French and Riviera News Tuesday 3rd March 2020

Local

Coronavirus - 8 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in the region since Friday 28th February. The latest on Monday is a three-year-old child who has been hospitalized at the Lenval children’s hospital in Nice. Doctors say her state of health “does not cause any concern” and “all precautionary measures to avoid the spread of the virus have been taken”.

Of the eight cases, three are in their twenties and are reported to be doing well, two of the three were reported in Monaco and the third in Cannes. The other cases are an elderly couple and a fifteen-year-old boy from Nice, and an Italian national who was on holiday in the region and is in intensive care. All of the four mentioned had recently visited Italy.

Here in the Principality His Serene Highness Prince Albert of Monaco organized a working meeting in the presence of several government officials on Monday evening in order to provide a full update on the situation of the “Covid-19” in Monaco. Measures taken were discussed as the Prince took the opportunity to thank and praise the state services and the staff at the Princess Grace hospital and emergency services for their dedication and professionalism in the management of this unprecedented health crisis.

Further government meetings are planned in order to provide regular updates on the virus, the next is schedule for Friday 6th March.

On a national level the French Health ministry announced a third death linked to the coronavirus on Monday evening. The patient was an 89-year-old woman in the L’Oise region of France, which remains the worst hit by the virus. The Health director Jerome Salomon added that “he did not know if the death was caused by the coronavirus but added it was linked to “Covid 19” since the postmortem test was positive.

191 cases of the coronavirus in France were confirmed on Monday evening an increase of 61 since Sunday. France is one of the most affected countries in Europe with Germany (157 cases confirmed Monday morning), far behind Italy, which has more than 2,000 people tested positive and 52 dead.

Meanwhile, President Emmanuel Macron has cancelled all his trips that are not related to the virus outbreak. He was due to attend a dinner on Monday evening and to travel to the Gers today.

The Louvre museum in Paris remains closed to visitors after staff on Sunday refused to work due to fears over the coronavirus.  The Paris Book Fair has also been cancelled.

British Airways has said that it’s cancelling some flights between the UK and US, as well to some European countries including Italy, France and Germany. The airline said it was merging a number of flights between 16 March and 28 March and would be contacting affected customers. Ryanair and Lufthansa also announced today that they'd be cancelling and reducing some flights to and from affected countries.

A criminal trial in Nice has been postponed because of protests by lawyers outside the court. Lawyers from the Nice and Grasse bars have been demonstrating at the trial of a teenager on Monday who is alleged to have opened fire on pupils at the Lycée Tocqueville in Grasse in 2017.

The trial was due to get underway on Monday but has now been postponed until 9am this morning. The trial is expected to continue until the 20th of March. The lawyers are demonstrating against pension reforms which they say will seriously affect some members of their profession.

National

Unions call for strike action - French unions opposed to President Emmanuel Macron's controversial pension overhaul have called for a new day of strikes today, after Prime Minister Edouard Philippe moved to push the reform bill through parliament without a vote. 

The pension reform was one of Macron's key campaign promises. His proposals have brought millions out onto the streets during a record transport strike and ten days of general strike between 5 December and 20 February. 

Car of the Year is French - The Car of the Year award ceremony has taken place in Geneva and the Peugeot 208 has been named “Car of the Year 2020”. The car which was up against six other finalists including Tesla, Porsche and BMW stole the show at Mondays awards.

The car stood out from its competitors thanks to its engine, which offers an electric version in addition to the traditional petrol and diesel engines.

Business

Global shares and oil prices have extended gains in Asian trade this morning after Wall Street bounced back on Monday amid mounting speculation that policymakers will move to ease the economic fallout from the spread of the coronavirus.

Finance ministers from the G7 group of nations are expected to hold a conference call today to discuss measures to deal with the economic impact of the outbreak.Reports suggest that the G7 will attempt to come up with a coordinated plan to fight the virus including possible fiscal spending.</