French and Riviera News Monday 24th May 2021

News

Number of people hospitalised with covid in France drops below 20,000 for the first time since October - The number of covid hospitalisation in France has dropped below 20,000 for the first time since October 2020. Public Health France reported 19,765 hospitalisation on Saturday, as intensive care patient numbers also dropped to 3,544 – down from more than 6,000 in April. France has been gradually loosening its lockdown since the start of May and hopes to lift all major restrictions by the end of June.

Vaccination stepped up in Bordeaux following cluster of variant - Meanwhile in Bordeaux, some 19,000 doses have been released in order to vaccinate the entire adult population of the neighbourhood of Bacalan after a cluster of around 50 cases of a "worrying" variant, related to the British variant, were reported. A temporary vaccination centre is expected to be set up from Wednesday to assist with the operation. Nearly 23 million people have now received a first injection of the covid vaccine in France, with 9.7 million having both jabs. The French government is targeting 30 million first injections by mid-June.

Regional vaccination figures - Figures published for the region on Sunday May 23rd show that in total 221,438 people have received both doses of the vaccine against covid representing 20% of the population of the Alpes-Maritimes and 426,815 have received at least one dose, accounting for 39% of the population. More women have been fully vaccinated in the Alpes Maritimes with just over 125,000, compared to 95,000 men.

Covid figures for the Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile two deaths from covid have been reported this weekend in the Alpes Maritimes. Since the start of the epidemic, covid has killed 1,955 people in the department (1,507 in the hospital, 448 in nursing homes). The number of people hospitalised stands at 314 with a slight rise in the incidence rate on Sunday to 50 compared to 45 the day before.

Monaco reports no new cases of covid on Sunday - No new cases of covid have been declared in Monaco on Sunday with the total number of residents affected standing at 2,501. Two nonresidents are currently in hospital in the Principality and seven residents are being followed by the Home Monitoring centre.

25 classes closed today in the Var region - And in the Var, at least 25 classes will not open in the department this morning Monday 24th May. Due to the health protocol introduced by France’s National Education Ministry, one case of covid now results in class closure. Here is the full list;

- Lycée Léon-Blum in Draguignan

- René-Cassin elementary school in Figanières

- François-Fabié elementary school in Valletta

- Jean-L'Herminier College in La Seyne

- Henri-Matisse College in Saint-Maximin

- La Florane nursery school in Toulon

- Jean-Aicard nursery school in Toulon

- Jean-Aicard elementary school in Toulon

- Django-Reinhardt College in Toulon

- Paul-Cézanne College in Brignoles

- Maurice-Genevoix College in Toulon

- Montenard College in Besse-sur-Issole

- Petit-Prince nursery school in Cavalaire

- General-Ferrié College in Draguignan

- Cais nursery school in Fréjus (two classes)

- Cais elementary school in Fréjus (two classes)

- Jacques-Yves Cousteau College in La Garde (two classes)

- Jules-Ferry elementary school in Valletta

- Jean-Jaurès elementary school in Luc

- Pierre-de-Coubertin College in Luc

- Gapeau Valley College in Solliès-Pont

- Peiresc College in Toulon

In other news

Cable car fall kills at least 14 people - At least 14 people have died and one child is seriously injured after a cable car plunged to the ground in northern Italy. According to initial news reports, the accident in the region of Piedmont occurred around 300 meters from the summit and was believed to have been caused by a cable snapping at the top of the system.

France warns UK not to play games with trading rules for Northern Ireland - France's European affairs minister Clement Beaune has warned Britain not to play games with special post-Brexit trading rules for Northern Ireland. Speaking in The Hague on Saturday, the minister urged London to be "responsible" over the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol. Beaune said, "We cannot accept that there is political game with such a sensitive issue".

Rise in popularity for both French President and Prime Minister - French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex have seen a 3 and 4% rise in their popularity ratings. According to the recent Ifop poll 40 percent of French people say they are satisfied with the head of state, particularly among young voters, with a rating of 51 percent among 18-24-year-olds. This marks an increase of 8 points compared to April. As for Prime Minister Jean Castex, his popularity now stands at 38 percent, the highest in six months.

Eurovision - There was disappointment for France at the Eurovision this weekend, as French singer Barbara Pravi, came agonisingly close to ending France’s 44 years of hurt since its last Eurovision win with her number "Voila". French President Emmanuel Macron gave solace to the French contestant, tweeting: "Bravo and thank you...for making France shine at Eurovision." Barbara managed second place behind Italy who were crowned the winners.

Rugby - Toulouse beat La Rochelle in a dramatic finish to the Champions Cup final at Twickenham on Saturday to be crowned European club rugby union kings for a record fifth time.

Football - And in football Lille claimed their first Ligue 1 title since 2011.

Business

Crypto currency mining operators are suspending operations in China after Beijing stepped up efforts to crackdown on bitcoin mining and trading.
A Chinese State Council committee announced a crackdown at the end of last week, the first time the council has targeted virtual currency mining.
Crypto currency mining is big business in China and accounts for as much as 70% of the world’s supply.
Crypto miners are using increasingly powerful, specially designed computer equipment to verify virtual coin transactions in a process which produces newly minted cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Investor protection and prevention of money laundering have become a major preoccupation for governments and financial regulators who are considering how to regulate the cryptocurrency industry.
Last week ,the chair of the US Federal reserve Jerome Powell turned up the heat on cryptocurrencies and warned that they pose a risk to financial stability.
Bitcoin has taken a hammering since the news broke and was trading at $35,400 a little earlier this morning.

The UK finance Rishi Sunak is facing growing pressure to support US proposals for a minimum rate of corporation tax.
Labour is expected to trigger a Commons vote today designed to force the government to back the plan put forward by US President Joe Biden.
The plan is being negotiated between more than 130 nations with the hope of securing an agreement this autumn.
Under the proposals, multinational corporations would be prevented from shifting profits across borders to exploit the most attractive low tax locations. A minimum global corporation tax rate would also be set.
The Biden administration initially proposed a rate of 21% but last week said that it should be at