French and Riviera News Thursday 9th December 2021

News

Limit gatherings  - The president of the Scientific Council in France Jean-François Delfraissy has advised people in France to continue to "respect social distancing measures" and recommends "testing" ahead of family gatherings at Christmas. Delfraissy on Wednesday suggested people to "limit the number of guests around the dinner table and to pay particular attention to "those at risk" such as the elderly.

On Tuesday 7th December a record 687,000 booster injections were performed in one day in France. In total, 15 million French people should receive a booster dose by the beginning of January.

Favourable opinion of covid vaccine - According to a survey published by Ipsos on Wednesday, December 8th, and despite ongoing resistance to covid vaccines, 71% of the general public in France has a "favourable opinion" of the vaccine of which 18% say they have "complete confidence" in the covid vaccine.

No more dancing – Meanwhile, from tomorrow Friday 10th December until January 6th inclusive, night clubs will be closed in France following a decree published on Wednesday December 8th, as part of the fight against the spread of covid. In addition, the decree also adds that as part of the new anti-covid measures any "dancing will also be banned in bars and restaurants". The decision taken by the French government is based on a study from the Institut Pasteur published in November which concludes that nightclubs were "places at high risk of transmission due to poor ventilation". Nightclubs had reopened on July 9th in France after sixteen months of closure. Nightclub bosses will again be compensated for loss of business.

Body of last person missing found in the building which collapsed in the Var - The body of the last person missing in the building which collapsed in Sanary-sur-Mer in the Var has been recovered from the rubble on Wednesday afternoon. He is a 58-year-old disabled man, and son of the elderly woman found dead on Tuesday night. The collapse also claimed the life of a 30-year-old man who was found on Tuesday morning. The city council of Sanary-sur-Mer has cancelled all festive activities until the end of this week, as a mark of respect.

Record year of arrests at Italian border - 2021 has seen a record year of migrants being arrested at the Italian border with the Alpes Maritimes with 25,998 people arrested in the first ten months of 2021. 467 smugglers have been arrested in the last ten months compared to 333 in 2020 and 191 in 2019. Despite reinforced controls migrants are taking more risks and paying dearly for smugglers.

France's culture minister gives green light for demolition of Nice's National Theatre - France's minister of culture Roselyne Bachelot has given the green light for the demolition of the National Theatre of Nice. Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi had announced plans to demolish the National Theatre of Nice and the Acropolis conference centre in order to extend the "Coulée Verte" (the gardens which lead up to the Palais des expositions), during his local election campaign. In a letter dated 2nd December Bachelot gives her approval for the plan but asks that the "completion of the work be scrupulously respected for delivery in 2022". The local council is to give their vote on the project tomorrow Friday 10th December.

Town council acquires land to limit the effects of flooding - The town council Mandelieu, in the Alpes Maritimes near Cannes, has evoked a "historic" day on Wednesday December 8th, after becoming the official owner of the "orchards of Minelle", a space of 14 hectares that "will host an area of flood prevention". The acquisition was concluded following tough negotiations for a budget of 2 million euros fully financed by the town council. It will allow local authorities "to protect people, property and the environment from climate risk". It was back in 2015 on October 3rd during extremely heavy rainfall over the west of the Alpes-Maritimes, that eight people had lost their lives due to flooding in the area. The purchase of these lands, previously owned by the Casino group, and their transformation into a flood protection zone were "recommended by hydraulic experts".

Blood donations - Giving blood in France has dropped dramatically since the health crisis with only 4% of the population donating blood. Authorities in our region have warned that the "stocks are low with 50% of the regions demand coming from elsewhere". Anyone between the ages of 18 and 70, who weighs more than 50 kg, can donate blood. The list of collection sites can be consulted on the website https://dondesang.efs.sante.fr/. In the region, there are 300 collection points and 6 donation houses.

Business

On Wednesday December 8th, BioNtech, manufacturer of the Pfizer vaccine, announced that their vaccine is "still effective" against the Omicron variant after three doses. According to studies carried out by the laboratories "the vaccine is still effective against Covid-19, also against the Omicron variant, if it has been administered three times", but this variant is "probably not sufficiently neutralized after two doses". According to the company, a Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine adapted to the Omicron variant is expected "in March". The Omicron variant, considered "highly transmissible by the WHO", was first detected in late November in South Africa, and was quickly identified in many countries. But it does not appear to increase the severity of symptoms, according to the latest data published by the WHO. It is "almost certain" that Omicron does not cause more serious cases than Delta.

The boss of a US mortgage company, who fired hundreds of his staff in a Zoom meeting has said he is "deeply sorry" for the way the lay-offs were handled. Saying that while the sackings were necessary, he accepted that he had "blundered the execution" and "embarrassed" them. Mr Garg was heavily criticised after he sacked 900 staff in an online meeting.

Lego has announced plans to build a new manufacturing operation in Vietnam to keep up with growing demand for its products in Asia. The toymaking giant said it will invest more than $1bn (£760m) in the project. It will be the Danish company's second factory in Asia after it opened a plant in China five years ago. The firm has seen double-digit growth in the region since 2019.

With a health pass required to go skiing this winter in France the Compagnie des Alpes, which manages a dozen ski resorts in the Alps has announced the development of "a solution that would make it possible to control through clothing, remotely". CEO Dominique Thillaud said the system was in its last stages and hoped to have it up and running before Christmas.

Sport

Football - Barcelona have been knocked out of the Champions League for the first time in 17 years after losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

Cricket - England's Ashes campaign began in depressingly familiar fashion as the tourists were bowled out for just 147 by Australia on the opening day of the series. More action continues today.

Formula One - The final race of the Formula 1 season on Sunday will be shown in the UK live on free-to-air television on Channel 4. The channel has struck a deal with Sky to share the rights to the winner-takes-all race between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Mercedes' Hamilton and Red Bull's Verstappen go into the race level on points at the top of the driver's championship. Britain's Hamilton is aiming for a record eighth world title.

Tennis - World number one Novak Djokovic has been entered into the Australian Open despite uncertainty over his Covid vaccination status, while seven-time winner Serena Williams is absent. Defending champion Djokovic has refused to reveal if he has been vaccinated - a requirement to play in Melbourne. Williams, said she was not fit to compete at 2022's first Grand Slam.

Cycling - British cyclist Mark Cavendish has been assaulted by four armed men during a burglary at his home on 27 November. Cavendish said he, his wife and their children were threatened "at knifepoint" by the men and he was "violently attacked". Essex Police have released CCTV images of the group and appealed for anyone in the Ongar area of Essex who may have any information to contact them.

Weather 

Sunny with a gentle breeze and highs of 12 degrees in Menton, Nice, Vence and Cannes. Strong winds and sunny with highs of 12 degrees in Saint Tropez and the Var region. This evening going down to 1 degree inland and 3 degrees along the coast with clear skies.

The outlook for Friday - Sunny intervals along the coast in the Alpes Maritimes. Strong winds and rain forecast in the Var. Highs of 11-12 degrees. The weekend - Sunny in both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var. Winds dying down in the Var by Sunday. Highs of 13-14 degrees.

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