French and Riviera News Monday 20th December 2021

News

Covid figures on the rise in the Alpes Maritimes - According to figures published on Sunday 19th December, by Public Health France the covid incidence rate stands at 883 in the Alpes-Maritimes which is a new record for the region. For four consecutive days the rate is at its highest in the Alpes Maritimes and is well above the national average which stands at 530.

The Alpes-Maritimes is among five departments the most affected by the 5th wave of covid in France behind the Drôme (1,118), the Ardèche (975), the Vaucluse (897) and the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence (892).

According to data compiled by CovidTracker, 4.1% of positive tests for covid in the Alpes Maritimes are suspected of being the Omicron variant. The number of hospital admissions is on the rise with 329 patients currently in hospital and 68 in intensive care, a number that had not been so high since July.

Meanwhile covid figures are also reaching record highs in the Var region, with an incidence rate of 835 reported on Sunday. The number of hospitalisations stands at 320 and 45 patients are in intensive care. The regional health agency has announced at least five hospital transfers of critical care patients from the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region to other regions in France.

Latest figures nationally in France have shown that there are nearly 3,000 patients in intensive care units across the country and the average daily number of covid cases is just above 50,000.

Speaking to French media this morning the spokesperson for the National Union of Nurses in France has warned of a critical situation amongst care workers saying that "there are 60,000 nursing vacancies in hospitals in France today and of those that remain, 10% are on sick leave due to burnout or depression". Adding that during the first wave "there were six covid patients per nurse and in the last wave eight".

With the increase in cases French Prime Minister Jean Castex had on Friday December 17th, announced new restrictive measures announcing that the health pass would become a "vaccine pass" at the beginning of 2022, which can only be activated with a complete vaccination schedule and no longer a simple negative test for covid. In addition, cities across France are to cancel New Year celebrations and firework displays with a ban on the consumption of alcohol in the street. The prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes has already banned fireworks until January 2nd.

97-year-old resident dies from covid in the Principality - The Monaco government has expressed it condolences to relatives of a 97-year-old resident who died from covid on Sunday December 19th. Since the beginning of the pandemic 37 residents have died and 4,406 people have been affected by covid. Sixty-seven new cases were identified over the weekend. Eighteen people are currently in hospital and 260 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Windsurfer dies in the Var - A windsurfer has died in the Var. The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon at Cabasson beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas. Rescue services discovered the body of the 61-year-old woman who was practicing the sport at the time. An investigation has since been opened to determine the exact circumstances.

Mountain rescue operation - Two mountaineers have been rescued after getting into difficulty in the heights of the Vésubie on Saturday evening. Mountain rescue services had to intervene at an altitude of 2,600 metres after the 38-year-old man and 40-year-old woman were stranded on a rocky ridge.

Arrests made in Nice after bins are set alight - Several arrests have been made in Nice after firefighters intervened in the Ariane district of the city, after bins were set on fire. Four suspects were arrested and questioned by police on Saturday.

Police prevent party in La Turbie - Police have intervened to prevent an open-air party being held at the Tête de Chien in La Turbie at the weekend. Alerted by posts on social media announcing the festive gathering police intervened as party goers were left rather disappointed but calmy agreed to leave the site.

British architect Richard Rogers dies - British architect Richard Rogers, known for designing some of the world's most famous buildings including Paris's Pompidou Centre, has died aged 88. Rogers changed the London skyline with distinctive creations such as the Millennium Dome and the "Cheesegrater".  The Italian-born architect won a series of awards for his designs.

Business

According to the Banque de France the French economy should have erased the scars of the pandemic by 2024 and returned to its pre-crisis cruising pace. On Sunday the institution published its projections for 2024, in which it lowers very slightly (by 0.1 point) its growth forecast for 2022, now anticipating an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of 3.6%, after 6.7% in 2021.

The French government is to debate the issue of the mandatory health pass in companies from January. France's health minister has said that "while you can't stop people from going to work if they're not vaccinated you can require them to get tested if they're not vaccinated" calling on MPs to think about "possible reinforcements" and "the implementation of a vaccine pass".

France's Minister of Ecological Transition has ruled out any risk of electricity shortages despite the shutdown of several nuclear reactors in France. Speaking to French media on Sunday Barbara Pompili said, "there will be no big general blackout this winter". The French government had asked the EDF to take measures to improve the security of electricity supplies following the announcement of the shutdowns.

And - in the UK shoppers have chosen to avoid High Streets and city centres on the crucial weekend just before Christmas, amid fears over the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

The number of people on High Streets fell by 5.9% on Sunday but rose 4.8% at retail parks week-on-week. The figures showed that 25.2% fewer people visited UK retail destinations on Sunday, compared to 22 December 2019.

Sport

Sports Personality of the Year - Teenage US Open champion Emma Raducanu has been voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year 2021. In a public vote, diver Tom Daley placed second and swimmer Adam Peaty was third. Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, boxer Tyson Fury, and Great Britain's most successful Paralympian Sarah Storey were also shortlisted for the main award.

Football – Manchester City beat Newcastle 4-0 and Chelsea draw 0-0 against Wolverhampton. Liverpool's boss Jurgen Klopp was furious with officials after their match against Spurs ended in a 2-2 draw and Robertson was sent off.

Golf - Tiger Woods narrowly missed out on victory on his return to competitive golf after coming second at the PNC Championship tournament in Florida. Woods was playing alongside his 12-year-old son Charlie at the family event, his first event since suffering career-threatening injuries in a car crash 10 months ago.

Formula One – The new FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem has refused to rule out punishing Lewis Hamilton for boycotting its awards ceremony on Thursday. Hamilton and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff did not attend in protest at the handling of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last Sunday. Formula 1 rules dictate that the top three drivers in the championship must attend.

Weather

Sunny with a moderate breeze. High of 13 degrees in Nice, Cannes, Antibes and Saint Tropez. This evening going down to 7 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Tuesday and Wednesday sunny intervals. Highs of 13-14 degrees.

 

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