French and Riviera news Monday 23rd March 2020

 

New measures - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has announced five new measures to be introduced in Nice in order to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. 

They include a reduced tram and bus service from Wednesday 25th March. A regular bus service will be maintained to and from the cities hospitals however, the 100 bus route Nice to Monaco will not be in service. 

Due to too many people failing to respect the confinement measures especially using sporting activities as a reason to go out the mayor, has warned that should this continue within the next 48 hours a new order will be issued prohibiting all outdoor sporting activities.  Despite the streets remaining mostly deserted there are still those who refuse to respect the measures in place as Sunday saw more fines issued in the Alpes Maritimes. The Promenade remains closed and everybody is reminded to practice a sport individually and not in pairs, or in a group. 

The Council of State in France refused on Sunday to order the "total containment" urgently requested by certain doctors, but enjoined the government to review within 48 hours certain exemptions, in particular for reasons of health or for physical activity. The highest administrative court, considers "too broad" the authorization of individual sports, such as jogging. 

From Wednesday all public places will be disinfected three times a week with priority being to given to hospitals, nursing homes, pharmacies and shopping centers along with  all urban furniture such as benches.

140,000 masks have been ordered. After distributing 4,500 FFP2 masks to the liberal health professions: doctors, nurses, pharmacists and dentists,  100,000 new surgical masks and 40,000 FFP2 have been ordered to continue providing essential protection to local police, hospital staff and the cities cleaning agents and transport sector.  It is also planning a distribution to equip cashiers in large food stores.

Finally from today,  the Central Kitchen of the city of Nice will supply several associations, including Secours Populaire, MIR and ADAM amongst others, with food. To further strengthen the assistance provided for the homeless, the mayor has proposed that the youth hostel on rue Sacha Guitry as well as the boarding school at Masséna high school, could offer additional places for the most vulnerable.

Coronavirus figures - Latest figures published on Sunday evening have shown that the total number of people tested positive for coronavirus in the PACA region is 1,316, that’s 275 more than the day before. The epidemic has claimed 15 lives in the Provence Alpes Côté d’Azur and 85 people are currently in intensive care.

In Monaco on Sunday evening five new cases of the virus were announced bringing the total to 23 in the Principality.

In France a total of 16,018 cases have been reported so far, with 674 deaths.

Risk zone and curfew - The Alpes Maritimes was declared a risk zone on Friday meaning the virus is freely circulating in the area and it is no longer able to investigate each case. This was followed by a curfew put in place on Saturday from 10pm to 5am in the Alpes Maritimes, with Monaco introducing the same measure shortly afterwards on Sunday. 

Chloroquine treatments for Civid 19 patients - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has announced  on Twitter that chloroquine treatments would be authorized at the CHU in Nice for patients with Covid-19.

This antimalarial drug is presented as the miracle remedy, since the tests of Professor Didier Raoult, at the IHU Mediterranean, in Marseille, who presented the first results of the clinical test carried out on 24 patients affected by the coronavirus.

However, France’s Minister of Health, Olivier Véran explained that he wanted to wait before recommending this well-known treatment.

Meanwhile the mayor of Cannes David Lisnard is demanding clarification from the state on the use of this drug after pointing out that : “When two weeks ago, with some of his fellow mayors, he asked the health authorities about the possibility for hospitals in our region to use chloroquine against Covid 19, they were informed that the protocol was not reliable and was even risky.

Education - France’s Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer has said that the return of students to class on May 4th is the "privileged scenario" but remains "dependent on the evolution of the epidemic" in France, adding that "This is not an announcement because everything will be conditioned by the evolution of the coronavirus and we are applying what the Ministry of Health tells us," 

Since Monday, all schools and universities are closed in France to fight against the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.

Asked whether the school year could be extended and the summer holidays panned, the minister said that "the goal is not to touch the holidays".

Concerning inequalities between children linked to school at home, the minister assured that after the crisis "free support modules for the most disadvantaged children" would be put in place, "at least at the end of the month of 'August".

France’s minister of economy calls for a bonus for employees who go to work despite confinement - France’s Minister of the Economy, Bruno Le Maire, has called for companies to pay a tax-free bonus of 1,000 euros to all employees who go to their workplace, despite confinement against the coronavirus. 

The declaration led to the secretary general of Force Ouvrière Yves Veyrier, saying that he « hoped it wasn’t a bonus in exchange for a health risk » adding  "we are not able to do everything necessary to protect the health and safety's of employees".

Amazon - Meanwhile Amazon will stop taking orders deemed "lower priority" on its French and Italian sites to focus on the products most in demand during this pandemic of coronavirus, announced the American giant on Saturday, March 21.

"We must focus the available capacity on the highest priority items and, as of today, temporarily stop taking orders for certain lower priority products on Amazon.fr and Amazon.it," 

This only applies to new orders: those that have already been placed will be honored.

Worried that you have the coronavirus - Finally , if you think you have the coronavirus a new website has been launched to help French people worried about having been infected with the coronavirus to assess their symptoms and to be advised on the procedure to follow.

The maladiecoronavirus.fr site, referenced by the Ministry of Health, allows all those who think they are infected to take an anonymous and free "test": 24 questions about their symptoms (fever, cough, respiratory discomfort, body aches ...) but also on their medical history, and age.

Thanks to an algorithm developed and updated with the latest available scientific knowledge, in collaboration with medical specialists and the Pasteur Institute, the site then advises you either to simply stay confined to your home, to consult your doctor or even immediately call 15.

"This is not a diagnosis, it is an assessment of the state of health to know where we should be directed", explained to AFP Dr Fabrice Denis, member of the brand new Digital Alliance against Covid-19.

The goal is to reassure, but also to "reduce unnecessary calls to the SAMU, which is saturated," said the cancer specialist, who launched a few years ago an application for personalized monitoring of lung cancer patients.

For regular updates on the coronavirus and other news go to our Facebook page 106.5 Riviera Radio.

 

Business.

 

Analysts and investment managers are expecting another rough week for world stock markets due to coronavirus fears with Wall Street futures tumbling again this morning and US Treasury bond futures rising.

Experts say that despite the historic plunge in share prices over the past few weeks ,its difficult to predict a bottom and there needs to be some stabilization to negative news before the markets turn.

Stock markets across the Asia Pacific region have fallen sharply again this morning and crude oil prices have also slumped as economies around the world come to a virtual standstill.

In the United States ,the Senate has so far failed to pass a motion to advance stimulus legislation worth almost 2 trillion dollars which is aimed at helping the world’s largest economy deal with the impact of the pandemic.

Meanwhile ,countries around the world are announcing new measures to slow the spread of the virus including ordering people to stay at home and closing down bars and restaurants.

US stocks have now fallen by around a third since the middle of last month while even areas of investment seen traditionally as safe havens including bonds have been under stress as hard-hit funds are forced to sell good assets to cover losses elsewhere.

 

The fast food giant McDonald’s has announced that its closing all 1,270 of its restaurants in the UK by the end of today as fears over coronavirus escalate.

Previously ,the firm had closed all of its seated areas but had continued to offer takeaway and drive-through services.

McDonald’s says that its first priority is for the safety of its staff and customers.

The firm employs around 135,000 people in the UK ,the majority of who are on zero hours contracts.

The chain said that anyone employed directly by the company would receive full pay for their scheduled hours until the 5th of April.

 

 

 

And-Airlines and airports in the UK have warned that time is running out for the government to enact promised measures to help the industry.

Easyjet and Ryanair are set to stop flying today and less than 5 percent of normal passenger numbers are expected at major airports.

Further talks are expected between Ministers and industry leaders today as the government wrestles with how to keep critical infrastructure functioning.

 

Sport.

 

Olympics-Pressure is growing on the Japanese government to postpone the Summer Olympic Games.

Canada and Australia have already said that they won’t send teams to Tokyo unless the games are postponed but the official line from the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is that no decision has yet been taken.

Postponement or cancellation of the Games would result in costs of billions of dollars but unless the Coronavirus is contained it seems that there will be no other option.

 

Football-There are suggestions that English Premier League games could be played while people are still confined to their homes.

The chief executive of Southampton Martin Semmens said that matches could be shown live on television behind closed doors every day in what he said would be a sign that the country is coming back to normal.

In an interview with BBC Radio Solent ,Mr Semmens said that the sport had to do what was right and safe for the general public but conceded that there was not widespread agreement on the idea.

 

 

Formula 1-World Champion Lewis Hamilton has reassured fans that he’s in good health and has undergone a period of self-isolation  after meeting earlier this month with the actor Idris Elba who’s contracted the virus.

Hamilton said that he has no symptoms and its been 17 days since he came into contact with Mr Elba and others who’ve contracted the virus including Sophie Trudeau ,the wife of the Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

Golf-Paul Casey has said that he would support the suspension of the Ryder Cup because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The US Masters and the US PGA have already been postponed and a string of tournaments has been cancelled.

Casey said that the Ryder Cup which is due to be staged in September should also now be put off.

 

Weather.

 

Partially cloudy with moderate westerly winds.

Top temperature 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies and occasional showers.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Sunshine and occasional showers with highs of 13-15 degrees.

 

 

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