French and Riviera News Tuesday 30th March 2021


Covid - France has overtaken the number of Covid patients hospitalized in intensive care during the second wave in November, with to date 4,974 patients admitted to intensive care. Figures from Public Health France, published on Monday, March 29th, show a sharp increase in the number of patients occupying intensive care beds. The peak of the second wave was reached on November 16th last year with 4,903 Covid patients in intensive care. At the peak of the first wave, in the spring of 2020, this number stood at around 7,000. According to Public Health France 28,322 Covid patients are currently hospitalized.

Doctors are calling for stricter measures as hospitals reach breaking point. A Defence Council meeting with the Head of State Emmanuel Macron and the Scientific Council is to be held tomorrow Wednesday 31st March. It seems likely that the 24 regions of France placed on “increased surveillance” last week including the Var, could see stricter measures introduced similar to the 19 departments, including the Alpes Maritimes which is currently in its second week of a four-week lockdown.  

Monaco – Six new cases of Covid were identified on Monday 29th March in Monaco. Bringing the total number of residents affected to 2,265. 29 people are currently hospitalized and 73 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Johnson & Johnson vaccination - On the vaccination front, Johnson & Johnson are to start deliveries of its vaccine in Europe on April 19th.  This vaccine is the first among those given a green light by the World Health Organization which requires only one injection instead of two, in addition to being able to be stored at refrigerator temperatures.

Mortality rate increase and life expectancy falls - France’s mortality rate has increased by 9.1% in 2020, for the first time in 70 years, according to INSEE. According to INSS the increase in deaths has concerned mainly people over the age of 70, who are more at risk of Covid-19. In 2020 mortality in France was exceptionally high and life expectancy fell. A total of 668,800 deaths occurred last year from all causes, that’s 55,500 more than in 2019 (+ 9.1%). Life expectancy fell by six months for women (85.1 years) compared to 2019, and by 7.2 months (79.1 years) for men.

The increase in mortality has also been uneven from one part of the country to another, being higher in the eastern half of mainland France, including the Île-de-France and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. In addition, INSEE notes a drop in marriages in 2020. Almost 155,000 marriages have been celebrated, of which 150,000 between people of the opposite sex and 5,000 between people of the same sex. A historic decline greatly due to lockdown restrictions.

International treaty on pandemics - The leaders of twenty countries, the President of the European Council and the head of the World Health Organisation are calling for an "international treaty on pandemics". The signatories are the leaders of countries spread over five continents, including French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

All signatories, the President of the European Council and the head of the World Health Organization will present this draft treaty to the press today Tuesday 30th March. The treaty aims to “lead to a greater mutual accountability and sharing of responsibilities" and "foster transparency and cooperation within the international system" in the face of a pandemic.

Minister of Education shares parody of “Another Brick in The Wall” - A YouTube parody of Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in The Wall" which calls for the opening of schools in California has been shared by France’s Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer on his Twitter account to express the importance of keeping schools open and face-to-face lessons compared to lessons on Zoom. Originally posted to YouTube on March 16th, the video titled "Another Window on Zoom" is a parody of Pink Floyd's hit "Another Brick in The Wall" in it parents and students are singing the song, modifying the lyrics to send the message that remote learning is no longer possible. The video however was shot in a particular context, very different from the French situation. Schools in California have been closed for a year and are only starting to reopen by district and only a few hours per week. In California, many teachers and adults have already been vaccinated, the situation is completely different in France.

In other news 

Woman dies in paragliding accident - A 30-year-old woman has died in a paragliding accident in the Savoie. The victim crashed on Monday evening, a hundred meters below the take-off area, north-east of Chambéry, an area where paragliding and hang-gliding enthusiasts usually depart. Firefighters were called shortly before 7pm. The exact circumstances of the accident are not yet known. Police have opened an