French and Riviera News Tuesday 26th January 2021

News 

Health situation in the Alpes Maritimes - The Regional Health Agency has said that 17 people died from Covid in the Alpes Maritimes this weekend with the number of patients in intensive care increasing slightly. To date, 772 people have died in the region’s hospitals and 270 in nursing homes, bringing the total number of deaths from Covid in the Alpes Maritimes to 1,042. 359 people are currently hospitalized and 84 people are in intensive care. The occupancy rate of intensive care beds remains stable but high, at 82.9%.

Monaco - In Monaco, eleven new cases of Covid were reported on Monday bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,368. Fifty-four people are currently hospitalized and 145 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Meanwhile on Monday, Prince Albert took stock of the vaccination campaign in the Principality to ensure the mobilization of all services and the guarantee of supplies. 4,000 Monegasques and residents have already been vaccinated since the campaign started on December 31st.

New announcement concerning the health situation in France - Meanwhile the French government is not expected to make any new announcements just yet concerning the possible third confinement reportedly “wishing to wait and see the effects from the current national 6pm curfew” which should be known by Saturday 30th January. The Head of State is also waiting on more information concerning the progress of the vaccination campaign in France.

France’s Prime Minister confirmed on Monday that "decisions will be taken this week, adding that it is not a question of lowering the guard" meanwhile the President of the Scientific Council, Jean-François Delfraissy, has called for France not to procrastinate, faced with the threat of variants of the virus, which "completely change the situation". A Health Defence Council will be held tomorrow morning Wednesday 27th January. On Monday, latest figures showed that the number of intensive care patients in France reached just over 3,000 for the first time since December 9th.

Avalanche risk - With an avalanche risk of between 4 and 5, the mayor of Gordolasque has called for a ban on Nordic skiing and hiking. At the weekend, Paul Burro ordered restrictions on certain mountainous areas in the hinterland of Nice due to the avalanche risk. The decision has caused protest from mountaineers.

Teachers call for strike action today - Several teaching unions have announced industrial action today. The action is to draw attention to what the unions claim is mismanagement of the health crisis in schools and to protest against current salary levels.

Masks - The Nice town hall has issued a reminder that the wearing of a mask is mandatory throughout the city. You're liable to a fine of 135 euros if you're not wearing one.

Global inequality - Oxfam has warned of global inequality if governments don’t change their economic policies. France is third only to the United States and China in terms of how the wealth of billionaires has grown throughout the Covid pandemic. In its annual report on global inequality, Oxfam reports that the world’s 10 wealthiest people, all of them men, saw their collective fortunes soar by half a trillion dollars since the Covid pandemic began, even though the world economy is smaller.

The report is based on data from Forbes ’2020 Billionaire List and includes France’s wealthiest person, LVMH president Bernard Arnault, along with Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Elon Musk of Tesla, Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg amongst others. Their combined gains would be enough to pay to vaccinate every person in the world and ensure no one is pushed into poverty. 

Business

Janet Yellen has been confirmed as the first female US Treasury Secretary following a vote in the Senate. Ms Yellen, who was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018 won bipartisan support from the Senate Finance Committee and will be responsible for guiding the Biden administration’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. Earlier this month, Ms Yellen urged Congress to approve trillions of dollars in pandemic relief and economic stimulus and said that lawmakers should “act big” without worrying about national debt. She said that the focus is not on tax increases but on programmes to help America through the pandemic. The new Treasury Secretary is already facing problems in Congress with Senate Republicans opposed to Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar economic relief package as they consider it to be too expensive.

A group of large shipping firms and NGOs have said that the fate of more than 200,000 seafarers who play a crucial role in keeping the flow of global trade going is a “humanitarian crisis at sea”. More than 300 firms and organisations have signed the Neptune Declaration which calls on governments to treat seafarers as essential workers so they can return home without risking public health. More than 90 percent of global trade is moved by sea but governments around the world have banned crew from coming ashore because of coronavirus fears. The group which includes the shipping giant AP Moller-Maersk and the oil firms BP and Shell, as well as the World Economic Forum have signed the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing and Crew Change. They’re calling for all countries to designate seafarers as key workers and implement crew change protocols. According to the latest data from the International Chamber of Shipping, there are 1.6 million seafarers serving on internationally trading merchant ships worldwide. Hundreds of thousands of crew are spending extended hours at sea, far beyond the expiry of their contracts and many are being stopped from disembarking at ports. There have been a number of cases of suicides with mental health becoming a serious problem.

The United Nations has said that the coronavirus pandemic caused an unprecedented hit to the global economy last year destroying the equivalent of 225 million full time jobs. The UN says that the crisis caused an 8.8 percent drop in working hours and that looking at job cuts alone drastically underestimated the damage. It warned that the recovery remains uncertain, despite hopes that vaccines will spur an economic rebound. The UN also cautioned that the downturn could be worse than forecast if vaccine distribution is slow and if global governments do not provide the economic stimulus required.

Sport

Football - Chelsea have sacked manager Frank Lampard after 18 months in charge. The 42-year-old was dismissed on Monday following a disappointing run of results which has left the club 9th in the Premier League table. The former PSG coach Thomas Tuchel is set to be appointed as Lampard’s replacement and could be in the dug-out for tomorrow night’s home game against Wolves depending on coronavirus protocols.

There was one FA Cup 4th round tie last night. Spurs booked their place in round 5 with a 4-1 win at Wycombe Wanderers.

In the English Premier League tonight Crystal Palace play West Ham. Newcastle host Leeds. Southampton face Arsenal and West Brom play Manchester City.

Formula 1 - The Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff has revealed that he contracted coronavirus earlier this month. Wolff says that he’s now recovered after submitting a positive test during a break in Austria. He said that he’d had no symptoms and is now out of quarantine. Wolff also said that he was in the process of negotiating a new contract with Lewis Hamilton to race on with Mercedes this year and was confident that it would be concluded before the start of pre-season testing in Bahrain in March.

Cricket - England have completed a two -nil Test series victory over Sri Lanka. Joe Root’s side won the second Test in Galle by six wickets in Galle and have now won four series in a row and are unbeaten in 10 successive Tests.

It’s day 1 of the 1st Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Karachi. South Africa have won the toss and elected to bat.

Rugby Union - Joe Marler and Joe Launchbury have both pulled out of England’s 6 Nations squad. Launchbury has a stress fracture to his leg while Marler has pulled out for personal reasons. England play their 6 Nations opener against Scotland on February 6th. Jacob Stockdale has been left out of Ireland’s 6 Nations squad. The back is still recovering from a knee injury. Ireland start their campaign against Wales in Cardiff on February the 7th.

Weather

Mainly fine with light to moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 12 degrees. Overnight lows of 5 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Partially cloudy with highs of 10-12 degrees.

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