French and Riviera News Tuesday 19th January 2021

News

Two schools close in the Alpes Maritimes due to Covid - A second college in the Alpes Maritimes has had to close due to Covid. Monday saw the Bellevue college in Beausoleil close its doors to students for at least a week as a precaution after 15 cases of Covid were identified. The closure comes after the Jules Romain college in Nice closed its doors on Friday 15th after 16 positive cases were declared including 5 students. In addition, “the rule of three” is currently in place for establishments which remain open, with classes closed after three cases are identified, which has included the 6th and 4th grades of Stanislas in Nice and Rabelais in L’Escarène. Figures published on Friday show that 92 students have tested positive for Covid out of the 362,000 in the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var and 27 staff members out of nearly 36,000 teachers of the Nice academy.

Class closes in Monaco - Meanwhile in Monaco a nursery class has been closed at the Stella school after a pupil tested positive for Covid on Monday. In accordance with health procedures in the Principality the pupil has been excluded and as a precautionary measure the class has been closed from this morning until Sunday 24th January inclusive. Staff at the establishment who had been in contact with the pupil will benefit form a PCR test in accordance with the health protocol.

Monaco’s Minister of State to be vaccinated this morning – As the Principality continues its vaccination campaign Monaco’s Minister of State, Pierre Dartout, will be vaccinated this morning. Emails are to be sent today in Monaco to invite those between the ages of 65 and 74 as well as those under 65 at high risk, to be vaccinated. To date people aged 75 and over who have expressed their wish to be vaccinated have all received their first injection. For further information on the vaccination campaign you can call +377 92 05 55 00.

Covid cases in Monaco - Seven new cases of Covid were identified in the Principality on Monday bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,212. Forty people are currently hospitalized and 108 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Alpes Maritimes - In the Alpes Maritimes according to the regional health agency, 21 additional deaths were declared on Monday 18th January. 275 people are currently hospitalized of which 82 people are in intensive care, including 11 new admissions to intensive care units on Monday. Since the start of the pandemic the Alpes Maritimes has recorded 971 deaths from Covid including 244 deaths in nursing homes.

Number of Covid cases being admitted to hospital increases - France saw the number of deaths from Covid increase on Monday with 404 deaths declared in 24 hours compared to 141 the day before. There were 1,666 new admissions to hospital on Monday, a strong increase compared to 698 on Sunday, bringing the total number of people hospitalized to 25,584. In addition, 2,803 people are in intensive care including 254 new admissions on Monday.

Masks - Meanwhile the high council on Public Health in France has warned on Monday that while variants of Covid-19 are circulating in France certain masks made of less filtering fabric should be avoided.

Ski resorts - The French government is expected to examine the extension of the closure of ski lifts in French ski resorts during Wednesday’s defence council meeting. In view of the “still worrying” health situation it looks like ski resorts may not fully reopen any time soon. Many ski resort professionals fear that resorts will remain partially closed for the February holidays despite the French President announcing at the end of November that resorts could reopen in January. Speaking to French media on Monday evening, Prime Minister Jean Castex emphasized that there was “no question of prioritizing the economic outcome over health issues”.  

Disneyland Paris postpones reopening - Disneyland Paris has announced that it is postponing its reopening by almost two months, to April 2nd, due to the health crisisThe theme park will not reopen on the 13th of February as initially planned. The group announced on Twitter that if conditions permit, Disneyland Paris will reopen on the 2nd April.

#MeTooInceste - Tens of thousands of people have responded to a social media campaign in France designed to shed light on the problem of sexual abuse within families. The campaign, featuring the hashtag #MeTooInceste was started over the weekend by NousToutes, an organisation battling sexual violence in France. The campaign followed accusations against a prominent political commentator, Olivier Duhamel, who has been accused by his stepdaughter of abusing her twin brother 30 years ago. Mr Duhamel has described the allegations as "personal attacks".

The first vegan restaurant to win a Michelin star in France – For the first time a vegan restaurant located in in south-western France has won a Michelin star. The establishment serves only animal-free products. The restaurant ONA - which stands for Origine Non Animale was launched in 2016 thanks to crowdfunding from supporters and a loan from a green bank.

Business

A report by Reuters says that Wall Street may be facing an uncomfortable 4 years under the Biden administration following the confirmation that the new US President plans to nominate two consumers rights experts to lead major financial agencies. Gary Gensler is to serve as the chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission while Rohit Chopra will lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Both men have reputations for protecting consumer interests against big business and several Republicans have already criticised the appointments saying that Mr Biden is “pandering to the left wing of the Democratic Party”. A third appointment, that of Sherrod Brown to the position of chair of the Senate Banking Committee is also ruffling feathers on Wall Street. Mr Brown has already said that he plans to try and appeal stock-friendly rules introduced by Donald Trump. Republicans had hoped to retain control of the Senate under a Biden administration but the two runoffs in Georgia earlier this month mean that Vice-President elect Kamala Harris will hold the deciding vote in the chamber.

A shortage of computer chips is hitting the car industry with several manufacturers forced to slow production. Audi says that it will make some 10,000 fewer cars in the first quarter because of the shortage and will be forced to place more than 10,000 workers on furlough. Parent company Volkswagen has also announced a slow down in production alongside rivals Honda and Toyota. Manufacturers cut orders for chips from Chinese factories as result of the slow start to 2020 and were then taken by surprise when the market picked up towards the end of last year. Ordering new chips is not a simple process as semiconductors have a broad range of applications but are supplied by a limited pool of companies. Reports say that demand is high for chips but supply is tight and sudden needs are proving difficult to accommodate.

The budget airline Easyjet says that bookings this summer with its holidays division are up by 250 percent on last year, raising hopes for demand when lockdown restrictions are finally lifted. Tougher lockdown restrictions across Europe plus the closure of air corridors and uncertainty over travel have been piling more pressure on the airline industry at the start of the year. Last year, Easyjet, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic announced thousands of job cuts and scrapped a number of routes. Last week, Norwegian cut a thousand jobs at Gatwick Airport and abandoned all its long haul operations. Easyjet says that it knows that there is “pent up demand” for travel and that people want to go on holiday “as soon as they can”.

Sport

Cricket - They’re into the final session of the 4th and final Test between Australia and India in Brisbane. Both sides are still on the hunt for a victory which would secure a series win. India had reached 183-3 shortly after tea, requiring 145 runs to win the match leaving Australia with the prospect of taking 7 wickets in the final session. There is no chance of rain interrupting the proceedings according to the weather forecast.

Football - There was one game in the English Premier League last night. Arsenal beat Newcastle 3-0 deepening the pressure on Magpies manager Steve Bruce. There are two games tonight. West Ham play West Brom and Leicester host Chelsea.

There’s one rearranged FA Cup third round tie tonight. Southampton host Shrewsbury Town.

Tennis - The Premier of Victoria has said that there will be no special treatment for players who are quarantining ahead of the Australian Open. Daniel Andrews says that the “virus doesn’t treat you specially, so neither will we”. 72 players are confined to their hotel rooms in Melbourne for 14 days as a result of positive coronavirus test results on flights bound for the event. Some players have complained about the restrictions while others have taken to hitting tennis balls against the walls and windows of their rooms in a bid to stay sharp.

Cycling - Chris Froome has said that he believes that he can recover from injury to win a 5th Tour de France title. The 35-year-old will ride for a new team, Israeli Start Up Nation this year after leaving Ineos Grenadiers. He says that winning at his age is the only motivation that he needs. Froome’s last victory was at the 2018 Giro d’Italia.

Weather

Mainly fine with light south westerly winds. Top temperature 13 degrees. Overnight lows of 8 degrees with rain spreading across the region.

Wednesday and Thursday - Rain with some sunny periods. Highs of 10-12 degrees.

And finally

A new study has revealed that money really can buy you happiness, no matter how rich you get. It has long been thought that wealth improves people’s lives up to a certain point, but then stops making a difference. Previous research suggested the point at which money no longer led to more happiness was around £55,000 a year. However, the new study suggests that feelings of wellbeing continue to rise with increasing income, and that there is no limit to the effect.

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