French and Riviera News Monday 13th December 2021

News

France's health minister says that new lockdown is not on the agenda - France's Minister of Health Olivier Véran has announced that "for the moment a new lockdown in France is absolutely not on the agenda". Véran made the announcement as France at the beginning of last week recorded over 70,000 new cases of covid within a 24-hour period (this is the highest number of cases in 24 hours since the beginning of the pandemic). However, health officials believe that since, a "slowdown of the epidemic has been seen as France reaches the peak of the new wave". Meanwhile across the Channel British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has indicated that the booster dose will be open to all over 18 years of age from the end of December. In a speech broadcast on Sunday evening on British television, Johnson sounded the alarm. The Prime Minister announced that due to the Omicron variant "a tidal wave" is to be expected. The announcement, from Downing Street, comes a few hours after the covid alert level was raised due to a "rapid increase" in cases of the Omicron variant, which prompted the government to announce new measures.

Obligation to wear mask extended - The prefecture of the Alpes Maritimes has extended the obligation to wear a mask until Monday 20th December. The regulation concerns all those over 11 years of age and all outdoor spaces including those open to the public such as markets. It is also mandatory to wear a mask in indoor spaces open to the public and where a health pass is required.

Confidence in covid vaccination - France's government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has said that the public can have "complete confidence in the vaccination against covid" speaking to reporters while on a visit to a vaccination centre, Attal who had just received the booster jab of covid, attempted to reassure the public adding that mixing the "Pzifer jab with Moderna was not a problem either". Attal said that he who had received Pzifer for the first two doses had just received the Moderna as a booster jab.

Doctors warn not to hide information - Doctors in a hospital in the Haut Seine region of France have called on the public not to "hide information from medical staff" by using a false health certificate, after a woman aged 57 years old died at the weekend in intensive care having presented a false vaccination certificate.

False health passes - Meanwhile France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin confirmed at the weekend that 400 cases of "health pass fraud" are currently under investigation, warning that the punishments are tough. Those caught offering false health passes risk a five-year prison sentence.

Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival cancelled - The 45th edition of the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival, which was to be held from January 22nd has been postponed to 2023. Organizers have announced that following a meeting with the Monegasque government it was decided that there is too great a risk concerning the current health situation. It's the fourth time since its creation in 1974 that the festival, which has established itself as the world's showcase of the best traditional circus acts, has been cancelled.

Meanwhile 1,300 runners have taken part in Monaco's ultimate 10km running race on Sunday, open to all, both young and old, the "U Giru de Natale".

Referendum - French President Emmanuel Macron has said that "France is even more beautiful because New Caledonia has decided to remain". The head of state made the comment following the results at the weekend, of the referendum which voted "no". Macron welcomed the outcome of the vote, which rejects with an overwhelming majority the independence of New Caledonia.

Monopoly - The Tarn region in southwestern France, in partnership with Hasbro, has launched its own Monopoly. Towns in the department have been included in the new edition this Christmas to promote the region. The region's president Christophe Ramond said that the game "demonstrates the unity of the department" and "makes you want to extend the game with real visits".

Business 

The inflation allowance of 100 euros, which was announced in October by the French government and intended for 38 million people in France, will start to be paid from today Monday 13th December. Scholarship students will be the first to receive the allowance from today followed by private employees, public sector employees, freelancers and micro-entrepreneurs.

The fishermen of Hauts-de-France have announced action against imports of British products saying that they feel "abandoned by the European Commission". On Saturday Britain granted 23 additional licenses to French fishermen, a figure far below the 104 licenses that France was demanding.

Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba has fired a woman who said a colleague and a client had sexually assaulted her. The dismissal letter said she had spread falsehoods that had damaged the company's reputation. The employee went public with her allegations in August because she said Alibaba had failed to take action. She said the assaults took place during a business trip. The colleague was then sacked, but a criminal case against him was dropped. The client is still thought to be under police investigation.

Sport 

Formula One – 24-year-old Max Verstappen has been crowned the new Formula One world champion at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Formula 1 officials have rejected two protests by Mercedes against the result. It certainly looked like Hamilton was on course to win the title at the beginning of the race as he overtook pole positioned Verstappen on the first lap and continued the lead. However, when William's driver Nicholas Latifi crashed with just five laps to go, the safety car was deployed, and Verstappen pitted for new tyres. Hamilton was heard saying over the radio "he's behind me with new tyres". The race was down to the final lap which saw Verstappen overtake Hamilton to claim the title.

Football - In the weekend's Premier League action, the three teams fighting for the top of the table all won on penalties. Liverpool beat Aston Villa 1-0. It was an action-packed match for Manchester City who won 1-0 against Wolves after a penalty from Sterling, marking his 100th Premier League goal. Wolves were down to ten men after Jimenez got two bookings just 48 seconds apart in one of the most needless red cards in the Premier League.

Meanwhile in the Ligue 1 in France Kylian Mbappe struck twice as Paris St-Germain continued their dominance with victory over Monaco 2-0.

Cricket - Australia fast bowler Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test against England at Adelaide, which begins on Thursday due to injury. Hazlewood, who is third in the International Cricket Council's Test bowling rankings, has a rib injury. No announcement has been made on his replacement for the Adelaide Test yet.

Weather 

Highs of 15 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. Mainly fine with a moderate breeze. This evening going down to 5 degrees with clear skies.

Outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday - Sunny with highs of between 14 and 15 degrees.

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