French and Riviera News Monday 15th March 2021


Covid - France has more than 4,100 Covid patients hospitalized in intensive care, with 821 new hospitalizations in 24 hours across the country, there are now 24,989 Covid-19 patients in hospitals in France. The number of Covid-19 patients in intensive care increased further on Sunday March 14th, while the pressure on hospitals remains high. The threshold of 4,000 people in intensive care was crossed on Friday 12th March, for the first time since the end of November. More than a quarter of patients hospitalized in intensive care (1,134) are in the Ile-de-France region, where health authorities have started to organize transfers of patients to other regions.

140 new deaths were also recorded in hospitals in 24 hours, bringing the total death toll to 90,455 since the start of the pandemic. Public Health France reports 26,343 new Covid contaminations in 24 hours, compared to 29,759 in its report on Saturday. The French government and President Emmanuel Macron are to meet with different sectors of industry this afternoon to define “a way out of the health crisis” debating “several scenarios for lifting health restrictions” and “the gradual end of state aid”.

Vaccination - France’s vaccination campaign is set to see those over 50 with underlying health conditions and over 75s able to be vaccinated in French pharmacies this week as well as the possible introduction from Thursday of home testing kits for Covid once authorization is given by the health authorities. As of Saturday March 13th, more than 5 million people have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Covid Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile although the spread of Covid in the Alpes Maritimes continues to slow down, hospitals are still under pressure. Seven additional deaths from Covid have been declared on Sunday 14th March bringing the total number of deaths from Covid in the region to 1,622. The incidence rate has continued to drop since a reported peak in February when 1,000 cases were being reported daily compared to 650 new daily cases on March 10th for the Alpes Maritimes. Four out of five beds are currently occupied in intensive care units in the region and on average nearly 40 people are being admitted to hospital on a daily basis, a situation which has not changed for several weeks.

Monaco - In Monaco one new case of Covid was identified on Sunday bringing the total number of residents affected to 2,107. 38 people are currently in hospital and 81 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

In other news 

Toddler drowns in park in Hyères - A one-and-a-half-year-old girl has drowned at the Olbius Riquier park in Hyères. The accident happened on Sunday afternoon while the child was out walking with her family. The exact circumstances remain unknown. Police have opened an investigation.

Fatal road accident - A 50-year-old man has been killed in a road accident in Le Castellet. The accident occurred at 6pm on Sunday on the route des Hauts du Camp, near the Domaine de la Bergerie and the Paul-Ricard circuit. The vehicle had hit a tree. The cause of the accident remains to be determined. Traffic was disrupted in both directions while emergency services intervened.

Drug network dismantled in Marseille - 17 people have been placed in police custody in Marseille after the dismantling of a drug trafficking network. During the investigation police seized 465 kilos of cannabis, 1.3 kilos of cocaine, 308,000 euros in cash, luxury clothing and three firearms. Certain districts of the second city of France are plagued by drug trafficking. According to the latest police figures, Marseille has 156 “dealing outlets” some of which welcome up to 2,000 customers per day, for a daily turnover of up to 75,000 euros.

Three vessels run aground in Villefranche - Three boats have run aground in the bay of Villefranche-sur-Mer. Following a day of strong winds and rough seas on Sunday the vessels were found washed up on against the rocks of the Marinières beach. The mayor Christophe Trojani has said that “the boats were illegally anchored in the bay” adding that “illegal anchoring in Villefranche is a real problem for the authorities and that it’s time for the situation to change and be regulated”.


Asian markets have inched higher this morning with US Treasuries hovering near a 13 month peak as investors bet that US economic growth will accelerate after President Biden signed the 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus bill into law last week. Bullish sentiment on the rollout of vaccines has been supporting risk appetite despite concerns over key central bank policy meetings later in the week. The United States is estimated to be vaccinating 3 million Americans a day with President Biden saying that all adults will be able to get a shot by the 1st May. Analysts say that cash transfers to US households have already exceeded the income lost in the recession and that as reopening gathers pace, the labour market is poised for a sharp rebound. Some investors are speculating that some of the 1,400 dollar direct payments made to households could find its way to stock markets as was the case with similar cash payments made for coronavirus relief last year.

China’s economy is continuing to show signs of a recovery with key economic data surging in the first two months of the year. China’s industrial output grew by 35.1 percent in January and February compared to the same period last year. The strong numbers are distorted as they come in comparison to 2020 when most of China’s factories were in pandemic lockdown but they still beat analysts’ expectations. Industrial output was up by 16.9 percent compared with the first two months of 2019 and a rebound in foreign demand has helped to push export growth higher. The Chinese government has set an annual growth target for 2021 of 6 percent but analysts expect it to be more like 8 percent. China was the only major economy last year to register positive growth with an expansion of 2.3 percent.

Volkswagen is planning to cut around 4,000 jobs at its plants in Germany by offering early retirement to older employees as the firm ramps up production of electric vehicles. The firm says that its agreed a plan with the German Works Council to introduce partial retirement for workers born in 1964 with early retirement for workers born between 1956 and 1960. The plan is to be implemented at the six German plants of the main VW brand which currently employ 120,000 workers. The firm has declined to say how much the programme will cost but estimates suggest that it could amount to some 500 million euros. A hiring freeze is also to be implemented until the end of 2021.


Football - There were 4 games in the English Premier League on Sunday. Brighton got a boost to their survival chances with a 2-1 win at Southampton while Leicester thrashed bottom of the pile Sheffield United 5-0. Arsenal beat Spurs 2-1 in the north London derby and Manchester United beat West Ham 1-0. There’s one game tonight. Wolves play Liverpool.

There was one game in the English Championship on Sunday. The leaders Norwich were 2-1 winners at Sheffield Wednesday.

Rugby Union - Ireland narrowly beat Scotland 27-24 in Sunday’s 6 Nations game at Murrayfield with Jonny Sexton kicking the winning penalty 3 minutes from time. The match rounded off a thrilling weekend in the competition with England narrowly beating France 23-20 at Twickenham on Saturday to end their Grand Slam Chances. Wales can still claim the big prize thanks to a 48-7 win over Italy in Rome on Saturday. France host Wales next weekend while Scotland play Italy and Ireland host England in Dublin.

Cricket - India have beaten England by 7 wickets in the second T20 in Ahmedabad to level the series. India won the toss and elected to field and they restricted England to 164-6 from their 20 overs. India got to the total in 17.5 overs with Virat Kohli hitting 73 not out as they reached 166-3. The third T20 out of 5 is being played tomorrow.

Golf - Justin Thomas of the United States has edged out Lee Westwood to win the Players Championship at Sawgrass, Florida. Thomas carded a final round of 68 to finish on 14 under par, one shot clear of Westwood who had led by 2 heading into the final round. Bryson DeChambeau who had been Westwood’s main threat ended in third on 12 under.

Formula 1 - Tributes have been paid to the legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker who died over the weekend aged 97. Walker commentated on his first Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1949 and was made the BBC’s lead commentator in 1978. He later moved to ITV before retiring in 2001 but was a regular and extremely popular figure around the circuit for many years after. The 1996 Formula 1 world champion Damon Hill said that Murray had been with him “his whole life” and that he never thought that the day would come but sadly it has. Martin Brundle said that he had been “a wonderful man” while Sir Jackie Stewart said that “he was a very special man in every respect”.

Murray Walker was generous to give Riviera Radio a great deal of his time at the Monaco Grand Prix over the years with quips, comments and interviews. A selection of these can be found on the podcast of this morning’s Full English Breakfast Show available on our website today at


Clear skies with moderate to strong north westerly winds. Top temperature 18 degrees. Overnight lows of 10-11 degrees with clear skies and remaining windy.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Mainly fine with the wind finally dying away. Highs of 14-16 degrees.

And Finally 

Sacrilege! A recent American study has revealed that cheese is as addictive as tobacco, alcohol and even drugs. The study claims that cheese is a real addict. To understand how the American researchers came to this astonishing conclusion, they analyzed the eating behaviors of 500 students. And unsurprisingly, pizza is the winner of the most addicting dishes. And what's on the pizza? Cheese! The study shows that certain foods are addictive because of the way they are processed. The more processed and fatty the food, the more it is associated with addictive eating behaviours.

Meanwhile researchers from (INRA) the University Hospital of Besançon have observed a significant reduction in the risk of asthma and allergies in children who have consumed cheese from an early age. It has also recently been shown to be good for memory. And some experts recommend eating it for breakfast.

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