French and Riviera News Monday July 19th 2021

New travel rules - Fresh travel rules for passengers moving between France and the U.K. have come into force with people entering Britain required to isolate for 10 days even if they have received a double vaccination against COVID-19.

The British government took the decision on Friday after saying that it was concerned about “growing cases” of the Beta strain of the virus in France.

Health authorities in France are more concerned about the fast spreading delta variant and official figures suggest that the beta variant , first identified in South Africa and said to be resistant to vaccines accounts for only 3 to 4 percw  of new cases in the country.

People travelling to the U.K from France must take a pre-departure test and fill in the passenger locator form.

Proof of double vaccination must also be provided for those who have had both jabs , either through the NHS app or on a printed letter. Under 18s will also have to isolate.

Under U.K government rules , anyone arriving in the country and instructed to isolate will be able to leave quarantine after 5 days by using the ‘test and release, system.

For people entering France from the U.K , a negative PCR test of no more than 24 hours old must be provided unless proof of double vaccination can be shown.

Unvaccinated travellers to France must provide a compelling reason before being allowed in and must produce a negative PCR no more than 24 hours old.They must also quarantine on arrival for 7 days.

 

Chaos- The new travel rules have thrown into chaos the travel plans of thousands of people who’d planned to visit either France or the U.K.

Many who were already on holiday or visiting family or friends in France have been scrambling to return home over the weekend before the new rules came into force while airlines , ferry firms , Eurostar and hotels have reported mass cancellation from British customers who no longer want to risk coming to France if they have to quarantine on return.

The development is another body blow to the travel and leisure industries which have taken a battering since the start of the pandemic.

 

Masks- The wearing of masks in most outdoor places has become mandatory again in parts of eastern and South Western France as the delta variant continues to spread.

Bars and restaurants in the Pyrénées Orientales will have to close at 11pm until at least the 2nd of August and mask wearing will be required everywhere except on beaches and large open air spaces such as parks.

Similar rules have been introduced in the Roussillon and Grand Est regions.

 

Macron applauded- The Mayor of Nice , Christian Estrosi has praised the decision by President Macron to introduce the health pass from the 21st of July.

The first phase of the new measures comes into force from Wednesday with people wishing to visit a cinema , theatre or museum required to show proof of double vaccination or a negative PCR before being admitted with bars , restaurants and other commerces following on the 1st of August.

Anyone flouting the regulations could be fined up to 10,000 euros and non compliant businesses risk a fine of up to 45,000 euros.

Mr Estrosi says that President Macron’s decision shows “courage and leadership” adding that the new measures will help to “clearly define the way forward for jobs and the economy”.

 

Shopping centres-Only large shopping centres with a surface area of more than 20,000 square meters will be affected by the new health pass regulations.

The Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire made the announcement in an interview with the Journal du Dimanche newspaper on Sunday.

He said that controls would be carried out at entrances to shopping malls and not at individual shops inside.

The development comes following a week of fraught negotiations with retailers who are concerned about the impact the new measures will have on businesses.

 

Anti-Vax - Thousands of people opposed to COVID-19 vaccination and the introduction of the health pass have demonstrated around the country over the weekend.People opposed to vaccination say that France has turned into a “dictatorship” and have called on President Macron to resign.Locally there were sizeable protests in Toulon , Nice and Antibes where demonstrators once again occupied the Carrefour roundabout at the motorway causing widespread traffic disruption.

 

Fire- Firefighters have been battling to control a large fire that broke out at St Andre de la Roche in the hills behind Nice on Sunday afternoon.

A large plume of smoke from the fire was visible from the coast as firefighters aided by water bombing helicopters fought the blaze which broke out at the Emmaus charity warehouse complex on the  chemin des Arnaud.

More than 100 firefighters have attended the scene as the blaze spread to neiigbouring woodland and threatened some houses.

The charity says that it’s entire stock of furniture has been destroyed.

 

Flooding- Several hundred people are still without power today after a river burst its banks at Louhans Chateaurenaud in the Saone and Loire department on Saturday.

Authorities asked residents to turn off electricity and gas to prevent electrocution and explosions but there has been no evacuation order.

Local gymnasiums have been opened to provide shelter to those who have been the worst affected.

Floodwaters entered many basements and ground floor rooms of property in the town and were 40 centimetres deep in some places.

 

All over now- The Cannes film festival is done and dusted for another year following the closing ceremony on Saturday night.

The Palme d’Or went to the French director Julia Ducornau for her violent gonzo movie “Titane” which raised a few eyebrows but was in line with the Festival’s sometimes shock surprises.

The film , which stars Agathe Rouselle and Vincent Lindon beat off competition from a number of better fancied movies.

It’s only the second time that a female director has been awarded the Palme d’Or since Jane Campion won with “The Piano” in 1993.

The Grand Prix du Jury was shared by the Finnish movie “Compartment No 6” and Iranian director Asghar Farhadi for his film “Ahed’s Knee” while best actor went to Caleb Landry Jones for “Nitram” and best actress was awarded to Renate Reinsve for “The Worst Person in the World”.

 

Business.

 

Global markets remain choppy as the spread of the delta variant continues to give investors cause for concern.

The reintroduction of travel and other restrictions in Europe and parts of Asia is affecting markets to the biggest extent since the summer of last year while inflation concerns are also giving investors the jitters.

While some parts of the world are reinforcing Covid-19 restrictions, the U.K is alone in “opening up” from today with mask wearing no longer a legal requirement in shops and the end of social distancing.

The move has been described as “reckless” by many health experts who say it risks increasing case numbers and deaths and also provides a fertile feeding ground for the development of new , more contagious variants.

 

Opec + Ministers have been meeting to discuss an oil supply boost to address soaring prices as the global economy recovers from the coronavirus pandemic.

The virtual meeting on Sunday included Ministers from Saudi Arabia , The UAE and Russia who have been at loggerheads over a new output policy.

Several attempts to resolve differences have already been made without success.

Last year ,Opec + agreed record output cuts to cope with the pandemic-induced slump in prices but has gradually been relaxing them.

Reports say that a deal to start boosting supply by 2 million barrels a day from August has been agreed which should start to have an impact on the price at the pumps.

 

And -Reports say that President Biden will reappoint Fed chair Jerome Powell for a second four-year term starting in February next year.

Mr Powell succeeded Janet Yellen in 2018 and has had to steer the central bank through the worst economic crisis since World War 2.

The White House will decide before Christmas who should run the Fed for the next four years and Mr Powell is said to be the overwhelming favorite to continue in the role.

A poll by Reuters over the weekend found that 90 percent of leading economists think that President Biden will maintain the status quo and that any change at the top of the Fed could upset the markets as the US economy battles high inflation and while unemployment continues to hamper the overall recovery.

 

Sport.

 

Golf -Colin Morikawa has won the Open at Royal St George’s.

The American carded a final round of 66   to finish on 15   under par , holding off the challenge of Jordan Spieth and Jon Rahm.

It was Morikawa’s debut at the Open and he wrestled the lead with three birdies on the front 9 to become the first open debutant to win since Ben Curtis in 2003.

 

Formula 1- Sunday’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone was marked by a huge crash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton on the opening lap.

Hamilton, who started in second place attempted to go up the inside of the Championship leader at Copse and touched his rear right tyre causing Verstappen to spin off into the tyre wall at high speed.The race was red flagged while the mangled Red Bull was cleared from the circuit and Charles Leclerc took the opportunity to take the lead.

Hamilton was handed a 10 second time penalty for the incident which was viewed as lenient by Red Bull while Mercedes thought it was a racing incident .

Verstappen was taken to hospital for a checkup but has now been released. He says that Hamilton showed “disrespect and behaved in an “unsportsmanlike way”.

Hamilton served his penalty and then went on the charge as he hunted Leclerc down in the closing laps and he passed on lap 50 in one of the most thrilling ends to a British Grand Prix in years.

Leclerc held on for second with Valtteri Bottas in third.

The 7 time world champion narrows the gap on Championship leader to 7 points.

Next stop Hungary on the 1st of August.

 

Cycling- Tadej Pogacar has won his second consecutive Tour de France title as the riders completed the race on the Champs Elysee on Sunday.

The Slovenian finished safely in the peloton as the champagne flowed in the French capital.

Pogacar was more than 5 minutes ahead of his nearest rival and had looked unbeatable over the past three weeks.

Wout van Aert won the final stage but Mark Cavendish failed to beat the all time record for tour stage wins as he was squeezed out near the line.

 

Cricket -England have beaten Pakistan by 45 runs in the second T20 international at Headingly.

England batted first and made 200 all out from 19.5 overs.

In reply Pakistan could only manage 155-9 from their 20 overs.

The series is tied at 1-1 with one to play.

 

Weather.

Mainly fine in coastal areas ,some thunder inland and light ,variable winds.

Top temperatures 28-31 degrees on the coast and 32-33 degrees inland.

Overnight lows of 22-25 degrees with clear skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Clear skies with highs of 28-32 degrees.

 

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