French and Riviera News Tuesday 10th November 2020

News 

Threat of strike action from teachers - Teaching unions in France have threatened strike action today against the lack of health measures in schools due to Covid-19. Many teachers don’t understand why the health protocol has been stepped up by the government in high schools but not in lower education establishments such as college and primary education.

Testing for teachers - Meanwhile the Ministry of Health has announced that from next week a million antigenic test for Covid-19 will be made available to teaching staff. The tests will be carried out by school nurses on a voluntary basis. The Ministry of Education has reported that out of the 12 million students in France 3,528 have tested positive to date and 1,165 staff. The Minister estimates that the number of cases of Covid-19 among students and teachers was "under control" in France.

Small businesses to set up websites online - As the French government attempts to encourage small businesses to launch their business online, due to closure during the lockdown in France, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, has promised traders a "direct aid" of 500 euros from January 2021" to digitalise their activity. The minister also said he was in favour of relaxing the opening hours of shops, especially on Sundays, to allow them to "make up as much as possible for the lost turnover" once the lockdown is lifted. With this year’s Black Friday taking place on 27th November the Minister also pointed out that “he was unable to ban online Black Friday promotions” as demanded by some smaller traders.  

Many small businesses in town centres across France have reacted angrily at the suggestion to invest online in websites, which can cost up to 3,000 euros to set up, saying that they can’t see the point of paying high rents, employing staff and in addition be expected to invest in online services which in their view “do not offer the personalized service”. In Lyon on Monday, 200 traders protested against the lockdown measures brandishing banners saying “let us work” as demonstrators dressed in black and carried a coffin symbolizing the death of their business representing a wide range of trades from shopkeepers, restaurants, hairdressers to gallery owners.  

Covid-19 - The French Director General of Health, Jerome Salamon, has said that "the peak of the epidemic is yet to be reached”. Speaking during an update on the coronavirus situation on Monday evening he said that there had been 551 deaths from Covid-19 in French hospitals during the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 40,987.

In our region, a larger number of patients are now in intensive care in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region than at the peak of the first wave, according to the Regional Health Agency. At a press conference director Anthony Valdez said that on Monday 503 patients were in intensive care compared to 420 patients at the first peak earlier this year. Regional Health Agency manager Phillipe de Mester said that about 30 deaths per day from Covid-19 are being recorded in the PACA region which he said was creating difficulties in the region's morgues, but those problems are being addressed.

The region’s Covid-19 figures - The latest Covid-19 figures for the Alpes Maritimes region shows that 413 people are currently hospitalized, including 73 in intensive care. To date the total number of people hospitalized in the region since the start of the epidemic stands at 2,435 with 441 in intensive care. 1,608 patients have returned home since the start of the pandemic and 296 people have died from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes.

In the Var region Covid-19 figures show that 427 people are currently hospitalized including 58 in intensive care. Since the start of the epidemic 2,280 people have been hospitalized with 331 in intensive care. 268 people have died, and 1,621 patients have returned home.

For all the latest figures you can go to cascoronavirus.fr

Monaco - In Monaco four new cases of Covid-19 were declared on Monday bringing the total number of residents affected by the coronavirus to 490. 19 people are being cared for in hospital and 87 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center. 369 people have recovered in the Principality since the start of the epidemic

Distribution masks in Antibes Juan les Pins - The town of Antibes Juan-les-Pins is organizing a distribution of masks for residents this week. The distribution will take place until Saturday November 14th (except for this Wednesday November 11th) from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Five distribution points are being established in local neighborhoods. In order to receive your mask, you must be domiciled in Antibes Juan-les-Pins. An identity card, proof of address (and the family record book for minors) will be required when you visit a distribution point. Further details can be obtained by going to the 'Mairie d'Antibes Juan les Pins' Facebook page or by sending an e-mail to distributiondemasques@ville-antibes.fr

International School of Nice - The International School of Nice has appointed a new Head of School. Mel Curtis is joining the school from her most recent leadership roles with Nord Anglia Education as Principal of La Cote International School Aubonne, Switzerland, Principal at the English International School, Prague, and before that, Principal of the British International School of Chicago, USA.

La Poste - La Poste Monaco is reminding customers that all post offices in the Principality will be closed this Wednesday November 11th on the anniversary of the end of the First World War and a public holiday in France. Mail delivery and collection of letterboxes located on public roads will not be provided on Wednesday. Post offices will reopen at the usual times on Thursday and mail and parcels will also be delivered normally from Thursday.

Savills French Riviera: Best place to be, best place to buy! - Savills French Riviera Executive Director, Alex Balkin, confirms, « Today, more than ever, (the French Riviera) is the best place to be and the best place to buy. » Reports from the Savills network of offices - Cap Ferrat, Cap d’Antibes-Cannes, Nice, Valbonne-Mougins and Saint Tropez - confirm a strong demand, locally and internationally, for properties situated in the most desirable areas and which meet buyer expectations. The Savills international sentiment surveys, continue to indicate an unabated appetite for properties that provide an attractive environment, a good location, top design and the facilities expected by todays discerning clients. Interestingly, the French Riviera ranks highly in the Savills Second Home Survey, scoring multiple wins for internet connection speed, an obvious prerequisite for a growing homeworking trend. For more information visit savills.fr

Business

Global stock markets have rocketed on hopes of a potential breakthrough in the search for a vaccine against Covid-19. Markets, which had already been buoyed in the wake of Joe Biden’s US Presidential election victory piled on gains with the FTSE in London up by nearly 5 percent, the Dax in Frankfurt up 5 percent and the CAC 40 in Paris up by 7.6 percent. Some of the initial optimism about the vaccine which has been developed by Pfizer and the German firm BioNtech faded towards the end of the session with the S&P 500 in New York down from an initial surge of nearly 5 percent to a near record high of 35 50, up 1.1 percent on the day. Tech stocks fell back with many firms listed on the Nasdaq that have benefited from lockdown losing ground. The vaccine hopes have renewed investor appetite for airlines, hotels, energy firms and others hit hardest by the pandemic. Analysts say that with more vaccines in development, optimism could grow.

Corporate America has indicated that it’s ready to work with US President-elect Joe Biden on quick action for a new round of Covid-19 relief and infrastructure spending. Major business trade groups including the US Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have quickly moved to congratulate Mr Biden despite President Trump refusing to concede the election. The US Chamber of Commerce said that “the first order of business of the new Congress and the new administration would be a broad based infrastructure programme which would include money to ensure high-speed internet access for remote areas”. Mr Biden has pledged to raise the US corporate tax rate to 28 percent to boost infrastructure spending and has also said that his administration will impose a minimum tax to ensure that no US  corporation can avoid paying income taxes. The US National Association of Manufacturers said that the election results showed that the American people are not interested in extreme policies from either party and are looking for smart, stable and solutions-oriented governance.

The European Union is moving forward with plans to hit 4 billion dollars of American goods with tariffs as punishment for US subsidies for Boeing. The fresh tariffs, which were authorized by the World Trade Organisation last month will come into force from today and will affect items including tractors, ketchup and orange juice. The EU says that it still hopes to settle the dispute which saw the US impose tariffs on European products last year. Trade officials say that they’re hopeful that Joe Biden can help to “reboot” talks.

Sport

Formula 1 - Reports say that the Vietnamese Grand Prix has been dropped from the 2021 calendar following the arrest on corruption charges of a key official responsible for the race in Hanoi. The event had been due to make its debut this season but was called off because of the coronavirus pandemic. The date of next year’s race has been left blank on the Formula 1 calendar as a result of the arrest of Nguyen Duc Chung on charges of stealing state secrets. The case is not related to his involvement in the Grand Prix.

Football - The return of the five substitutes rule in the English Premier League this season could be up for re-discussion following a host of complaints from managers and coaches. The Premier League is the only major competition to return to three substitutes this season and managers think that the ruling is adding to injury problems. The five substitutes rule was introduced when the previous season resumed following the coronavirus lockdown. Opinion is spilt as to whether to return to the regulation but more managers are reported to be favourable to the idea.

Rugby Union - There were two games in the Guinness Pro 14 on Monday night. Edinburgh beat Cardiff Blues 18-0 and Ulster beat Glasgow Warriors 40-15.

Golf - Former champion Sergio Garcia is out of the Masters after testing positive for coronavirus. The 40-year-old, who won the event in 2017 tested positive after last week’s Houston Open. The Masters at Augusta starts on Thursday after having been moved from its traditional early April staging because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Weather

Mainly fine with light variable winds. Top temperatures 20 degrees. Overnight lows of 13 degrees on the coast and 11 degrees inland  with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Partially cloudy with highs of 16-18 degrees.

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