French and Riviera News Thursday 6th May 2021


Vaccination - One in four French people have now received at least one dose of the Covid vaccine representing 16.7 million French people. In a report on the vaccination campaign by the General Health Directorate, published on Wednesday evening, figures showed that in addition, the number of French people who have received the two doses of the vaccine reached the 7 million mark on Wednesday May 5th.

New cases of Covid infection rate drops below Macron’s threshold for reopening - The national average of new Covid infections in France is now down to 224 cases per 100,000 inhabitants below the threshold of 400 which had been established by the Head of State in order to envisage the lifting of restrictions. While the figure has significantly dropped compared to previous weeks it remains eight times higher than the level at which a public health emergency is normally declared. Meanwhile the number of patients being treated in intensive care units in France stood at more than 5,402 on Wednesday.

Scientific Council publishes report on “Health Pass” - In a report published this week France’s Scientific Council has said that it is in favour of using a “health pass” for large gatherings, in a "temporary and exceptional" manner. The council says that “a health pass ensuring that a person is vaccinated against Covid or has carried out a negative test” can be used to facilitate the "return to normal life", provided that it is "in a temporary and exceptional way".

When announcing the timetable for the gradual lifting of the restriction measures on Thursday April 29th, the President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron considered that it would be "absurd not to use" a health pass system "in the places where crowds gather, such as stadiums, festivals, fairs or exhibitions”.

The Council however considers that having a health pass should not result in non-compliance with barrier gestures or not wearing a mask in confined spaces. Concerning a “vaccination certificate” the Scientific council proposes that this is issued two weeks after the second injection of a vaccine or four weeks after the injection of the single dose vaccine from Johnson & Johnson. For people who have already contracted the disease, it would be two weeks after the injection of the single dose.

France awards citizenship to frontline workers - France has awarded speedier citizenship deals to more than 1,000 foreign-born frontline workers including health workers, security guards, cashiers and rubbish collectors, to reward them for their services to the nation during the coronavirus pandemic. France’s interior minister in charge of citizenship Marlène Schiappa said that 2,009 people, including 665 children, had been fast-tracked for French nationality for showing their attachment to France during the health crisis that has killed more than 105,000 people.

In other news

Policeman shot dead in Avignon - A policeman has been shot dead in Avignon in the Vaucluse. The incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon shortly after 6pm during an anti-drug operation, as police carried out identity checks on several individuals. The police had been sent to the city centre after being alerted by local residents. The officer was killed after several shots were fired by an individual who later fled the scene on a scooter and is still at large with several hundred police officers being mobilized on Wednesday evening. The victim, a 36-year-old father, died at the scene as emergency services intervened. Police have opened an investigation and are studying CCTV footage.

French President declares “Napoleon Bonaparte is part of us” - French President Emmanuel Macron has declared Napoleon Bonaparte as an existential part of France after laying a wreath at his tomb in Paris on Wednesday to mark the 200th anniversary of the former emperor's death amid divisive debate in France about his legacy. Accompanied by his wife, Brigitte, Macron travelled to Les Invalides where guests observed a minute's silence followed by the French national anthem. In his speech following the ceremony Macron declared "Napoleon Bonaparte is a part of us”.

Love letters published - More than 160 love letters and telegrams of French author, aviator, poet and war hero Antoine de Saint-Exupery are finally being published in France today after a bitter conflict between his heirs. The publication of the love letters represents a reconciliation between two rival estates. In a press release last month via French publisher Gallimard, the author's descendants spoke of a "fruitless 18-year legal war" before they agreed to collaborate on the project. Saint-Exupéry's most successful work, "The Little Prince" is said to have sold more than 200 million copies in 450 different translations since it was first published in 1943.