French and Riviera News Monday 15th February 2021


Pressure in France’s hospitals eases slightly - The pressure in France’s hospitals has eased slightly with the latest figures published by the government showing less than 10,000 new hospitalizations for Covid over the last seven days. 16,646 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 were recorded in France on Sunday 14th February.

On Sunday over the last 24 hours, the health agency identified 651 new admissions compared to 1,085 the day before. Intensive care units admitted 113 new patients, compared to 191 the day before. There were 167 additional deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 81,814 deaths since the start of the pandemic (including 57,815 in hospital).

Vaccination campaign - Concerning the vaccination campaign in France, on Saturday it was confirmed that 2,249,685  people have received at least one injection. 647,173 people have already received both doses. From today Monday 15th February, the AstraZeneca vaccine will be delivered to French pharmacies to then be distributed to GPs within the next ten days, in order to vaccinate the next category of people, the over 50s with an underlying health condition.

French President calls for international collective action against Covid – Meanwhile French President Emmanuel Macron has called for the launch of an international initiative to better fight against the variants of Covid-19. In an interview published in Sunday’s Journal du Dimanche the Head of State said "We are now engaged in a fight against variants, which is a real race against time and without a rapid, effective and united international collective action, we run the risk that the virus will escape us." Adding that “access to the vaccine is uneven on a worldwide level”. Emmanuel Macron welcomed the release of four billion dollars as part of the Act-A project introduced by the new American administration saying that "It was one of his first topics of discussion with President Biden”.

Education ministry modifies health protocol in schools - France’s Education ministry has updated its Covid health protocol in schools, modifying the circumstances which require classes be closed in the event of contamination by the British variant. British variants of Covid will be considered as the same as a general case of Covid with three cases (of either) leading to the closure of a class and staff are no longer systematically considered as contact cases.  

In early February the ministry had declared that "In case of the identification of a British variant in staff or a student, the class concerned would be closed". A measure which "was partly responsible for the increase in class closures”. The new measures from the ministry are considered to be more flexible. To date in total 1,599 classes and 103 schools are closed due to cases of Covid-19. The new rule is valid for classes from nursery to high school with no automatic closure of a class due to the British variant.

However, concerning cases of students infected with the variants initially observed in Brazil and South Africa, immediate closure remains in force.

Italy delays reopening of ski resorts due to British variant of Covid – And Italy has announced that due to the British variant of Covid ski stations which were due to open today in the Lombardy region will now, not reopen until March 5th.

Monaco - From today, Monday 15th February a negative PCR Covid test of less than 72 hours will be required for anyone from France. Frontier workers, schoolchildren and students, as well as residents of the Alpes-Maritimes coming to the Principality for less than 24 hours are exempt from these measures. Anyone coming to a hotel in the Principality, whatever their origin and the length of stay, must present a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours, "the Principality said in a statement on Saturday".

The Monegasque government explains that these measures are taken "in strict reciprocity with French measures" and that reinforced controls will take place at its borders. These measures already applied to foreign nationals since early February, but France benefited from an "exemption" that Monaco has chosen to lift, according to a government spokesperson.

On Saturday the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes granted more flexibility to Monégasque residents wishing to go to France however the measure was considered insufficient by the Monaco government. Limited since February 1st to a radius of 30 km around Monaco, they are now exempt from presenting a negative PCR test "for trips of less than 24 hours within the limits of the Alpes-Maritimes department". Monaco considers this 24-hour period too short and considers that this decision is in "contradiction" with the Franco-Monegasque convention which guarantees the free movement of nationals of the two countries on both sides of the border. The principal