also affecting supplies, mainly because the majority of EU nationals who were working in the industry  have left since Brexit.

The UK Road Haulage  Association has also said that its members are being asked to work extra hours to try and make up the shortfall which it says is counter-productive and resulting in some drivers looking for alternative employment.

 

Sport.

 

Olympics – The  opening ceremony at the Tokyo Olympic Games  is taking place shortly amid a backdrop of rising coronavirus infections in Japan.

Most of the events at the games will take place behind closed doors and there is growing resentment in Tokyo that the Games are being staged at all.

There have been outbreaks of coronavirus in the athletes village and some competitors have been forced to self isolate.

Some of the events have started already and in the men’s football on Thursday Mexico stunned France with a 4-0 victory while Brazil beat Germany 4–2 and Spain were held to a 0–0 draw by Egypt.

 

Rugby union – The first test between the British and Irish Lions and South Africa is being played in Cape Town tomorrow eveni