French and Riviera News Wednesday 30th September 2020


Scientists denounce new government restrictions - Nearly 300 scientists have denounced the French government’s "disproportionate" measures against Covid-19.

In a column published on Monday on the Médiapart site, nearly 300 scientists, doctors and academics have criticised the latest restrictions decided by the French government against Covid-19 and their dramatic "side" effects calling for “an urgent change to the health strategy”.

On September 23rd, the Minister of Health announced the closure of bars, restaurants and gyms in the Aix-Marseille based on data on the circulation of the virus.

For Doctor Fouché, at the “Hôpital de la Conception” in Marseille Covid-19 only masks the "failures of the hospital system" adding that “the situation is not new and the pressure on hospitals is linked to an under-investment in public hospitals over the last fifteen years to promote the private sector ".

Doctor Fouché concluded that “the reality is that there was one death from the Covid-19 in Marseille this weekend and 27 in the whole of France, while there are on average 1,700 deaths per day in France, 450 deaths from heart disease, 430 from cancer, 110 from respiratory diseases, 27 suicides, 11 road accidents”.

Is Paris heading towards new lockdown? – Meanwhile there is speculation that due to the surging number of Covid-19 the French capital may be heading for “maximum alert” following in the footsteps of Marseille and Aix-en-Provence with total bar and restaurant closures.

Covid-19 infections in Paris are already two and a half times the national average and exceed the government’s own maximum alert threshold of more than 250 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Covid-19 patients in Paris hospitals now account for more than 30 percent of intensive care beds – another threshold the government says qualifies an area for maximum alert.  

Fitness clubs in the region take legal action –The union for sport and fitness centres has attacked the prefect's decision to close establishments in the Alpes Maritimes due to Covid-19 at the Nice Administrative Court.

The hearing will take place today at the Administrative Court of Nice with gym owns requesting that the decision to close sport and fitness centres be overturned.  

Vice-president of the FranceActive union, Guillaume Schroll says that the owners of gyms have made significant efforts in line with health measures required and according to him, are not proven places of the spread of the virus.

If the request is accepted, gym in the Alpes Maritimes could remain open.

Schools closed - A municipality in the Bouches-du-Rhone has closed all its schools because of an outbreak of covid-19 amongst school maintainence staff. The schools in Cuges-les-Pins, near La Ciotat are expected to reopen later this week after disinfection of the facilities has been carried out.

Monaco covid-19 - Two new positive cases for Covid-19 have been reported in the Principality bringing the total number of residents affected by the coronavirus to 214.

Three people were discharged from the Princess Grace Hospital on Tuesday evening with eight patients still being cared for including five residents.

28 people are currently being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.

Princess Grace Hosptial – Meanwhile a new fully digital nuclear medicine department has been inaugurated at the Princesse Grace Hospital in Monaco. The investment, totaling 8.2 million euros, was supported by the Monaco government but also by private donations paid by the Tabor Foundation to the Foundation des Amis du CHPG. For patients all nuclear medicine explorations are now being offered with “Full Digital” support thanks to a nuclear cardiology unit and two new latest generation PET units.

Pampelonne beach - The famous Pampelonne beach in the Var is being prepared for winter. The local council of Ramatuelle says that storms and the violence of the waves have made it necessary to remove the access mats to the sea for people with reduced mobility. However, access is being retained for the moment, at one place near the Patch sector first aid station, which will remain in place until the station closes on October 11.

Sticker album to mark 160th anniversary Nice - To mark the 160th anniversary of the union of Nice with France the city council has revisited the history of the event through a Panini sticker album.

Normally used to collect and trade your favourite footballers or Disney superheroes the stickers albums will this time show historical themes and local traditions. The albums will be distributed to 30,000 nursery and primary school students in Nice.

The Panini group was founded in Italy 60 years ago and the sticker album is a familiar part of childhood.

Weather - Meteo France have warned of storms affecting France at the end of this week. They say that a first depression will reach the north-west of the country from Thursday night to Friday, causing strong gales towards Brittany and the Pays de Loire. Heavy rain is expected in many areas, including the Cote d'Azur, during Friday. The weekend may also see high winds and rain, with thunderstorms still possible in some areas.


Interior Minister's request to prefects - France’s Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, has written to the prefects in France asking that they "systematically escort foreigners" having committed "serious offenses" or "representing a serious threat to public order".

The letter comes four days after the attack perpetrated by a Pakistani national in front of the former premises of Charlie Hebdo.

Brexit - British MPs have approved on Tuesday, September 29 a controversial text by Boris Johnson's government, which proposes to partially reverse the Brexit agreement signed at the end of 2019 by the United Kingdom and the European Union.

This bill, which comes a few weeks before the end of the transition period on December 31, angered Europeans, in the midst of negotiations.

This "Internal Market Bill" was approved in the evening in third reading by the deputies with 340 for and 256 against, paving the way for its consideration by the Lords in the weeks to come.


The Walt Disney Corporation has announced that it’s to lay off some 28,000 workers ,mostly at its US theme parks owning to the economic effects of Covid-19.

In a statement issued on Tuesday ,Disney said that around two third of those being laid off are part-time workers with its California operations worst affected.

Disney shut its theme parks worldwide when the virus started to hit and all but Disneyland in California have now reopened although visitor numbers are being limited for social distancing requirements.

The firm said that it had taken the “very difficult decision” to start the process of reducing its workforce.

Disney cited the limited capacity at its theme parks and uncertainty over the duration of the virus as the main reasons for the layoffs.

The International Air Transport Association has warned that hundreds of thousands of aviation jobs are at risk without more state aid.

The Association which represents 290 airlines ,says that it expects air traffic to be 66 percent lower this year than it was in 2019 and has estimated that it will be 2024 before traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels.

A second surge in Covid-19 cases and fresh government restrictions means that the airline sector has not seen a major rebound.

The travel industry has registered a huge drop in business since the start of the pandemic  and collectively ,airlines ,airports and tour operators have announced thousands of job losses.

The IATA  says that without additional government relief measures and a reopening of borders ,hundreds of thousands of airline jobs will disappear.

And-In the UK ,the Migration Advisory Committee has warned that butchers ,bricklayers and welders are in such short supply that employers should be allowed to recruit from abroad when EU freedom of movement rules end.

The Committee has also warned of shortages in frontline social care staff and nursing assistants.

The shortage occupation  list which highlights jobs that employees are having difficulty in finding workers for includes a minimum salary requirement of 20,480 pounds and also includes engineers ,scientists and social workers.

The government said that it would “consider” the report.


Tennis-Novak Djokovic made short work in reaching the second round of the French Open in Paris ,dropping only 5 games along the way in a straight sets demolition of Mikael Ymer of Sweden.

There were also first round wins for Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev.

In the women’s event the second seed Karolina Pliskova survived a first round scare against Mayar Sherif before coming through in three sets 6-7 6-2 6-4.

There were also first round wins for the 4th seed Sofia Kenin and the 29th seed Sloane Stephens.

Football-There was one 4th round tie in the League Cup in England last night.

Spurs beat Chelsea on penalties after the scores were tied at 1-1 after extra time.

There are four more ties tonight. Newport County play Newcastle .Burnley host Manchester City.Brighton play Manchester United and Everton play West Ham.

Formula 1- Mick Schumacher will be one of three Ferrari academy drivers who will be given Formula 1 race weekend debuts over the coming weeks.

Schumacher ,the son of 7 time world champion Michael Schumacher will drive in first practice at the Eifel Grand Prix at the Nurburgring.

The 21 year old German will drive an Alpha Romeo.

He’s currently in first place in the Formula 2 Championship.

Rugby Union-There was one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England last night. Sale were 34-14 winners at Northampton.

There was potentially bad news for England coach Eddie Jones though with both Manu Tuilagi and Courtney Lawes going off injured.

Lawes suffered an ankle injury in the 8th minute while Tuilagi went off with an Achilles problem on 12 minutes.


Mainly fine with light variable winds.

Top temperature 21-22 degrees.

Overnight lows of 15 degrees on the coast and 9 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow.Rain and Thunder on Friday.Highs of 19-21 degrees.

And Finally

A recent survey in the UK has shown that there are words which mean nothing to under-30s. Researchers found that words familiar to an older generation such as boogie, disco and henceforth are on the decline.

In the survey 40 per cent of those aged 18 to 30 did not know what 'sozzled' meant. 'Wally' was not known by 36 per cent of young people, while 'nincompoop' fell outside the vocabulary of 28 per cent of respondents.



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