French and Riviera News Monday 25th January 2021

News 

Head of the scientific council says the decision on the health situation is now purely a political one - The head of the scientific council Jean-Francois Delfraissy has said that further measures must be taken in France against the coronavirus. Delfraissy has suggested that France “looks at what is happening in neighouring countries, such as the UK and Ireland as he says that in the “face of new variants a new lockdown is likely to be the only solution” adding that a “decision now is purely a political one”.

Delfraissy acknowledges that the current figures in France “are not alarming” but warns that “if France does not tighten restrictions if will find itself in a difficult situation by mid-March”. Delfraissy suggests adopting “longer school holidays by a week or by grouping them together” and he does not share the optimism of France’s Health Minister, who aims to have the entire population vaccinated by the end of August, saying that “the reality is that there is a shortage of vaccines in Europe” and he predicts that only “40% of the population will be vaccinated by the end of the summer” concluding that it will “take a long time”.

Covid figures in France - The latest figures in France show that more than 18,000 new cases of Covid were reported on Sunday with a slight increase of the number of people admitted to intensive care, with 69 new admissions on Sunday bringing the total to 2,965.

172 new deaths were declared on Sunday. In total 73,079 people have died in France since the beginning of the pandemic. To date just over a million people in France have received the first shot of the vaccination since the start of the campaign.

Monaco Covid cases - 46 new cases of Covid have been identified in the Principality this weekend bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,357. Fifty-seven people are currently hospitalized and nine people are in intensive care. 146 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Meanwhile the Monaco government has launched a new internet health platform. Monaco Santé allows Monegasques, residents and visitors to discover the Principality's healthcare offer and access information related to health such as health news, a directory of contact details for all Monaco health professionals and establishments together with online appointment booking. More details are available at monacosante.mc.

Eleven cases of the English variant identified in a nursing home in Toulouse - Eleven cases of the English variant of Covid have been confirmed in a nursing home in Toulouse. Eight residents and three staff members tested positive on Sunday. To date in the region 21 cases of the variant have been identified including the 11 cases in the nursing home.

Hunter accident shoots fellow hunter - A hunter has accidently shot another hunter in the leg. The incident happened on Sunday morning during a wild board hunt north of Bergerac. The 26-year-old accidently let off his rifle as he was getting out of his vehicle. The 43-year-old victim suffered serious leg injuries and was taken to hospital in Bordeaux. Following the accident, the president of the Federation of Hunters Michel Amblard said that “this should not happen, adding that regular training takes place to avoid such incidents”.

15-year-old boy severely beaten in Paris neighbourhood - A 15-year-old boy is in a critical condition in hospital after he was severely beaten in a Paris neighbourhood. The incident has triggered a wave of outrage across France and abroad, with sports stars and celebrities expressing their outrage at the attack and support for the victim. Police have launched an investigation into the attempted intentional homicide.

France to tighten laws to better protect children against sexual abusers - President Emmanuel Macron has said France will tighten its laws to better protect children against sexual abusers. In a series of tweets Macron said that France needed to adapt its laws to better protect children from sexual violence. He said he had asked the justice minister to launch consultations that would result in legislative proposals.

Presidential election - With fifteen months before the presidential election in France a recent survey has seen the leader of the National Rally Marine Le Pen gather between 26 to 27% of the votes compared to 23-24% for the outgoing President. The figures were published in the Harris interactive survey commission by Commstrat film and the daily L’Opinion.

Vendée Globe - The mayor of Sables d'Olonne Yannick Moreau, has written to French President Emmanuel Macron asking that a small audience be allowed at the arrival of the Vendée Globe which is scheduled for this week. After their round-the-world tour, competitors are expected to arrive on Wednesday in the port, which will be closed to the public due to Covid-19 health restrictions. The mayor asked that while "It is obviously not a question of bringing in spectators from all over France, allowing a few inhabitants of the port to welcome the skippers could be a possibility”.

Emmanuel Macron speaks to U.S President Joe Biden- French President Emmanuel Macron has spoken with U.S President Joe BidenFollowing the conversation on Sunday a White House statement said that Biden had stressed his commitment to bolstering transatlantic relations, through NATO and the U.S. partnership with the European Union. The two leaders also agreed on the need for close coordination in tackling common challenges such as climate change, COVID-19 and the global economic recovery.

Business

Asian shares have risen this morning as concerns over rising coronavirus cases and delays in vaccine supplies were offset by expectations of a 1.9 trillion dollar US fiscal stimulus package. Global equity markets have reached record highs in recent weeks on bets that vaccines will start to reduce worldwide infection rates and hopes of a stronger economic recovery under US President Biden. However, investors remain wary about soaring valuations amid questions over the efficacy of vaccines in curbing the pandemic and as US lawmakers continue to debate a coronavirus aid package. The spotlight is firmly on Washington this week as the Biden administration attempts to head off Republican concerns that the 1.9 trillion dollar relief package is too expensive. The overriding sentiment is that vaccines will make everyday life more functional again this year resulting in higher GDP growth and more robust corporate earnings.

China has overtaken the United States as the world’s top destination for new foreign investment. Figures released by the United Nations on Sunday show that new investments into America from overseas firms fell by almost half last year, leading to the loss of its number one status. Direct foreign investment into China climbed by 4 percent  putting it at number one globally. The fresh rankings highlight China’s growing influence on the world economic stage. China is predicted to become the world’s largest economic power by 2028 and its economy has been picking up speed in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic while America and other developed nations continue to struggle.

The world’s largest oil and gas firms sharply slowed their search for new resources last year according to new data as lower energy prices as a result of the coronavirus pandemic triggered big spending cuts. Data from the Oslo-based consultancy Rystad Energy shows that acquisitions of new offshore and onshore exploration licenses for the top 5 western energy giants dropped to its lowest level in 5 years. Of the five largest firms, BP showed the biggest fall in new acquisitions last year. The firm’s chief executive Bernard Looney has outlined a strategy to reduce oil output by 40 percent by 2030 and BP has been rapidly scaling back its exploration team in recent months.

Sport

Cricket - It’s day 4 of the second Test between Sri Lanka and England in Galle. England were bowled out in their first inning early this morning for 344 with Joe Root top scoring with a magnificent 186. The home side are batting again in their second innings and had reached 19-1 after six overs, a lead of 56.

Football - There were 5 fourth round FA Cup ties in England on Sunday with Manchester United winning the big game 3-2 against Liverpool. In the other results Chelsea beat Luton 3-1. Leicester were 3-1 winners at Brentford. Fulham lost 3-0 at home to Burnley and Everton beat Sheffield Wednesday 3-0. The final 4th round tie is being played tonight. Wycombe Wanderers host Spurs.

In the semi-final of the Scottish League Cup on Sunday Livingston beat St Mirren 1-0.

And in the English Championship Preston and Reading drew 0-0 and Blackburn were 1-0 winners at Middlesbrough.

Motorsport - Sebastien Ogier has clinched a record 8th victory in the season opening Monte Carlo rally. The Frenchman led by 13 seconds heading into the final day and despite snow and ice affecting the Cote d’Azur hinterland he came home 32.6 seconds ahead of Toyota team-mate Elfyn Evans. Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville finished third.

American Football - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the reigning champions the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55. The Buccaneers beat the Green Bay Packers 31-26 to reach their first Super Bowl in 18 seasons while the Chiefs beat the Buffalo Bills 38-24. Super Bowl 55 will be played at the Buccaneers Raymond James Stadium-the first time that a team has played the NFL Final at their home ground. Only 22,000 fans will be allowed to attend Super Bowl 55 because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Rugby Union - There was one game in the Guinness Pro 14 on Sunday. Ospreys were 26-20 winners at Connacht. 

Weather

Mainly fine with moderate to strong westerly winds. Top temperature 13 degrees. Overnight lows of 5 degrees on the coast and 3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday - Partially cloudy with highs of 10-12 degrees.

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