French and Riviera News Tuesday 18th May 2021

News

Numbers continue to decline - The number of Covid patients hospitalized in critical care continued to decline on Monday, May 17th, while the total number of hospitalisations was at its lowest for six months, according to figures from Public Health France. To date critical care services count 4,186 patients. In total, 22,749 people are hospitalized for Covid, a total at its lowest since the end of October 2020.

AstraZeneca vaccine - According to a new report from the health authorities in France released on Monday, four new cases of thrombosis associated with the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, including two deaths, occurred in France between April 23rd and May 6th. Since the start of vaccination with AstraZenca the report shows that there have been "34 cases, including 11 deaths in total" of rare thrombosis which have occurred in France, out of more than 4,068,000 injections carried out by May 6th.

Vaccination campaign - To date nearly 21 million French people have received the first dose of a Covid vaccine since the start of the vaccination campaign in France and 8,970,230 people have received two injections. French President Emmanuel Macron has set a target of 30 million first-time injections by mid-June.

France’s Health Minister says that the vaccination of children against Covid is not to be rushed – Meanwhile France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran, has said that he does not want to "go too fast" on the vaccination of children. Speaking on BFMTV on Monday evening the minister said that the priority was for adults to be vaccinated before adding that the vaccination of under 18s against Covid will be done "perhaps" but "not straight away”.

Veran concluded that while the first studies from the laboratories on messenger RNA vaccines, Pfizer, Moderna, show that they are safe and effective. France still needs more information as well as authorization from the European agency and authorization from the French health authorities. And then it can be considered”.

Progressive end to lockdown - Tomorrow Wednesday 19th May, marks the next stage to the end of lockdown in France with the curfew pushed back to 9pm while shops, terraces and cultural places will reopen with a strict health protocol and the return of the public to stadiums.

The curfew, which was introduced in mid-October will be moved to 9pm. Non-essential businesses, closed since March 19th in 16 departments and throughout France since April 3rd, will reopen with a reinforced health protocol set at 8 square meters per customer. The terraces of restaurants, cafes and bars, closed since the start of the second lockdown at the end of October, will reopen throughout France with a strict health protocol: 50% of their capacity, tables of six people maximum and obligation to stay sitting down. The inside of restaurants, cafes and bars will remain closed until June 9th, when the third stage of the end to lockdown plan will be accompanied by a relaxation of the rules for terraces, which can reopen entirely. Cinemas, theaters and museums will once again be able to welcome the public with limited capacity and a reinforced health protocol. And the public will also make a comeback in sports stadiums with 800 people indoors and 1,000 outdoors.

In other news 

French government allocates one billion euros for sustainable housing - France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex has allocated one billion euros for sustainable housing. Speaking to French media the Prime Minister said that “France must, at all costs, move forward in promoting sustainable construction” adding that it is the Head of State’s wish to provide "accommodation, within everyone's reach, but also to be housed in a new framework which is that of an ecological transition".

Road accident on Promenade des Anglais - One person has been slightly injured following an accident on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, on Monday evening, shortly after 9 p.m. According to eye witnesses a car collided with another vehicle before hitting four parked vehicles and an electricity pole. Three young girls are said to have got out of the car before fleeing. Police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward.

Strike action – The SNCF of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur has announced strike action today, Tuesday 18th May. Unions are against the introduction of cameras to replace controllers. They claim that over the last year the absence of controllers, (who effectively assist with the departure of trains and are there to help if an incident occurs during the journey) is resulting in drivers having to take on these responsibilities. They are also against the reduction in station managers normally present in Menton, Nice Ville, Antibes, Cannes and Saint-Raphaël, who are now only present in Ventimiglia.

And the regional postal service has also announced strike action in protest against job cuts. A rally is scheduled at 10 am, in front of the direction of La Poste, avenue Thiers, in Nice.

Monaco train station ranks first – Meanwhile according to a recent survey the train station of Monaco ranks first at a regional level and second nationally for passenger satisfaction. Monaco train station maintains top spot out of the 24 regional stations and 2nd place out of 125 national stations. According to the survey, the quality of service at Monaco train station is remarkable.

Larvotto beach - The Monaco government has said that the completely renovated Larvotto beach will be open again to residents and tourists at the beginning of July. All the businesses which were located at Larvotto before the renovation work began will once again be open. Starting this winter, residents and visitors will also be able to take advantage of a new shopping area, as seven additional businesses will complete the offer after the summer. A call for applications for those interested in operating the seven new premises is being made.

Monaco Grand Prix - As Monaco prepares for this weekend’s Grand Prix visitors are reminded that they will need to provide a negative PCR test to access the circuit. Residents and citizens are free to access the circuit without the need for a negative PCR test and the same applies for students in Monaco and children under 11 years of age. Employees of the Principality are also able to access the Principality freely without the need for a PCR test, however proof of employment is required.

Cannes Film Festival - The Cannes Film Festival will present its 74th edition on Thursday 3rd June and unveil its eagerly awaited Official Selection, five weeks ahead of the opening of festivities. The Festival is to be held this year from July 6th to 17th on the Croisette.

Business

Earnings reports this week will be scrutinised closely for clues on whether a rise in prices has had any impact on consumer demand and if retailers can sustain the strong earnings momentum. Walmart, Home Depot and Macy’s will report later today with Target, Ralph Lauren and TJX Cos due to report later in the week. Overall earnings for S&P 500 companies are expected to have climbed by 50.6% from a year ago. Investors continue to be concerned about inflation and interest rates.

Bitcoin has fallen to a three month low in volatile trading following tweets from Tesla boss Elon Musk. In his latest tweet, Mr Musk said that Tesla has not sold any bitcoin. On Sunday, he suggested that the firm may have done so and last week he said that Tesla would stop taking bitcoin as a payment due to environmental concerns. Mr Musk has boosted crypto markets with his enthusiasm but has lately appeared to cool on bitcoin. Analysts say that the market has already proved it can react to Mr Musk’s tweets but the latest falls in the value of the crypto currency could set off a new run that could create a new all-time high for bitcoin and other crypto currencies.

The World Health Organisation has said that long working hours are killing hundreds of thousands of people a year. The report by the WHO found people living in south east Asia and the Western Pacific region were the most affected. The WHO also said that the trend may worsen due to the coronavirus pandemic. Research found that working 55 hours or more a week was associated with a 35% higher risk of stroke and a 70% high risk of dying from heart disease compared with a working week 35 to 40 hours. Three quarters of those that died as a result of working long hours were middle-aged or older men. The report said working long hours was estimated to be responsible for about a third of all work related disease, making it the largest occupational disease burden.

Sport

Boxing – Tyson Fury has been ordered to fight Deontay Wilder for a third time casting doubt over the proposed August heavyweight unification bout with Anthony Joshua. Fury won the WBC belt from Wilder in a rematch in February 2020 after an initial draw. The pair were due to fight again but delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic prompted Fury to seek an alternative. On Monday, a US judge ruled that Wilder has a right to face Fury for a third time before the 15th of September. The American’s legal team had long argued that Wilder had a contractual right to a third fight with Fury. There’s been no comment so far from Fury’s promoter Top Rank.

Football – Bournemouth have beaten Brentford 1–0 in the first leg of the English Championship semi-final play-off. The other semi-final first leg tie ended Barnsley 0 Swansea City 1.

There are four games in the English Premier League tonight. Manchester United play Fulham. Southampton host Leeds. Brighton play the champions Manchester City and Chelsea host Leicester.

Formula One – Final preparations are being made for this year’s Monaco Grand Prix with teams and support staff arriving in the Principality. Spectator access is restricted this year with 7,500 fans allowed to attend daily and grandstand capacity limited to 40%. Driver briefings and a media conference will take place tomorrow with first practice on Thursday at 10 am. Lewis Hamilton leads Max Verstappen by 14 points heading into the event.

Rugby Union –There were two games in the Gallagher English Premiership last night. Leaders Bristol brushed aside Gloucester 39–7 at Newcastle beat Northampton 18–10.

Racing - The legendary jockey Joe Mercer has died at the age of 86. Mercer rode 2,810 winners in 36 seasons and won 8 British classics including the 2000 Guineas in 1971 when Brigadier Gerard beat Mill Reef. The Bradford born rider was champion jockey in 1979 and was made an OBE in 1980 for services to racing.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong westerly wind developing across the region again, particularly in the Var. Top temperature 23-24 degrees. Overnight lows of 15-16 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine, windy in the Var tomorrow. Highs of 21-24 degrees.

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