French and Riviera News Wednesday 25th November 2020


Easing of lockdown in France - French President Emmanuel Macron has given a much-awaited televised speech on Tuesday evening defining the current “health situation” in France and the “next three phases in easing lockdown”. The President started by saying that data showed that Covid-19 cases were slowly declining reaching an average of 20,000 new daily cases. Since the start of the pandemic France has reported more than 2.2 million cases and more than 50,000 confirmed coronavirus-related deaths.

While the President thanked the French people for their efforts in respecting restrictions to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the work of carers and hospital staff, he insisted that the “coming weeks were of great importance” insisting that this “year’s festive season will be like no other” before adding that “We must continue our efforts, to avoid a third wave, a third lockdown”.

The first phase of easing of the current lockdown measures is to come into effect from Saturday 28th November with shops and services able to reopen including hairdressers and estate agencies. The “attestation” will still be required for circulating outdoors however the time is extended from 1 hour to 3 and the distance from 1km to 20. School outdoor activities will be able to resume along with religious services, albeit with a restricted number of people present. Macron emphasized that “staying at home as much as possible was still the priority encouraging employees to continue working from home as much as possible and when possible”.

The second phase planned for December the 15th and only applicable on the condition that the number of new cases of Covid-19 is below 5,000 and the number of intensive care patients less than 3,000, will see the end of lockdown and an introduction of a curfew from 9pm to 7am (excluding Christmas Eve and New Years Eve). People will be able to travel from one region to another to spend Christmas with the family in small groups, however the President did not mention international travel. From this date cinemas, theatres and museums will be able to reopen under strict health protocols.

Concerning ski resorts the President said that a decision is still to be made but that is seemed unlikely that the reopening would take place until the beginning of next year at which point, the third and final phase will be introduced on January 20th (again only if the health situation allows), seeing gyms, restaurants and bars reopen. High schools will also be able to "fully open, with all the students" and universities will follow two weeks later.

The President said that while everything is being done to be able to introduce large scale vaccination by the end of December, it will not be made obligatory.

Prime Minister press conference on Thursday - French Prime Minister Jean Castex is to hold a press conference tomorrow morning to give more detail on Emmanuel Macron's announcements concerning the relaxation of lockdown.

Complaint against Professor Didier Raoult dismissed by the prosecutor’s office in Marseille - The Marseille prosecutor's office has dismissed a complaint about Professor Didier Raoult's clinical trials. In a press release on Tuesday, the prosecutor’s office announced that two reports made in April of clinical studies carried out by the University Hospital of Marseille on hydroxychloroquine were dismissed.

To justify its decision, the prosecution explains that in the context of an epidemic caused by an emerging virus, and therefore little known, no drug had, at the time, yet been authorized to treat Covid-19. Authorized drugs could therefore regularly be used outside of being approved as part of the treatment of COVID-19. Consequently, the case was dismissed.

Elected officials under investigation - Two elected officials close to the Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi, are part of a preliminary investigation for embezzlement of public funds. Following a report from the regional chamber of accounts, a preliminary investigation relating in particular to the hiring of the two elected members of Nice has been opened. The report raises questions related to the hiring of the two elected members of Nice, Pierre-Paul Leonelli deputy mayor of Nice and Lauriano Azinheirinha, former deputy mayor, and today director general of services of the Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolis. Pierre-Paul Leonelli defended himself from any fictitious job and claimed to receive remuneration "well below the legally authorized maximum”.

Warning siren tests in Antibes - Authorities in Antibes are reminding locals that a new warning siren is being tested this Thursday morning. The new siren, installed on Chemin des Groules in La Brague, was set up as part of the fight against flooding in the area. The test is scheduled for 9am on Thursday.

Fisherman of Nice - Due to lockdown and faced with the closure of restaurants the fishermen of Nice are s