French and Riviera News Monday 15th June 2020

Lockdown measures fully lifted - French President Emmanuel Macron has announced that coronavirus lockdown measures are to be fully lifted in mainland France. Paris and the Ile-de-France region will move into the "green zone" from today, allowing the capital's bars and restaurants to reopen. All schools, except high schools, are to reopen from 22nd June. 

In a televised address to the nation on Sunday evening, Macron said that France has marked its "first victory" in the fight against the coronavirus, even if the struggle is not over.

Overseas territories of Mayotte and French Guiana will remain at the "orange" alert level, with highs number of cases still posing a threat to strained hospital systems.

Family visits will also be allowed from today at retirement homes, which have been hit especially hard by the Covid-19 outbreak.

The president also confirmed that the second-round of local elections originally set for March, would go ahead as planned on June 28. But mass gatherings will remain "tightly controlled" for now.

Emmanuel Macron also said that taxes would not be increased to finance the 500 billion euros of expenditure due to the coronavirus crisis.  

#BlackLivesMatter - The President also addressed the #BlackLivesMatter movement, as he vowed to stand firm against racism, but insisted that France wouldn't take down statues of controversial, colonial-era figures.

The President’s comments come after police clashed with activists protesting in Paris against racism and alleged police brutality.

The rally was part of a worldwide movement inspired by America's Black Lives Matter protests.

About 15,000 anti-racism protesters gathered on the Place de la République in central Paris early on Saturday afternoon.

They chanted slogans such as "No justice, no peace". Some climbed on the statue of Marianne, the symbol of the French Republic.

Travel - Belgium, France and Greece will re-establish free movement from this morning with all EU countries. Greece, whose economy is largely based on tourism, goes even further and invites travellers from several regions outside the EU - such as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and China. Germans and Austrians will wait until midnight tonight before opening borders to the rest of Europe.

However, restrictions have been maintained for travellers from European destinations where the infection rate is still considered too high. Each country has composed a list of risk areas. Sweden and Great Britain are included and in some cases Spain and Portugal. Either travel to or from these destinations is prohibited, or a 14-day self-isolation period is required.

France has warned that it will apply similar measures to countries imposing restrictions on its nationals.

Coronavirus - Meanwhile the latest coronavirus figures announced by France’s Health Minister on Sunday have shown that France registered fewer than 10 new deaths in 24 hours due to Covid-19.

Nine new deaths were recorded in hospital in 24 hours, the lowest figure since mid-March, bringing the total death toll to 29,407 since the start of the epidemic.

The number of serious cases of Covid-19 requiring hospitalization in intensive care continues to drop, with 869 patients, 2 less than the previous day.

Two people die in fire – Two people, including a child, have been killed in a fire in an apartment in Marseille. The fire broke out in the stairwell of a thirteen-story building on Sunday shortly after 6pm.

The circumstances of the fire are not yet known. An investigation is underway.

Motorcycle drives into tram - A motorcyclist has been slightly injured after driving into a tram in Nice on Sunday. The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon at the intersection between Boulevard Saint-Roch and Avenue Giacobi.

The tram service was temporarily suspended while emergency services intervened.

160th anniversary - 21 cannon blasts have been heard throughout Nice to mark 160th anniversary of Nice becoming part of France. On Sunday morning at 10.30am the cannon was fired, to mark June 14th, 1860, which was when the county of Nice officially joined the Alpes Maritimes region with the French flag replacing the Sardinian flag.

Business

Asian shares are down this morning and oil prices have fallen as concerns over a second wave of coronavirus grow.

A spike in new infections in the Chinese capital Beijing has sent investors scurrying to safe-haven assets while sentiment has also been affected by lacklustre economic data.

Analysts say that any new outbreak of Covid-19 will be treated very cautiously by investors and that the market is putting into perspective that the coronavirus issue has not been resolved yet.

Some experts are expecting a further correction to stocks as markets quantify what lies ahead.

US stock futures have also tumbled this morning after 25,000 new cases of Covid-19 were reported on Saturday.

Oil prices have extended losses with Brent Crude down 2.25 percent at 37 dollars 86 a little earlier this morning with US crude down 3.1 percent at 35 dollars 14.

 

Official data from China shows that industrial production rose by 4.4 percent in May-below analysts estimates of 5 percent.

Retail sales fell more than expected by 2.8 percent in a sign of weak domestic demand.

The Chinese Yuan has extended losses against the dollar  in offshore trade but some analysts are still hopeful of a revival in sentiment.

In a note to investors ,Morgan Stanley said that it assumed a second wave of the coronavirus would be more manageable than the first given earlier policy experience.

According to Reuters ,worldwide coronavirus cases have passed 7.86 million with more than 430,000 deaths.

 

And-Easyjet aircraft will take to the skies for the first time since March the 30th today with the British carrier operating a small number of mainly domestic flights.

Passengers will have to wear face masks on board and there will be no food service. Planes will be deep cleaned at each end of a journey.

Easyjet will fly routes from London to Edinburgh ,Glasgow and Belfast and will also operate a limited number of continental flights to Switzerland ,Italy ,Portugal and France including Nice.

Borders across Europe are reopening but the 14 day quarantine rule for UK arrivals is causing airlines more complications as well as lost revenue.

Easyjet along with British Airways and Ryanair is taking legal action against the UK government’s legislation in a bid to have it overturned.

Sport

Golf-Daniel Berger has won the first USA PGA tournament since the sport resumed after a playoff against Collin Morikawa at the Colonial Club in Texas.

Morikawa missed a three-foot putt to hand Berger victory.

Both players had ended on 15 under par to take the tournament into a playoff.

England’s Justin Rose ended on 14 under with Bubba Watson on 13 under.

 

Football-The English Premier League will resume on Wednesday with two games left over from the previous round in March.

Relegation threatened Aston Villa will host Sheffield United while Manchester City play Arsenal.

A full round of matches all played behind closed doors takes place from Friday through Sunday.

Norwich City who play Southampton on Friday night will be without a key player who hasn’t been named after he tested positive for coronavirus.

 

Cricket-Bajan Roach says that there will be “no friendships” between West Indies players and England’s Jofra Archer during the three match Test series next month.

Archer played three times for West Indies under 19s before opting for England.

Roach said that it was “all about winning and playing cricket hard”.

He said that there would be “no friendships in this series”.

 

Rugby Union-Global scheduling will be discussed at a meeting of World Rugby today.

The schedules of Northern and Southern hemisphere rugby will be brought together as officials attempt to hammer out a calendar to get the sport up and running again following coronavirus lockdowns.

Figures from across the game will attend today’s meeting with hopes that a new spirit of cooperation will help to pave the way for a new ,worldwide rugby schedule.

Weather

Mainly fine in coastal areas-some thunder inland this afternoon and light variable winds.

Top temperatures 24-26 degrees.

Overnight lows of 18 degrees on the coast and 14 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Sunshine and showers with highs of 22-25 degrees.

 

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