French and Riviera News.Tuesday March 17th 2020

Coronavirus lockdown-President Macron has said that France is “at war” against the coronavirus as the government introduced strict restrictions on movement effectively placing the country on lockdown.

Mr Macron said that people need to stay at home for at least 15 days and warned that the lockdown could be extended depending the spread of the virus.

He said that people should limit social contacts as much as possible and appealed for calm.

Later on Monday the French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner warned that anyone flouting the travel restrictions would be fined a minimum of 38 euros but people can go out in their local neighbourhood to walk a dog or take exercise.

Anybody found outside apart from in the locality of their residence will be required to present a certificate which is available for download from the Interior Ministry website

People without access to the internet can present a hand written version if they don’t have a printer.

People who can work from home are strongly advised to do so but for those whose job is impossible to do at distance should download the form and carry it with them at all times.


Infection rate-The French Health Ministry says that so far there have been 6,633 confirmed cases of Covid19 in the country and 148 deaths.

Meanwhile-The European Union has announced that all non essential travel is to be suspended for 30 days.

The president of the European Commission Ursula van Leyen says that the EU and other partners are struggling to contain the Coronavirus and that coordinated measures had to be taken.

She said that people needed to be protected from the virus while the supply of goods is maintained.

Green lanes are to be introduced to give essential transport such as medical supplies,food and emergency services priority on the roads and pressure on health services must be reduced by restricting social interaction to slow the spread of the virus.

The EU president said that the less travel there is, the more the virus can be contained and that heads of government had been advised that restricting non-essential journeys within and into the EU should be implemented for an initial period of 30 days.

Some exemptions will be made such as allowing frontier workers access to neighboring countries to carry out their jobs.

Schengen members will be expected to comply and emergency aid is to be granted to member states to help them cope with the crisis.


Supermarket stampede-Major supermarkets in the south of France have reported heavy spending with customers fighting over some items and restrictions put in place to prevent overcrowding.

Many shoppers wore protective face masks while out with items such as toilet paper,cleaning products and pasta all being swiped off the shelves.

The government has appealed for calm and urged people not to panic buy.

Many people are not observing advice on social distancing which is adding to concerns of the spread of the virus as long queues built up at the tills.

Authorities insist that there is no shortage of basic foodstuffs and that people should act more responsibly.


Open or closed ? The French government has published a list of shops and services that are allowed to stay open during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Bars and restaurants are closed apart from takeaway services such as MacDonald’s drive through but food shops,pharmacies , petrol stations and repair garages are allowed to remain open.

Post Offices can remain open but many have been closed while banks, newsagents and computer repair outlets are allowed to trade.

The situation remains fluid and is likely to change day by day.


Mayor tests positive-The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has tested positive for Coronavirus.

Mr Estrosi says that he got results on Monday and is feeling fine but will be self isolating at his home.

He said that he would continue to run the city while confined and warned that the public needs to be aware of the measures that need to be taken to avoid contracting for virus.

Mr Estrosi advised people to maintain social distancing ,restrict movement and not go gather in large groups.

All markets have been cancelled in the city as of this morning and public gardens and parks have been closed.

25 percent of trams have been withdrawn and on street parking will be free until further notice.

Free on street parking has also been introduced in Cannes.


Monaco-The Monaco State Minister Serge Telle has tested positive for Coronavirus.

The principalities second most important figure after Prince Albert tested positive on Monday and is now self isolating but reported not to feel too unwell.

Anyone who’s been in close contact with Mr Telle over the past few days should also self isolate and contact the relevant health authorities in Monaco or France.

A reminder that you should not go directly to a hospital or a doctor if you think you may have contracted the virus but to call 15 in France or 18 or 112 in Monaco and wait for assistance.

The Monaco state government has announced that its allocating 50 million euros to help firms that are struggling in the current crisis.

The government will guarantee funds to banks that have been approached by businesses in Monaco for an emergency loan.


Blood Appeal-Health authorities have issued an urgent appeal for blood donations in both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var.

Stocks are being depleted as the Coronavirus takes hold across the south and authorities want donations quickly to keep supplies going over the coming weeks.

Some regular donors have been unwilling to travel to donation sites over the past few days.

A reminder that anyone who lived in the UK in the ten years prior to 1996 is banned from donating because of the possibility they may carrying the human form of Mad Cow Disease CJD.




Global stock markets have plunged again despite the intervention of central banks who’ve taken concerted action in a bid to ease the effects of Coronavirus.

US markets nosedived by more than 7 percent on the opening triggering an automatic suspension of trade as investors scurried for safe haven assets.

European markets took another battering with the FTSE 100 nosediving by 8 percent and heavy losses in Frankfurt and Paris.

Action by the US Federal Reserve which cut interest rates to near zero and announced a 700 billion dollar stimulus package appear to have had little effect.

Analysts say that the major concern is that Central Banks now have little ammunition left to combat the impact of the pandemic and the radical action taken so far has had the opposite effect to that being sought.


Airlines have been cancelling  thousands more flights as the Coronavirus grips Europe and North America.

Virgin Atlantic ,Ryanair and Easyjet have grounded most of their flights while the owner of British Airways IAG Group has cut capacity by 75 percent.

Air France KLM has taken similar action and Norwegian Air is laying off 7,500 staff.

Travel firms are also feeling the brunt of the crisis with Tui suspending the majority of its operations as passenger numbers and bookings plummet.

Passengers affected by cancellations are unsure of their rights and should contact the relevant company for further clairification.


And-The owner of Peugeot Citroen ,Opel and Vauxhall is closing all of its European plants due to Coronavirus fears.

PSA says that all operations across Europe will be shut until the 27th of March and that employees will be paid during the lay-off.

The French firm has blamed disruption to supply chains ,tumbling demand for vehicles and accelerated cases of Covid19 near to production plants in the past few days.

Other major car manufacturers are also scaling back or ceasing production until the end of the month.




Football-A mini tournament to decide the European Champions League and Europa League could be one way of deciding both competitions.

Euro 2020 is set to be cancelled to allow league seasons to be completed but there are still doubts as to whether any fixtures can be played while the Coronavirus outbreak continues.

Decisions on all major sporting fixtures will be made in the coming days.


IOC-The prospect of the summer Olympics being cancelled has been discussed by organizers.

On Saturday Japan said that it expected the games to go ahead but there are major doubts about the feasibility depending on cases of Coronavirus and travel restrictions.

Qualifying events in the boxing competition have been going ahead but behind closed doors in London.


Tennis-WTA events have been cancelled until at least the 2nd of May.

The women’s event organizers say that a decision will be made later this week about the remaining clay court events in Madrid ,Rome and Strasbourg.


Racing- All events in the UK will be held behind closed doors until the end of March.

More than 250,000 spectators attended last week’s Cheltenham Festival but the sport’s governing body the British Horseracing Authority says that the public will not be able to attend any more events.

The Grand National at Aintree is due to take place on the 4th of April.




Clear skies with light to moderate easterly winds.

Top temperature 18 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Wednesday and Thursday-Mainly fine with highs of 16-18 degrees.

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