French and Riviera News Wednesday 26th August 2020

Local

Covid -19 weekly report shows four deaths and a rise in the number of intensive care patients - The weekly report from the Regional Health Agency has shown that four people have died in the past week from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes and seven have been admitted to intensive care.

The deaths come after nearly a month with no deaths from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes, the last one was declared on July 30th. To date the coronavirus has claimed 259 lives in the region.

The intensive care unit has seen an increase in the number of people admitted with 7 people currently being cared for and from the 18th to Tuesday 25th August 53 people were hospitalised in the Alpes Maritimes suffering from Covid-19 bringing the total number of people hospitalised to 73.

Figures show that the incidence rate, calculated from the results of virological tests carried out on a sample of the population, is 97.4%. A sign that the increased testing is not the only cause of the rise in cases.

Six new coronavirus cases in Monaco – Meanwhile six new cases of Covid-19 have been declared on Tuesday in the Principality. To date 121 residents have been affected by the coronavirus in Monaco. One resident is in intensive care and so far, 85 have recovered with 31 people being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

The Cipriani closes its doors due to coronavirus - The chic Italian restaurant the Cipriani here in Monaco has announced its decision to close immediately after two positive cases of coronavirus were declared amongst staff. The Cipriani, which is expected to remain closed for two weeks, follows in the footsteps of  the Sass Café which remains closed until further notice.

Marseille closes bars from 11pm and wearing a mask throughout the city becomes obligatory - The prefect of the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region has announced increased measures in the fight against Covid-19 with the obligation to wear a mask throughout Marseille and the closure of bars and restaurants at 11pm throughout the Bouches-du-Rhône.

The new measures will come into effect from today at 11pm and were announced as the region sees a sharp acceleration of the coronavirus epidemic.

Tourism professionals in a state of shock following decision to cancel Cannes Yachting Festival - Cannes tourism professionals have said that they are in "a state of economic and psychological shock" following the cancellation of the Cannes Yachting Festival.

Christine Welter, president of the industry’s union has in a letter addressed to the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez expressed the disbelief that organizers went from a situation which complied with sanitary standards  with the regional health agency to outright cancellation and has asked for an explanation.

Could Switzerland impose quarantine - Following the announcement that Germany has imposed testing and a quarantine for anyone returning from the Paris region or the Côte d’Azur there are reports that Switzerland could follow suit. Switzerland could well be the next country as it reviews its instructions on travel to France, according to local media.

Grand Depart Tour de France 2020 - As Nice prepares for the Grand Depart of the Tour de France 2020 this weekend, motorists have been warned of numerous traffic restrictions that will be in place from Saturday to Monday. The authorities advise anyone wishing to use their car to either take the Voie Mathis or the A8 motorway.

National 

Scientific Council says that we are entering into the management of a long lasting epidemic - The president of the Scientific Council Jean-François Delfraissy has this morning said on French radio that “the Scientific Council, was not very optimistic of a return to normal life in the short or medium term and that with Covid-19 we have entered into the management of a long lasting epidemic”.

Jean-François Delfraissy went on to explain that we will have to learn to live with the risks associated with Covid-19.

On the other hand, he assures us that in France we will never return to a generalized lockdown. Saying that for “the Scientific Council this is not an option before adding that while politicians decide society wouldn’t accept it”.

Sunbathing topless – Following an incident in which French police patrolling a beach in the seaside town Sainte-Marie-la-Mero near Perpignan, asked a group of topless sunbathers to cover up in response to a complaint from a family France’s, interior minister Gerald Darmanin, has since defended the “precious” right to sunbathe topless on beaches in France.

Police have since acknowledged that their actions had been “clumsy” but said the officers only wanted to calm the situation, insisting there had been no official order to ban topless sunbathing in the town.

But their actions prompted an avalanche of criticism on social media, where users wondered if the practice was now out of bounds.

Topless sunbathing in France is legally not considered to be sexual exhibitionism and while it used to be rather popular, surveys show, that younger French women tend to keep their tops on with the French less willing to sunbathe topless than some other Europeans, such as Spanish or German women.

Business

Virgin Atlantic has won backing from its creditors for a £1.2bn rescue plan that would secure its future for at least 18 months and save 6,500 jobs.

Virgin Atlantic said the agreement puts it in a position to "rebuild its balance sheet" and "welcome passengers back".

It had warned it would run out of cash by September without the deal.

The company will now need approval from the High Court in London, which it will seek on 2 September.

The £1.2bn rescue deal involves £400m in new cash, half of which will come from its main shareholder, Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group.

Meanwhile American Airlines has said it will cut 19,000 jobs in October when a government wage support scheme extended to airlines during the pandemic comes to an end.

Other carriers have warned of similarly large cuts amid a slump in air travel.

United last month said as many as 36,000 jobs were at risk.

Germany's Lufthansa has warned it may cut 22,000 positions, while British Airways is slashing 12,000 jobs.

And – “Finger Lickin’ Good” to become a thing of the past as the global fast food giant KFC announces it’s halting the slogan given the current environment and hygiene advice because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company has altered its packaging, but KFC said the phrase would return when the time was right.

KFC outlets closed temporarily in March, but most have now reopened.

Some people commented on social media the slogan was not a health hazard as you were already eating with your own hands.

KFC, which was founded in the 1930s opened its first franchise in the 1950s and has used the Finger Lickin' Good slogan since then.

Sport

Football - The Argentina international and six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi has asked to leave Barcelona this summer leading to rumours that both Paris Saint Germain and Manchester United are in a position to sign him.

The legendary Barcelona forward who made his debut at the club in 2004 has asked to exercise a clause in his contract, allowing him to leave for free with immediate effect.

Barcelona, though, believe the clause has now expired and Messi is contracted to the club until 2021 with a 700m euro buy-out clause.

And – England manager Gareth Southgate has withdrawn Harry Maguire from the squad for September's Nations League games against Iceland and Denmark.

Southgate made the decision after the Manchester United captain was given a suspended sentence of 21 months and 10 days in prison after his trial.

The 27-year-old England defender was found guilty of repeated bodily harm, attempted bribery, violence against public employees and insult after arrest on Mykonos.

Cricket - England's James Anderson has become the first fast bowler to reach 600 Test wickets.

The 38-year-old achieved the milestone on the fifth day of the final Test against Pakistan at Southampton which saw England settle for a draw.

The Lancashire man made his Test debut in 2003 and has earned 156 caps.

Tennis - British number one Johanna Konta reached the Western and Southern Open quarter-finals with a straight-set win over former champion Vera Zvonareva.

Konta, produced another powerful performance to win 6-4 6-2 against the Russian qualifier, who is ranked 270th.

The eighth seed broke three times, with her own serve rarely under threat, to triumph in an hour and 21 minutes.

Weather

Sunny with highs of 28 degrees along the coast in Nice, Monaco and Menton reaching up to 31 degrees inland in Tende.

Highs of 37 degrees in Saint Tropez, 36 in Draguignan, 33 in Toulon and 34 in Marseille with a light variable wind.

This evening going down to 20 degrees in the Alpes Maritimes and 19 in the Var with clear skies.

The outlook for Thursday and Friday remaining much the same tomorrow becoming increasingly cloudy by Friday afternoon with thundery showers forecast across the Alpes Maritimes by Friday evening.

 

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