French and Riviera News Wednesday 5th January 2022

News

French President vows to make life difficult for those who refuse to get vaccinated - French President Emmanuel Macron has faced strong criticism from political opponents after warning on Tuesday January 4th that he intends to make life difficult for people in France who have not been vaccinated against covid. Macron told Le Parisien newspaper "I really want to hassle them, and we will continue to do this - to the end". But political opponents have said that the strong language he used in the interview was not worthy of a president.

The bill, which would bar unvaccinated people from much of public life in France, was suspended for a second consecutive day at the National Assembly on Tuesday by opposition MPs uniting against the government. The legislation was expected to be approved in a vote this week. MPs have however raised the threshold required for the vaccination pass to 16 instead of 12. The amendment was adopted almost unanimously with 386 votes in favour and two against.

France has one of the highest Covid vaccination rates in the EU, with more than 90% of the adult population double-jabbed.

New record number of covid cases in France - On Tuesday a new record number of covid cases were declared in France, with 271,686 positive screenings in 24 hours according to data from Public Health France. The highest figure to date was on December 31st with 232,200 cases. Faced with this increase in cases, the pressure in hospitals continues to increase. 20,186 patients were hospitalized due to Covid-19 on Monday. In total, 3,665 patients are currently in critical care, 299 more than the day before.

Monaco declares 40th death from covid and 108 new cases - Meanwhile here in Monaco an 86-year-old resident who tested positive for covid has died. Since the start of the covid health crisis, 40 people living in the Principality have died after being infected with the virus. The Prince's Government reiterates the importance of being vaccinated against covid.

The Prince's Government expresses its most sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the victim and assures them of its full support in these painful times.

One hundred and eight new positive cases of covid have been identified in Monaco on Tuesday. The number of residents affected since the beginning of the health crisis now stands at 5,397. 45 people are currently in hospital and six other patients, including a resident, are being treated in intensive care. 327 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center which medically supports patients, with few symptoms, who are asked to confine themselves at home.

Screening campaign in Monaco - As announced last week, the princely government is launching a major screening campaign for covid as people return to work and school. 50,000 self-covid tests have been made available to companies in the Principality in order to provide each employee with a free test. Company bosses are invited to make the request online through the service which was activated on Tuesday morning at the following address https://teleservice.gouv.mc/distribution-autotests-entreprises/.

New IHU variant identified in Marseille - According to the hospital of Marseille a new variant of covid has been discovered in their establishment on a patient returning from Cameroon. According to hospital management twelve people are now positive with the variant. French Researchers have declared the discovery made three weeks ago for the variant named "IHU". In a pre-study they explained; that the patient carrying this variant, vaccinated against covid returned from a trip to Cameroon and then "developed mild respiratory symptoms the day before the diagnosis". Researchers say that for the time being due to lack of evidence, there is nothing to say about the variant and its impact on the epidemic in France and around the world. Adding that for the moment, Omicron and Delta are the dominant variants in France.

Mayor takes measures due to air pollution - The mayor of Saint-Chamas in the Bouches du Rhone has asked school directors to ban students from going outside during playtime and has closed outdoor sports centres due to air pollution caused by a fire at a recycling centre which occurred ten days ago. The inhabitants of Saint-Chamas and the surrounding area have been suffering the consequences of the blaze, which mobilized sixty firefighters. Saint-Chamas is a town of about 8,000 inhabitants on the banks of the Etang de Berre, about fifty kilometers from Marseille.

Lemon Festival and Nice Carnival - The 88th Lemon Festival of Menton has been partially cancelled. The city council made the announcement on Tuesday evening saying that parades will be cancelled but other activities have been maintained. The festival had already been shortened in 2020 and cancelled in 2021 due to the health crisis. Meanwhile the mayor of Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has confirmed that the Nice Carnival, scheduled for 11-27 February, will go ahead. 

Business

Data tracking from two leading US payroll managers suggests that record numbers of workers leaving their jobs and a slowdown in hiring may mean that the recent surge in cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus is denting labour supply. Hiring data tracked by Homebase and UKG showed unemployment edging down through December, coinciding with a record outbreak of coronavirus infections driven by the Omicron variant.

Meanwhile, fresh government data for November shows record numbers of workers walking away from their jobs particularly from low paid and front-line service sector positions where health risks are considered to be more acute. Economists say that with job vacancies still at near record levels and consumer demand holding up, firms could come under more pressure to increase wages and lead the US Federal Reserve to conclude that its goal of "maximum employment" is close to being met.

General Motors has lost its position as America's top car seller for the first time in 90 years. The US automotive giant has lost spot to Toyota of Japan which sold 2.3 million more vehicles than its rival last year. General Motors said that a 13 percent drop in sales last year had been driven by the widespread shortage of semiconductor parts that's been affecting the entire car industry. GM had ranked as America's number one seller since 1931 and has vowed to "bounce back". Analysts say that they expect the number of new cars sold in the United States last year to have increased by around 2 percent last year compared with 2020 when buyers were in short supply because of the onset of the pandemic.

European gas prices rose by more than 30 percent on Tuesday, raising concerns about the cost of domestic heating bills. Russia has denied using its vast gas resources to turn the screw on Europe after gas coming through the Yamal-Europe pipeline reversed direction three days before Christmas. The flow has now been going eastwards for 15 days after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Germany of reselling Russian gas to Poland and Ukraine rather than using it to relieve domestic price pressure. The German government has so far refused to comment. The benchmark Dutch front-month gas contract jumped by 32 percent on Tuesday to 95 euros 20 per megawatt hour. Benchmark prices have skyrocketed 5 fold since January 2021, squeezing consumers and businesses and threatening the region's economic recovery.

Sport

Cricket - It's day one of the fourth Test between Australia and England in Sydney with rain affecting much of the day's play. Australia won the toss and decided to bat and had reached 56-1 when the rain stopped play. David Warner was the only man to go, caught by Crawley off the bowling of Stuart Broad for 30. Australia have an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five match series and are looking to impose a whitewash. Play resumed shortly after tea but more showers are forecast.

India lead South Africa by 58 runs heading into the third day of the second Test in Johannesburg. On day 2 South Africa were bowled out for 229 in their first innings with the tourists reaching 85-2 at stumps in their second innings.

Tennis - World number one Novak Djokovic will defend his Australian Open title despite being unvaccinated after being granted a medical exemption. The decision by Australian Open chief Craig Tiley has raised some eyebrows but he says that Djokovic has not been granted any favours. Under the entry rules, all players and staff attending the tournament must be vaccinated or have an exemption granted by an independent medical panel. Tennis Australia says that the world number one has been granted an exemption after a "rigorous review process" involving two separate independent panels of medical experts.

Football - Chelsea play Spurs at Stamford Bridge tonight in the semi-final first leg of the English League Cup. The match will see the return of Antonio Conte to Chelsea for the first time since he ended his spell as manager in 2018.

Meanwhile Liverpool have asked for their semi-final against Arsenal on Thursday to be postponed because of a coronavirus outbreak at the club. Liverpool cancelled training on Tuesday with several new cases of the virus being detected in players and staff.

Weather

Partially cloudy with a moderate to strong Mistral across the Var. Top temperature 12-14 degrees. Overnight lows of 8-11 with thunderstorms and rain forecast for the Alpes-Maritimes.

Thursday and Friday - Mainly fine with highs of 10-13 degrees.

And Finally 

According to a new study, skateboarding in middle age can help people navigate depression, bond with their children and gain 'spiritual meaning'. A researcher in the UK has found that aside from the beneficial physical benefits, taking part in skateboarding alleviates mental health issues and gives 'profound meaning in a spiritual sense. Popularity of this lifestyle sport is increasing since the first Covid-19 lockdown, thanks in part to its new status as an Olympic sport since last year. Sky Brown, the world's youngest professional skateboarder at 13, became Team GB's youngest Olympic medallist ever when she won a skateboarding bronze in Tokyo. The first skateboards, created in California, had handles to make them easier to handle.

Last local news

Evening Update Wednesday 25 January 2022

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has said that the peak of the current Covid-19 wave has not been reached. However, he added that "we can ... Evening Update Wednesday 25 January 2022 Read More

26/01/2022

Lunchtime News Wednesday 26th January 2022

A 16-year-old boy has been stabbed in Arles. The incident occurred on Tuesday January 25th, shortly after 6.30pm at a bus station in the city centre. ... Lunchtime News Wednesday 26th January 2022 Read More

26/01/2022

French and Riviera News Wednesday 26th January 2022

The Regional Health Agency has confirmed on Tuesday 25th January, that the Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of covid in the Provence Alpes C... French and Riviera News Wednesday 26th January 2022 Read More

26/01/2022

Evening Update Tuesday 25 January 2022

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that nine million people could lose their vaccination pass on February 15 if they don't take action. The... Evening Update Tuesday 25 January 2022 Read More

25/01/2022

Lunchtime News Tuesday 25th January 2022

The president of the Scientific Council in France Jean-Francois Delfraissy has said that “2022 will still be a difficult year due to covid”. ... Lunchtime News Tuesday 25th January 2022 Read More

25/01/2022