French and Riviera News Thursday 25th March 2021


Minister of Interior calls for authorities to be “strict” concerning Covid restrictions - France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, has requested that prefects enforce restrictions in the whole of France in the fight against the spread of Covid. The minister has asked authorities to be “strict” in implementing the measures which “do not allow people to gather indoors and any outdoor gathering is limited to six”. The minister wants to avoid outdoor gatherings where in his view there is a risk of not respecting barrier gestures. Prefects have been told to step up controls in parks, and all outdoors spaces.

Situation in schools is worsening - Meanwhile the situation in schools is worsening, as the French government is determined for establishments to remain open. 15,000 cases of Covid have been reported this week amongst students, compared to 9,000 last week. As a solution to the rising number of cases the president of the Ile-de-France, a region particularly badly hit by the third wave, Valérie Pécresse, has suggested that the school holidays be moved forward by two weeks. This would mean that in zone C schools would close on April 2nd instead of April 17th as planned. Despite the situation in schools, a new survey carried out by Elabe has shown that a majority of French are in favour of schools remaining open, especially for nursery and primary schools. According to figures from the Minister of National Education the incidence rate of the epidemic is nearly 500 infections per 100,000 students. Currently faced with the non-closure of schools there are calls for teachers to be vaccinated immediately.

Critical situation in the Ile-de-France - The health situation in and around the French capital is indeed critical with an incidence rate above 700 per 100,000 inhabitants in Seine-Saint-Denis. The number of patients with Covid-19 in intensive care continued to increase on Wednesday March 24th reaching 1,382. The total number of people hospitalized in the region has risen to 6,633, and 52 people have died in the last 24 hours. The director of AP-HP has stressed that the number of hospital admissions in 24 hours has never been so high since the first wave.

Additional lockdowns for other regions of France? - A lockdown may be put in place in three more French departments. Speaking after the Council of Ministers meeting on Wednesday, government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said that "consultations" would take place with a view to extending the lockdown to the Rhone, Aube and Nievre departments. He reiterated that the government is aiming to vaccinate 10 million people by mid-April, 20 million by mid-May and 30 million by mid-June. He said that all those who want a vaccination will be able to be vaccinated "by the end of the summer".

Poll shows that Head of State was wrong not to introduce a lockdown in January - Meanwhile 6 out of 10 French people believe that the Head of State was wrong not to return to lockdown at the end of January. In an Elabe poll published today a majority of French people have express their reservations about the government's decisions in the fight against the health crisis. And concerning the measures taken recently with a return to lockdown in 16 departments for at least a month - 74% of those questioned believe that they are not coherent, 73% that they are not effective, 65% that they are not fair and 65% that they are not easy to understand.

Possible new measures for truck drivers - The UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that tougher measures on truck drivers travelling from France to the UK are to be considered to stop Covid variants being imported. Mr Johnson said there was a balance needed between protecting public health and keeping trade flowing. His comments come amid concerns about the spread of South African, UK and Brazilian variants in France.

Cannes opens vaccination programme for residents 50 and over - From today Thursday 25th March, the City of Cannes has announced the opening of the vaccination programme for Cannes residents aged 50 and over with a new, simple and fast system for making appointments. From now on, all you have to do is complete the pre-registration form available on the city council’s website then note the file number given at the end of the registration and finally call the switchboard of the City of Cannes ( 04 97 06 40 00) communicating the number to fix an appointment. 5,000 slots are available for a first injection of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines until the end of April.

In other news

Toddler falls into private swimming pool - A toddler has been taken to hospital after nearly drowning in a private swimming pool. The incident occurred on Wednesday afte