French and Riviera News Tuesday 9th March 2021


Will the weekend lockdown in the Alpes Maritimes be extended?  - The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has expressed his wish to not extend the weekend lockdown for the Alpes Maritimes. Estrosi, speaking to the Nice Matin took stock of the health situation saying that for him “current indicators showed a steady decline in the incidence rate which does not justify a third weekend lockdown”.

Figures show that the incidence rate has indeed fallen, from 600 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants to 487 however, the pressure on the region’s hospitals continues with 122 patients currently in intensive care, for a normal capacity of 89 beds available. Michel Carles, head of the infectious disease department of the CHU in Nice, says that he “believes it is premature to establish whether the weekend lockdowns have had a positive impact on the health situation or not”.

29 additional deaths from Covid in the Alpes Maritimes - Monday’s report from the Regional Health Agency has shown that there were 29 additional deaths in the Alpes-Maritimes from Covid and an increase in intensive care admissions. Since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus has claimed 1,568 victims in the Alpes-Maritimes, 1,135 in hospitals and 433 in nursing homes. 384 people are currently hospitalisedHowever, the agency notes that in the region’s nursing homes the number of infected residents is stable and deaths are decreasing.

Medical team from Nice develop test to predict how badly a person will be affected by Covid – Meanwhile a team of researchers and doctors from Nice have developed a test to predict whether a person with Covid-19 is likely to develop a severe form of the disease or not. Dr Laurent Boyer and Dr Johan Courjon have shared their findings and knowledge in a discovery which is hoped to benefit those treating Covid patients.

Hospitals in Paris region cut regular surgical and medical procedures – And hospitals in the Paris region have been ordered to cut regular surgical and medical procedures by 40 percent as the number of coronavirus patients needing critical care threatens to overwhelm the intensive care units. The Ile-de-France region is home to some 12 million people. It currently has 973 Covid-19 patients in ICU beds with a total capacity of 1,050. It was announced on Monday that the number of patients in intensive care in France has reached its highest level since November.

Covid testing centre in Nice - A new Covid-19 testing facility has been opened on the forecourt of the train station in the centre of Nice. It's possible to get a PCR test at the facility from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Results are provided in less than 24 hours and in 12 hours for contact cases.

Prefect of the Var announces new closures for some shopping centres - The prefect of Var has taken the decision to close additional non-food shopping centers and stores of more than 10,000 m2 from today Tuesday, March 9th. 

Stores closed as of today Tuesday March 9th:

Carrefour Grand Estérel shopping center in Puget-sur-Argen; Leclerc shopping center in Saint-Raphaël; Carrefour shopping center in Trans-en-Provence; Géant Casino la Foux shopping center in Gassin; Castorama La Garde; Castorama in La Seyne-sur-Mer; Castorama in Puget-sur-Argens; Midi Multiple shopping center in Solliès-Pont; Leclerc shopping center in Cogolin; Hyper U shopping center in Saint-Maximin; Hyper U shopping center in Les Arcs-sur-Argens.

It should be noted that Castorama stores will be able to accommodate building professionals on presentation of their professional card.

Other shopping centres already closed: Shopping centers of more than 20,000 m² are closed: Mayol in Toulon, Grand Var Ouest in Valletta, the Ikea store in Valletta, Carrefour in Ollioules, Auchan in La Seyne-sur-mer, Géant Centr'Azur in Hyères, as well as the shopping centers of more than 10,000 m² Grand Var Est in La Garde and Géant Casino in Fréjus.

In other news 

Plane leaves runway at Cannes-Mandelieu airport - A plane has left the runway at Cannes-Mandelieu airport. The incident occurred on Monday morning as the private aircraft was making a stopover to refuel. Upon landing a flat tyre caused the single engine aircraft to leave the runway and become stuck. Emergency services at the scene said that fortunately no one was injured in the incident.

Seasonal work - Cannes City Hall has extended the deadline to apply for seasonal jobs this summer. There are positions to be filled within the municipal services, including in green spaces, urban cleaning, culture, sea and coast, municipal ports and the municipal police. Online registration is now open until March 14th at 11:59 pm instead of the previously announced deadline of March 7th. Further information can be obtained by calling the Cannes Human Resources Department on 04 97 06 40 00.

Meanwhile, the Antibes Juan-les-Pins "Employment, Tourism and Summer Jobs" fair has started and goes on for the next three weeks online. The jobs on offer are mainly in the hotel and catering, retail and entertainment sectors. For more details, click here.

Monaco One - The official ceremony for the high-speed catamaran Monaco One has taken place in the presence of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II. The Monaco One will link the port of Monaco to that of Cala del Forte in Ventimiglia. It was designed and built by Advanced Aerodynamic Vessel in La Rochelle and is 12 meters long and 7.5 meters wide. The shuttle will be able to link Monaco to Ventimiglia in just 15 minutes at 45 knots, with up to 12 passengers on board in perfect comfort. The design combines speed and respect for the environment thanks to cutting-edge aerodynamic solutions that halve its fuel consumption at high speeds compared to traditionally designed vessels.


The electric carmaker Tesla has extended losses and is now down by a third from its record high in January. It’s the third time in a year that the firm has seen a dramatic correction in its share price. Investors are concerned about the prospect of rising interest rates and have been dumping high-valued tech stocks in recent weeks. Tesla’s market capitalisation has fallen by around 300 billion dollars since its record high on the 26th January of 550 billion. The firm’s shares fell by another 4 percent on Monday and are now down by 35 percent from their peak. Technology and other growth stocks have fallen broadly since the second week of February but Tesla’s decline has been much more rapid than other Wall Street heavyweights. The surge in the firm’s share price in recent months was based on expectations of expanding production and profitability.

5,000 jobs in the UK steel industry are at risk following the collapse of the specialist bank Greensill Capital. Greensill is the main lender to the business empire of Sanjeev Gupta which includes Liberty Steel. In a court filing, Greensill said that Mr Gupta’s operations were in “financial difficulty” and defaulting on debt. Mr Gupta has declined to comment on the claims but his business GFG Alliance says that it has “adequate funding” for its current needs. Trade unions held crisis talks with Mr Gupta last week and said on Monday that he needs to spell out exactly what the administration means for Liberty’s UK businesses and how he plans to protect jobs. Liberty Steel owns 12 steel plants in the UK including in Rotherham, Motherwell, Stocksbridge, Newport and Liverpool.

The UK retailer Marks and Spencer is set to launch 46 new websites in overseas markets as part of plans to grow its online business. The expansion will take the firm’s online reach to more than 100 countries, offering homeware and clothing. Marks and Spencer says that the expansion will help it to capitalise on growth without considerable upfront costs. Last year, the firm posted its first loss in its 94 years as a publicly listed company as the coronavirus pandemic hit sales. Marks and Spencer says that its international business has seen strong online growth since the start of the pandemic as customers choose to shop through its websites.


Football - There were two games in the English Premier League last night. Chelsea cemented fourth place in the table with a 2-0 win over Everton and West Ham maintained 5th place thanks to a 2-0 win over Leeds.

There are two round of 16 Champions League second round ties tonight. Borussia Dortmund play Seville leading 3-2 from the first leg and Juventus host Porto with the Portuguese side carrying a 2-1 advantage into the game.

Rugby Union - Jacob Stockdale has been added to the Ireland squad for this weekend’s 6 Nations game against Scotland after recovering from injury. Stockdale missed Ireland’s first three matches in this year’s tournament but returned to play for Ulster in their win over Ospreys last weekend. Ireland lost their opening two games in this year’s 6 Nations but recovered to beat Italy convincingly last time out.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has broken Roger Federer’s record of 310 weeks ranked as world number one. The 33-year-old Serb set the record on Monday for the most weeks at number one in the 48 year history of the ATP Rankings. Djokovic won his 18th grand slam singles title and his 9th Australian Open victory in Melbourne last month. He paid tribute to Federer who is returning to action in Qatar this week after a 14 month break saying that “what Roger is doing at his age is very inspirational and it’s great to see him back”.


Partially cloudy this morning, showers this afternoon with moderate south westerly winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 7-9 degrees with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday - Mainly fine with highs of 15-16 degrees.

And Finally

According to a new review there is little difference between male and female white and gray matter making the brain a “unisex organ”.

Past research has claimed men' brains make them better at thinking logically, while women's brains allow for better communication and multitasking skills.  But researchers analyzing decades' worth of data say, once relative size is taken into consideration, the remaining differences in brain function and structure are quite small and rarely consistent from one study to the next. 

Scientists have in the past claimed that there are distinct differences between the male and female brain. But Lise Eliot, a neuroscientist at Rosalind Franklin University in Chicago, says those theories have been tainted by bias and small sample sizes.


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