French and Riviera News Wednesday 2nd February 2022

News

Easing of covid restrictions - From today February 2nd, wearing a mask outdoors, teleworking and limitations on the number of people at public gatherings, are no longer mandatory in France. The move comes as part of an easing of covid restrictions. Both teleworking and wearing a mask outdoors are still recommended, when possible, especially wearing a mask in crowded situations.

No change in Monaco - In Monaco no changes to restrictions have yet been announced and wearing a mask outdoors, for the time being, remains mandatory and teleworking is still in place until March 4th. On Tuesday the Principality identified 143 new cases of covid and announced the death of a 92-year-old resident who had tested positive for covid. Since the beginning of the pandemic 8,502 residents have been affected and 48 have died. The government has expressed its deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased, assuring their "full support at this painful time". 83 people are currently hospitalised and 310 are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.

Latest figures for the Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile the latest figures for the Alpes Maritimes have shown that the health situation is stabilising in the region despite an increase in the number of hospitalisations. In a statement published on Tuesday the Regional Health Agency evokes that the "circulation seems to be stabilising with the incidence rate beginning to decline". On 1st February, 337 patients were hospitalized in the Alpes-Maritimes due to covid and hospital mortality remains very high with 56 deaths recorded in one week. Since the beginning of the epidemic, Covid-19 has caused 2,568 deaths (including 492 in nursing homes) in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Government ministers to meet today - As restrictions are lifted today in France, French President Emmanuel will meet with cabinet ministers. Government ministers are set to discuss the state of the covid epidemic as one leading emergency doctor warns that "the epidemic is not over".

Subvariant of Omicron BA.2 more contagious - A Danish study, a country where the "subvariant" of Omicron BA.2 is largely dominant, has claimed that the latter is more contagious than the original. Unvaccinated people are also more likely to be infected with the subvariant compared to Omicron. The study shows that if someone in your household is infected with BA.2, there is an overall 39% risk that another member of the household will be infected within the first week. On the other hand, if the person is infected with BA.1, the risk is 29%," said the Danish Infectious Diseases Control Authority (SSI). The study further shows that vaccinated people, and especially those who have received a booster, are much less likely to be infected.

Future crisis for people in emergency accommodation in France - In its annual report on poor housing in France, the Abbé Pierre Foundation has warned of a "future crisis". In what is being described as a "bitter assessment of Emmanuel Macron's term in office" figures from the association show that there are currently 300,000 people living in emergency accommodation as the number of homeless people has exploded in France. This figure has reportedly doubled in the last ten years and tripled in the last year. Poverty and Covid, unfortunately, go hand in hand. According to figures from the Abbé Pierre Foundation, at least 300,000 men, women and children do not have a home. "Among them, 27,000 would be homeless, 180,000 in general accommodation, and 100,000 accommodated in the national system of reception of asylum seekers."

Sharp rise in number of drug seizures in France - Government figures released this week have shown a sharp increasing in the number of drug seizures in 2021 with a record level of cocaine being seized in France. Customs seized a total of 115 tons of narcotics last year. Cannabis remains the most seized drug by customs, with more than 74 tons intercepted, up 24% year-on-year. In 2021 customs tightened its controls on e-commerce to uncover previously poorly understood trafficking.

National Theatre of Nice  - Workers have started taking down the National Theatre of Nice with the removal of a monumental artwork in the forecourt of the Mamac last night, as Niki de Saint Phalle's "Loch Ness Monster" was removed by crane. The demolition of the site is expected to begin soon.

High pollen count in PACA region - Atmosud has warned of a particularly "high&quo