French and Riviera News Wednesday 15th December 2021

News

Health pass - Today December 15th marks a key new step in the vaccine booster campaign in France with the health pass of many French people over 65 becoming void in the absence of a 3rd booster jab against covid. As of today, Wednesday December 15, access to restaurants, cinemas and long-distance transport will no longer be possible for those over 65 whose last dose of vaccine dates back to before May 17th and who have not received the booster jab.

It should also be noted that some people under the age of 65 are also concerned and these are those who were vaccinated with the Janssen's one-dose vaccine before October 17th and are able to receive a booster dose one month after the first injection.

The inclusion of the booster dose in the health pass - if it is a third dose - will be immediate. If, on the other hand, it is a second dose, the new QR code is not delivered until seven days after the new injection.

Faced with the difficulty that many French people over 65 years of age have in finding a slot to receive their booster dose, Prime Minister Jean Castex had announced last week that seniors could receive the injection in a vaccination centre without an appointment. However according to French media 400,000 people are still at risk of having their health pass deactivated today. The next deadline is also set for 15th January for 18–64-year-olds. According to the latest data from the Ministry of Health, nearly 16 million people in France have received the booster jab.

Covid figures - 2,800 patients are currently in intensive care in France due to covid. 63,405 cases were reported on Tuesday 14th December this is the highest figure since April when 84,999 new cases had been registered.

Vaccination for children at risk - Today Wednesday 15th December, also sees the opening of the vaccination for children aged 5 to 11 who are considered to be "at risk" of developing severe forms of covid. This will then probably be generalized on a voluntary basis to all others in the coming days or weeks.

Covid incidence rate on the rise in the Alpes Maritimes - The covid incidence rate continues to rise in the Alpes Maritimes region as the latest figures from Public Health France show that it currently stands at 733 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, nearly reaching July's figure of 757 during the fourth wave. With a 40% increase in the last seven days the number is higher than the national average in France which currently stands at 505.

Corsica calls for additional medical staff - Meanwhile Corsica has called for a reinforcement of medical staff in the island's hospitals after it reported that all intensive care beds are full and other medical interventions will have to be suspended from today until January 6th. The island has 630 cases per 100,000 inhabitants according to the latest health data, an increase in the incidence rate of 41% compared to last week. A total of 263 people have died since the beginning of the epidemic across the island of 340,000 inhabitants, according to the ARS.

Monaco – In Monaco on Tuesday 46 new cases were identified bringing the total number of residents affected since the beginning of the pandemic to 4,160. Seventeen people are currently hospitalised and 181 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Domestic violence on the rise - The Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region has seen a dramatic rise in the number of cases of domestic violence in 2021. With an increase of 47% in the Alpes Maritimes and 70% in the Var both regions are amongst the worst affected in France. This week the Ministry of the Interior released figures nationally showing that complaints filed for sexual violence in France exploded in 2021 with over 224,000 being filed.

Christmas display vandalised in Toulon - Arrests have been made in Toulon in the Var, after festive decorations were damaged and the town's Christmas tree stolen before being abandoned in the city centre. The act of vandalism on the town's Christmas display occurred in the early hours of Tuesday morning. Police were able to identify the culprits thanks to security cameras.

Strike action - Finally there could be complications for hundreds of thousands of French people who are planning to travel by train for the Christmas holidays. Sud-Rail, the CGT and the UNSA have filed a strike notice from 17th to 19th December (the first weekend of holidays) on the south-east axis. The unions intend to put pressure on management and obtain wage increases while negotiations are currently taking place. The south-east axis serves from Paris the cities of Dijon, Besançon, Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Nice, Marseille and Perpignan.

Business

The G7 company has shut down its Tesla Model 3 electric taxis after a serious accident in Paris on Saturday. The group confirmed the decision in a statement on Tuesday. On Saturday night, the Tesla Model 3 lost control in the 13th arrondissement of Paris, leaving seven people seriously injured and three people slightly hurt.  According to police the taxi hit two pedestrians, before smashing into a glass container which, under the shock caused by the speed, was thrown into the air and exploded on the ground and then hit traffic lights, which were also thrown into the air before ending up in a pickup truck in traffic in the middle of a crossroads.

France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has expressed his "indignation" over the suspicion of tax evasion operations by several large French fortunes via trusts in Canada. For several years, the French justice system has been investigating suspicions of tax evasion by large French fortunes who allegedly used trusts to avoid paying wealth tax in France. Speaking on Tuesday Le Marie added that "France has launched all the procedures for several years to obtain the information from the Canadian authorities," assuring that the government was "mobilized" to fight against "fraud or tax evasion".

Despite starting as a joke and largely thanks to billionaire Elon Musk the cryptocurrency dogecoin reached a total valuation of nearly 24 billion dollars on Tuesday. Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla will "accept Dogecoin as a means of payment for some of its products and see how it works". The announcement has obviously pushed up the value of the asset while the main cryptos have been playing a roller coaster for several weeks.

Meanwhile in the UK seven cryptocurrency adverts have been banned by the UK's advertising watchdog. The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says monitoring cryptoassets, like Bitcoin, is a "red-alert priority" following concerns that many ads fail to fully convey the risks of investing. The banned ads included a promotion by a pizza chain and Facebook ads for a large cryptocurrency exchange. The ASA says it hopes to produce new guidance on cryptocurrency advertising.

Sport

Football – In the Premier League Manchester City have reminded us of their title credentials as the champions by thrashing Leeds United 7-0 to claim a seventh successive win and move four points clear at the top of the table.

Under new measures agreed on Tuesday to combat the new covid variant Premier League players and club staff will need to take a lateral flow test every day to get into training grounds. The action is aimed at stemming the rising number of positive Covid cases. The Premier League confirmed on Monday there had been a record 42 positives over the previous seven days.

Cricket - England are optimistic about the second Ashes Test against Australia despite their heavy defeat in the series opener, says captain Joe Root. The tourists lost the first Test in Brisbane by nine wickets after suffering two batting collapses. The second Test - a day-night match in Adelaide - begins on Thursday.

Weather 

Sunny with highs of 16 degrees in the Nice and the Alpes Maritimes with a gentle breeze. Highs of 15 degrees in Saint Tropez and the Var. This evening going down to 6 degrees with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday - Fine with highs of 14-15 degrees.

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