“Lifting of restrictions will not depend on numbers” says Macron - French President Emmanuel Macron has contrary to previous lockdowns, said that the “reopening of schools will not depend on health figures”. Until now previous moves to lift restrictions had been dependent on the number of COVID cases dropping below 5,000 (a goal set on December 15th which was never reached). This time however, Macron has said that he “is not imposing the same obligation” adding that the “enormous effort already being asked of the French, is enough”.
Following the Head of State's announcement last week, the reopening of nursery and primary education establishments is scheduled for the 26th of April followed a week later by colleges and high schools on May the 3rd.
Covid figures show that there have been on average 38,410 new daily cases over the last seven days with 5,729 patients currently in intensive care. However, the French government seems determined not to set certain health goals, in return for the reopening of the cafes and restaurants by mid-May (as they did in the last lockdown in December). The French people however have resigned themselves to the idea that the restrictions will be extended. According to a new Elabe poll published on Wednesday, 75% of French people questioned, expect the latest sanitary measures to be extended beyond the four weeks.
Pasteur Institute - Meanwhile the Pasteur Institute has said that a return to normal life by August in France can’t be achieved without mass vaccination. The institute insists that mass vaccination of seniors is not sufficient when dealing with a more contagious virus. According to data, if 90% of over 65s are vaccinated and only 70% of 18-64, then completely lifting the health restrictions would not be possible.
AstraZeneca vaccine - The update by the European Medicines Agency given at a press conference on Wednesday has declared that while it’s acknowledged that there is a "possible link" between the AstraZeneca vaccine and very rare cases of thrombosis, the agency reaffirms that the “benefits of the vaccine remain greater than the risks”. The agency also indicated that cases of blood clots have also been observed after the administration of other anti-Covid vaccines approved in the European Union, without a proven link at this stage.
Vaccinations in Nice - In a press release published on Wednesday, Nice city council has said that tomorrow Friday 9th April, 5,000 vaccinations are planned to be administered in 24 hours at the city’s exhibition center making it "the only centre in France to offer such a vaccine capacity". The mayor Christian Estrosi has said that “the goal is not to break records but to speed up the vaccination campaign” adding that "thanks to the arrival of vaccines and a reorganization of the administration," the exhibition center could well become “France’s number one vaccination centre”. The Stade de France, in Saint-Denis (Seine-Saint-Denis), which opened its doors on Tuesday April 6th has set a target of 10,000 vaccinations, but per week.
Investigation into educational platform - The Paris public prosecutor's office has announced the opening of an investigation after a series of computer attacks against the CNED educational platform. The investigation comes as many students and parents were unable to access the device on Tuesday 6th April, as France returned to homeschooling due to the Covid pandemic.
In other news
Dangerous driving on the Croisette - Two individuals have been arrested on the Croisette in Cannes after driving at high speed on a cycling lane and running over a municipal police officer who had attempted to stop them by firing shots. The incident occurred at 3pm on Wednesday afternoon. Police have launched an investigation into the incident.
App to make finding a parking space easier - UPark an application launched in January by a 26-year-old from Nice has already gathered 500 users in France. The aim of the app is to make finding a parking space easy. Motorists can send alerts when leaving a space so that those searching are able to take it. The application was developed in Nice but is available everywhere thanks to geolocation.
Possibly the oldest three-dimensional map in Europe - Researchers say that a recently unearthed Bronze-Age stone may be the oldest three-dimensional map in Europe. The 2m by 1.5m slab, first uncovered in 1900, was found again in a cellar in a castle in France in 2014. Archaeologists who studied patterns engraved on the 4,000-year-old stone say they believe the markings are a map of an area in western Brittany. They say this makes the slab the oldest 3D map of a known area in Europe.
The head of the World Bank has warned world leaders against setting a global minimum tax rate for companies that is too high. In an interview with the BBC, David Malpass said he did not want to see new rules that would hinder poor countries' ability to attract investment. Officials said on Wednesday they hope to reach a global tax deal by mid-year.
Computing giant Microsoft has recently put out a report claiming that businesses globally are neglecting a key aspect of their cyber-security - the need to protect computers, servers and other devices from firmware attacks. Its survey of 1,000 cyber-security decision makers at enterprises across multiple industries in the UK, US, Germany, Japan and China has revealed that 80% of firms have experienced at least one firmware attack in the past two years.
According to the latest Forbes' annual rich list. Beijing is now home to more billionaires than any other city in the world. The Chinese capital added 33 billionaires last year and now hosts 100, said the business magazine. This narrowly beats New York City, which hosts 99 and has held the top ranking for the last seven years.