French and Riviera News Wednesday 12th January 2022

News

Health pass deactivated – It's has been estimated by the French government that up to 800,000 people who have not had their covid booster vaccine are at risk of having their health pass deactivated this Saturday January 15th. The deadline was set in November by the government, according to the Ministry of Health. The booster vaccine was made available to all adults at the end of November as the government announced that it would be necessary to extend the health pass (which will soon be replaced by a vaccine pass). In the absence of the booster or a recovery certificate, the pass can be deactivated from the 15th of January. The pass will be deactivated for those who have not had a booster dose at most 7 months after the last injection. For those over 65 and people with underlying health conditions, who had access to the booster as early as September, that deadline was December 15th.

Vaccination for children - According to data from Public Health France, the vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 years old in the Alpes Maritimes has failed to take off, with only 359 children getting the jab since it was made available to this age group in France on December 22nd.

Regional Health Agency update - Meanwhile in the update on the health situation for our region, given on Tuesday 11th January by the Regional Health Agency the organisation evoked an unprecedented "level of viral circulation". A situation partly explained due to the Omicron variant, which now represents a majority of covid cases in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur. The agency is particularly concerned about the high positivity rate of PCR or antigenic tests saying that at present more than 18% of the tests carried out return positive. Latest hospital figures show that 379 covid patients are currently hospitalized in the Alpes-Maritimes and 421 in the Var.

Daily covid infections breaks new record in France - France broke a new record of daily covid infections on Tuesday with 368,149 new cases detected in 24 hours. Hospital pressure also continues to worsen with 23,371 patients currently hospitalized due to covid.

Two deaths from covid declared in Monaco - In Monaco two deaths from covid were reported on Tuesday evening. Both were residents of the Principality aged 91 and 100. The Princely government has expressed its condolences and support to the families concerned. Since the beginning of the epidemic 44 residents have died from covid in Monaco. Tuesday saw a further 78 new cases declared bringing the total number of people affected to 6,165. Thirty-four people are currently in hospital and 239 are being followed by the Home Monitoring centre.

Health workers demonstrate across France - Thousands of caregivers took to the streets across France on Tuesday 11th January to defend the public hospital which they claim has been "washed away by successive waves of covid". In Paris, some 3,000 people according to the CGT, 900 according to the police, marched to obtain better wages and the improvement of working conditions. In Bordeaux, the event brought together about 1,500 participants according to the organizers. In Brest, some 300 demonstrators marched through the city, and in Lille about 400 demonstrators were out in protest.

Strike action to go ahead in French schools – Meanwhile strike action in French education establishments is still scheduled to go ahead tomorrow Thursday 13th January. Unions are calling the industrial action because of grievances connected with the government's implementation of covid protocols in schools and colleges. The strike action is taking place despite Prime Minister Jean Castex announcing a simplified protocol on Monday evening. Minister of National Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Tuesday that the strike doesn't solve the problems and "we do not strike against a virus".

In other news

Man dies after being hit by a motorbike - An 87-year-old man has died after being hit by a motorbike. The accident occurred in Juan Les Pins shortly after 9.30 on Tuesday morning. It is not clear if the man had used the pedestrian crossing, police have appealed for any witnesses to come forward as part of the investigation to determine the exact circumstances.

Mayor of Cannes announces departure from the CRT - The mayor of Cannes David Lisnard has announced his departure from both the presidency of the Alpes Maritimes Côte d'Azur film commission and the presidency of the Regional Tourism Committee of the Côte d'Azur. The CRT will be appointing his replacement at tomorrow's general assembly. Lisnard is stepping down after six and a half years of presidency of the Regional Tourism Committee of the Côte d'Azur.

Macron losing ground in run up to Presidential election - According to a new survey conducted by Elabe, French President Emmanuel Macron is losing ground to Valérie Pécresse and Marine Le Pen for the first round of the presidential election. A week after Macron's controversial remarks on the unvaccinated he has lost about three points in the polls and stands at 22.5% or 23% depending on the candidacy or not of left-wing Christiane Taubira. Should Taubira refuse to run for presidency the gap between the head of state and his main rivals will narrow. Marine Le Pen and Valérie Pécresse are currently tied with 17% of voting intentions. Behind, Eric Zemmour at 13%.

Winter Sales – For those that like to grab a bargain the winter sales start today in the Alpes-Maritimes and are on until Tuesday, February 8th.

Business

The president of the World Bank has said that the global economy faces a "grim outlook" as the aftershocks of the pandemic continue to weigh on growth, especially in poor countries. David Malpass says that global growth will slow to 4.1 percent this year, down from 5.5 percent in 2021. He attributed the slowdown to virus threats, the withdrawal of government stimulus and an initial rebound in demand fading. Mr Malpass also said that his greatest fear was widening inequality. The World Bank predicts that by 2023, economic activity in all major economies is likely to have recovered from the hit that it took during the pandemic. However, output in developing nations is expected to remain at 4 percent, lower than it was before coronavirus struck.

The chair of the US Federal Reserve has said that the US economy should be able to weather the current surge in Covid-19 with only "short lived" impacts. In testimony to Congress on Tuesday, Jerome Powell said that the central bank was determined to ensure that inflation did not become "entrenched" and that far from diminishing growth, a move to higher interest rates and a winding down of asset purchases is necessary to keep the current economic expansion on track. Mr Powell, who is being supported by both Democrats and Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, is expected to be confirmed for a second term as head of the US central bank. He said that inflation is running very far above target and that the economy no longer wants or needs the accommodative policies that are currently in place.

Two of the world's largest private equity firms are lining up a bid for Boots the chemists which is expected to be sold by its US owner this year for an estimated 10 billion dollars. Bain Capital and CVC Capital are reported to have teamed up to buy the chain which is currently owned by Wallgreens Boots Alliance. Bain Capital recently bought the bakery chain Gail's and made a failed bid for the UK insurer LV last year. CVC is a former owner of the defunct department store chain Debenhams and owns the Moto service station group as well as the RAC and the luxury watchmaker Breitling. Some other large private equity firms including Apollo Global Management and Fortress Investment Group which owns Majestic Wine may also be keen to take a look at Boots.

Sport

Formula 1 - The Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff has said that Lewis Hamilton is "disillusioned" with the sport and may not return to the sport. Wolff says that the 7-time world champion won't decide whether he'll race again next season until the results into the enquiry into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are released. Hamilton lost the championship to Max Verstappen after the race director Michael Masi failed to apply the FIA rules correctly in a late safety-car period. Report say that Hamilton has lost confidence in the sport's governing body as a result.

Tennis - Novak Djokovic has released a statement in which he has admitted to not isolating after contracting coronavirus and has blamed his agent for an "administrative mistake" when he declared that he had not travelled for two weeks before his flight to Australia. The world number one has conceded that he made an "error of judgement" by not isolating but questions remain over whether he told the entire truth to immigration officials. The Australian government is still considering whether the player's visa should be revoked although he was freed from quarantine detention on Monday by a judge in Melbourne. It's not yet clear when the government will make a decision as to whether Djokovic can stay or not.

Football - There was one game in the English Premier League last night. Southampton beat Brentford 4-1.

In the English Championship last night Fulham thrashed Reading 7-0 away.

There's one game in the Premier League tonight. West Ham play Norwich, while Spurs play Chelsea in the second leg of the English League Cup semi final trailing 2-0 from last week's first leg.

Weather

Clear skies with light to moderate westerly or variable winds. Top temperatures 13-15 degrees. Overnight lows of 3-6 degrees on the coast and -3 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday - Clear skies with highs of 12-14 degrees.

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