Health situation. - Speaking on Wednesday August 12th, at the opening of the Health Defense Council, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the “current health situation was more delicate due to the Delta variant”. The Head of State judged the health situation in France to be "fragile", particularly in Corsica, Occitania and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region. He also referred to the "dramatic" situation of the overseas departments.
Epidemic still progressing – While the epidemic is still progressing, it is at a slower pace than in previous weeks. According to the latest data from Public Health France reported by the Covid Tracker site, 22,500 daily cases were on average detected each day between August 1st and 7th, an increase of 3.5% in the space of a week. The epidemic is therefore still progressing nationally, but it is progressing much slower than in previous weeks. Proof of this is the incidence rate which was 232 cases per 100,000 inhabitants last week. It was 224 the previous week and 189 the week before, a sign that the virus and in particular the Delta variant is still circulating, but at a slower pace than in July.
Is this a good sign? Anne Sénéquier, co-director of the global health observatory at the IRIS institute "would like to be able to say yes” but claims that “it’s too early to say” adding that “this is certainly not the beginning of the end, or even the end of the beginning of this epidemic wave”.
However, one point that should be noted is that the incidence rate is declining among 10 to 19-year olds and 20-29-year olds while it continues to increase among those over 40, a sign of the transmission from younger to older generations.
Hospitalisations - Meanwhile as hospitalizations are on the rise the situation differs from one region to another. While hospitals in Martinique and Guadeloupe are already saturated, the “white plan” has been launched in four regions in the south of the country, namely Corsica, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, Occitanie and now the New Aquitaine. Patient transfers have already taken place between metropolitan regions, which shows that the country's hospitals do not all experience the fourth wave with the same intensity.
However, the data collected by Covid Tracker shows that new hospitalizations, intensive care admissions and deaths recorded in hospital are certainly on the rise but are less dramatic than the number of new cases reported daily. In fact, in proportion to the number of daily contaminations, the number of serious cases should in theory be higher.
Proof of this is in the Alpes-Maritimes where the record incidence rate recorded a few days ago and the number of hospital deaths are not at all of the same magnitude as in previous waves.
Guadeloupe tightens lockdown - The prefect of Guadeloupe has announced a tightening of the lockdown which is already in place on the island. During a press conference on Wednesday evening, the senior official justified the new measures because of the "catastrophic" epidemic. The strengthening of lockdown will come into effect from tomorrow Friday 13th August. The curfew is shifted to 7pm instead of 8pm and will last until 5am and travel will be prohibited except for compelling reasons.
Vaccination booster campaign - A vaccination booster campaign is to be launched in mid-September in France as announced by Emmanuel Macron following the Health Defense Council meeting on Wednesday. More details on the campaign will be given following further meetings and the list of those concerned will be established by the High Authority of health. Macron also confirmed a vaccination system in schools which will apply to colleges and high schools however, no further details were given.
The end of free tests confirmed - As announced by Emmanuel Macron during his speech on July 12th, the government on Wednesday declared the end of free Covid-19 screening tests, when carried out without a prescription. People without a prescription will have to pay for test from mid-October.
Reinforced measures in several departments - And the departments in which the incidence rate exceeds 200 cases per 100,000 inhabitants will now be subject to reinforced measures. The prefects must set up the sanitary pass in large shopping centers, that is to say those with a surface area of more than 20,000 m². Wearing a mask has also been reinstated indoors in places open to the public, even if the sanitary pass is already required.
As of August 11th, the departments concerned are Guadeloupe, Martinique, Bouches-du-Rhône, Haute-Corse, Corse-du-Sud, Alpes-Maritimes, Hérault, Var, Pyrénées-Orientales, Vaucluse, Gard, Aude, Reunion, Haute-Garonne, Tarn, Tarn-et-Garonne, Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Rhône, Gironde, Ariège, Pyrénées- Atlantiques, Hautes-Pyrénées, Guyana, Hautes-Alpes, Haute-Savoie, Savoie, Drôme, Landes, Lozère, Territoire de Belfort, Seine-Saint-Denis, Charente-Maritime, Lot, Aveyron, Lot-et-Garonne and Val-de-Marne.
In other news
White march in Marseille - Some 300 people have marched in Marseille following the death of a 19-year-old man shot dead by a police officer during a police check on August 4th. The “white” march took pace on Wednesday evening with demands to know the truth about the circumstances behind the shooting. A minute’s silence was held in the Old Port before the gathering headed calmly to the police headquarters. Two judicial inquiries have been opened into the incident.
Fire in Lingostière - The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi has claimed that the fire in Lingostière on Wednesday afternoon was caused due to a nearby squat. Several dozen firefighters intervened and successfully managed to control the blaze before it reached the nearby shopping centre. In a press release Estrosi pointed the finger to a “squat” on private land from which the fire allegedly started.
Heatwave - Meteo France has warned that Provence and the Rhône valley will experience highs of up to 40 degrees. Temperatures are expected to easily exceed 30 degrees over half of the south and east of the country with the sunny skies and high temperatures expected to last at least until Sunday.
Today is expected to be the hottest day of the week, with temperatures peaking across the whole of France. Several departments in the South-East have already been put on a heatwave alert, including the Var and the Alpes Maritimes.
Busy weekend on the roads - Bison Futé is predicting another busy weekend on the roads with Saturday August 14th, being classed as red for those holidaymakers returning. According to the bulletin from Bison Futé the crossover of those returning on Saturday will see complications on the roads and heavy traffic. On a national level Friday and Sunday are classified orange with Friday expected to be particularly busy in our region.
The hacker behind one of the largest ever cryptocurrency heists has returned almost half of the $600m (£433m) stolen assets. On Wednesday August 11th following the robbery blockchain platform Poly Network wrote a letter on Twitter, asking the individual to get in touch "to work out a solution".
The website said the amount of money hacked was the "biggest" incident so far in the decentralised finance industry.
But on Wednesday evening, Poly Network said it had received $260m.
In the US Google employees who opt to work from home permanently may get a pay cut. The technology giant has developed a pay calculator that lets employees see the effects of working remotely or moving offices. Some remote employees, especially those with a long commute, could have their pay cut without changing address. Google has no plans at this time to implement the policy in the UK.
A law firm representing travellers is challenging the UK's quarantine hotel policy and seeking a judicial review.
Currently, passengers must spend 11 nights in quarantine hotels on returning from red list countries, despite being fully vaccinated and testing negative for Covid. London-based firm PGMBM says this is an "unlawful deprivation of liberty".
On Thursday, the cost of staying in a quarantine hotel jumped from £1,750 to £2,285. The firm has begun legal proceedings.
Football - Chelsea have beaten Villarreal 6-5 in a penalty shootout to lift the Uefa Super Cup for a second time. Meanwhile Lionel Messi said he dreams of winning the Champions League once more after joining Paris St-Germain, adding: "I think we have the team to do it here."
Tennis - British number one Johanna Konta has reached the Canadian Open third round. Konta fought back from a set down to defeat third seed Elina Svitolina. Svitolina looked in control when she took first set in just 38 minutes. However, Konta showed remarkable resilience, winning eight out of nine games to take the second set and go a double-break up in the decider on her way to a 3-6 6-3 6-2 win.
Cricket - Bowler Stuart Broad will miss the remainder of England's Test series against India due to injury. He is England's second-highest Test wicket-taker and could have played his 150th Test at Lord's.
Meteo France has issued an orange weather alert with high temperatures forecast for the region. Clear skies this morning with some cloudy patches by this afternoon. Highs of 31 degrees in Nice and 34 degrees in Marseille. Highs of 36 degrees inland with thundery showers expected by the end of the day.
This evening going down to 22 degrees along the coast and 19 degrees inland with clear skies.
The outlook for Friday and the start of the weekend – high temperatures are expected to continue into the weekend with clear skies and a gentle breeze.
According to NASA asteroid Bennu has only a slim chance of hitting Earth by 2300. Discovered in 1999 Bennu measures 500 meters in diameter and is one of the two known asteroids in our solar system posing the most threat to Earth.
On Wednesday August 11th NASA said that asteroid Bennu will pass very close to Earth in 2135, just half the distance from our planet to the Moon. The US Space Agency took the opportunity to reveal new data according to which the chances of a subsequent impact, by 2300, remain slim.
The scientists concluded that by 2300, the chance of a collision with Earth is only 0.057%.
Why are we not 100% sure? In September 2135, Bennu will pass very close to Earth. This will give it the possibility of crossing what is called a "gravitational keyhole” which will show its trajectory of a future collision.