As France prepares to reopen terraces Covid figures continue to decline – As France prepares to reopen terraces in two days’ time on Wednesday 19th May with the curfew being pushed back to 9pm, the number of Covid patients in intensive care across France dropped for a 12th consecutive day on Saturday, with the number of deaths also continuing to decline.
The French government is to begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions from 19th May with bars and restaurants to reopen for outdoor terrace service, as well as non-essential shops, for the first time since 30th October.
Clean up operation in Marseille ahead of terraces reopening – Meanwhile Marseille has begun its citizen cleanup operation in the fight for a city without waste. "Le Tarpin Propre" began on May 15th and takes place throughout the city, with 93 events taking place and at least 5,000 Marseillais participating. The operation will end on May 19th with the goal of achieving clean terraces ahead of their re-opening.
Vaccination campaign against Covid stepped up in three districts of Nice - The vaccination campaign against Covid will be open bar in three districts of Nice today Monday 17th May, as well as tomorrow Tuesday 18th May and Thursday May 20th. In order to encourage residents in neighourboods where the registration rate for vaccination is abnormally low the city hall has set up vaccination centres in Les Moulins, the Ariane and Nice Nord. All adults can be vaccinated without an appointment on presentation of ID and your carte vitale from 8.30am to 5pm.
France is on target in vaccination campaign - Meanwhile France reached its vaccination goal on Saturday May 15th with 20 million initial doses having been carried out. French President Emmanuel Macron announced the milestone in a tweet that said "20 million" with a green checkmark, a number that represents around 30 percent of the population.
Monaco – No new cases of Covid were declared in the Principality on Sunday May 16th, with the number of residents affected since the start of the health crisis standing at 2,493. Two people are currently in hospital and eleven are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.
The figures released come as from today Monday 17th May, Monaco’s curfew will be pushed back to 10pm and restaurants will be allowed to open until 11pm under further easing of measures which will also include now allowing employees of the Principality to eat out with members of their immediate family for both lunch and dinner, this is in addition to Monegasque nationals, residents, students, and those staying in a hotel in the Principality.
In other news
Demonstration in French capital - Paris police have clashed with protesters defying a ban on marching against Israeli attacks on Gaza. 44 arrests were made at the weekend and one officer was injured. Between 2,500 and 3,500 protesters took part in the demonstrations, according to interior ministry figures.
Mayor of Paris to ban traffic - The mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo has unveiled a plan which would see traffic drastically reduced in the heart of the French capital from next year. The plan would see the ban of most vehicles from the city centre.
France urged to have more children - The French centrist leader François Bayrou has urged people to “have more children”, warning the future demographic of French society was no longer assured following the biggest birth rate drop in 45 years. Bayrou, a former justice minister was appointed in September 2020 as the chief of "le Plan" for the France of tomorrow, a "national pact for demography” that included controlled immigration. Bayrou went on to say that “the damage to the birth curve done by Covid-19 was a problem that needed solving”.
Asian shares have made cautious gains this morning catching the bounce from Wall Street ahead of what were expected to be upbeat readings on the Chinese economy. Chinese industrial output and retail sales are forecast to show healthy annual gains. Exports have remained strong as the developed world reopens while stimulus at home should support retail spending. US data is light this week putting the focus on the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s last policy meeting with investors looking for clues about when officials might start to talk about tapering. Most Fed members remain dovish on policy, arguing that the spike in inflation is transitory. Last week, The University of Michigan’s consumer survey showed the highest expected year-ahead inflation rates as well as the highest long-term inflation rates in the past decade.
The price of Bitcoin has fallen again following a tweet by Elon mask who suggested that Tesla may be considering or may have sold off its holdings in the crypto currency. Mr Musk was responding to a tweet from an account called @cryptowhales which said that “bitcoiners are going to slap themselves next quarter when they find out Tesla dumped the rest of its bitcoin holdings”. Mr Musk replied “indeed” without specifying whether Tesla had sold off its holdings or that he simply agreed the sentiment. On the 12th of May, Musk said that Tesla will no longer accept bitcoin for car purchases citing long brewing environmental concerns for a swift reversal in the company’s position on crypto currency. Bitcoin fell below $45,000 on Sunday following the comments.
UK employers are struggling to hire staff as lockdown lifts amid an exodus of overseas workers caused by the Covid pandemic and Brexit. The UK Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and the recruitment firm Addeco say that employers plan to hire at the fastest rate in 8 years as hospitality and retail reopen and restrictions are relaxed in England and Wales today. Experts say that the sharp decline in numbers of EU workers will fuel the risk of labour shortages. The decline is being led in particular by overseas interest in the lower paid service led sectors. According to research, Maidstone in Kent is the hardest place in the country to hire followed by Manchester, Cambridge and Oxford. Far fewer foreign workers are seeking employment in the UK with overseas interest in British jobs more than halving from before the pandemic.
Football – The climax to the English Premier League season is set for a thrilling finish after Liverpool closed the gap on Chelsea to just one point after a last ditch 2–1 win at West Brom on Sunday. Goalkeeper Alisson scored the winner In the last minute of injury time after coming up to head the ball into the back of the net. Liverpool are in fifth place one point behind Chelsea and three behind Leicester with 2 games to go. Chelsea and Leicester play each other on Tuesday.
In Sunday’s other games, Crystal Palace beat Aston Villa 3–2. Spurs beat Wolves 2–0 and Everton were beaten 1–0 at home by Sheffield United.
The semi-final first leg ties of the Championship play-offs are being played tonight. Bournemouth host Brentford and Barnsley played Swansea City.
Formula One - McLaren’s Daniel Ricciardo says he’s excited about the return of Formula One to Monaco but is worried that the race will feel empty this year. Monaco authorities are allowing some spectators to attend the event which starts on Thursday but there is restriction on access. Attendance has been limited to 7,500 people per day with grandstands at no more than 40% capacity. Ricciardo who lives in Monaco, won the race for Red Bull in 2018 but said the whole aura of the Monaco weekend will not be the same this year.
Cricket – Joffra Archer has been ruled out of England’s two Tests against New Zealand next month after suffering a recurrence of an elbow problem. Archer was unable to bowl for Sussex on Saturday and did not bowl on Sunday either. He’s said to be suffering from pain in his right elbow. The first Test against New Zealand starts at Lord’s on the 2nd of June.
Rugby Union - In the Guinness Pro 14 Rainbow Cup on Sunday Ospreys were 42–26 winners at Dragons.
There are two games in the Gallagher English Premiership tonight. Newcastle play Northampton and Bristol play Gloucester.
Tennis – Rafael Nadal has won his 10th Italian Open with a three-set victory over world number one Novak Djokovic in Rome. Nadal came through 7–5 1–6 6–3 giving him a boost for his defence of the French Open title at Roland Garros.
Andy Murray will not play at the French Open and will focus instead on preparing for the grass court season. Murray has turned down a wildcard for this week’s Geneva Open and is said to be suffering with a slight groin niggle. The 34-year-old is now back in London preparing for the grass court season before Queen’s and Wimbledon.
Boxing – Tyson Fury says his world heavyweight title showdown with Anthony Joshua will take place in Saudi Arabia on the 14th of August. The fight has been billed as one of the biggest in heavyweight boxing for decades and the winner will become undisputed champion. It’s the first time in history that all four belts will be contested in a heavyweight fight. In a tweet last night, Fury said “The eyes of the world will be on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and I can’t wait to smash Anthony Joshua on the biggest stage of all time”. Neither of the promoters, Eddie Hearn or Bob Arum have officially confirmed that the fight will take place.
Mainly fine with moderate to strong westerly winds. Top temperature 23-24 degrees. Overnight lows of 14-15 degrees with clear skies.
Tuesday and Wednesday - Mainly fine but continuing to be windy. Highs of 21-23 degrees.