French and Riviera News Wednesday 5th May 2021


Covid shows signs of slowing down in France - The number of new daily cases of Covid in France is slowing down, with the week-on-week increase in cases below 3% for a third consecutive day on Tuesday May 4th. The average daily rate of new infections is now down to 20,866, less than half than the 42,000 seen mid-April. The number of people in hospitals with Covid also fell again after two days of increases and was down by 523 to 28,427. The number of people in intensive care units with Covid fell by 126 to 5,504 but remains close to a recent high of over 6,000. France also reported 257 new COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday May 4th, including 243 in hospitals - down from 311 on the previous day.

Vaccination campaign - The French government is gradually unwinding lockdown and curfew measures, hoping that a stepped-up vaccination drive and continued social distancing will bring the epidemic under control. The government says it’s on target to giving 20 million people their first dose of Covid-19 vaccine by mid-May. As of May 1st, nearly 15.8 million people had received a first vaccine dose. At the beginning of the week health officials said more than 3 million doses would be administered this week, compared with 2.7 million last week.

Tourists - Non-EU tourists will be welcomed back to France in June depending on certain health criteria under plans announced by the EU and France. French President Emmanuel Macron said that “from June 9th it will be possible for tourists from non-EU countries to come to France for holidays on conditions linked to their proof of health status”. At present tourism between EU countries is allowed subject to tests and self-isolation in many cases.

Digital Health passes – Meanwhile France is expected to use digital health passes, linked to the TousAntiCovid app and to an EU-wide ‘digital green certificate’ scheme that is currently being developed. The certificate is intended to be a way of proving that a person has had a recent negative Covid test, has been vaccinated with an EU-approved vaccine or has recovered from having the illness. French Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to give more details on the digital health pass next week.

In other news 

Climate change bill - France’s National Assembly has approved a wide-ranging climate change bill that will prevent the expansion of airports, see an end to open-air terrace heaters and reduce packaging waste. As France aims to cut greenhouse emissions by 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels environmental activists say it is “too slow in achieving this”.

The legislation which is to pass to the Senate before a final vote would ban the use of gas heaters on outdoor terraces of cafes and restaurants from April 2022. Schools will have to offer a menu without meat or fish at least one day a week and supermarkets will have to reduce wasteful packaging to cut plastics use. The bill also intends to cut domestic flights on routes served by a train ride of under 2.5 hours and introduce a ban from 2030 on the sale of cars emitting more than 95 grammes of CO2 per kilometre. And landlords will be prohibited from renting out poorly insulated properties.

Parking metres to be put back into use - Motorist in Cannes and Grasse will soon be charged again for street parking. With the end of the daytime lockdown Cannes and Grasse will soon see the return of parking metres. In Grasse the system will be back in operation from Wednesday May 19th and in Cannes from Monday May 24th. During recent lockdowns parking metres had been suspended across the region.

Product recall - The brand "Le Fumoir du Poissonnier" has recalled it’s 100g packets of smoked albacore tuna sold in Grand Frais stores in France due to the potential presence of listeria. In a press release on Tuesday it was announced that the product with a specific manufacturering code FR-974.07.063-CE and a use-by date of May 16th, 2021 must not be consumed. Concerned customers can contact 06 92 25 60 06 for more information.

Man moves border - A group of local historians have discovered that a Belgian farmer, perhaps unwittingly, moved Belgium's border with France. The man moved a 150-kilogram stone to enlarge his land near the Belgian village of Erquelinnes. But in doing so, he also modified the 200-year-old international border defined by the 1820 Treaty of Kortrijk. As a result of his actions, the border was moved enlarging southern Belgian territory. The stone in question, engraved with the date 1819, establishes the border between southern Belgium and northern France. It was created following Napoleon's defeat at the Belgian town of Waterloo in 1815 and before Belgium was formed as a state in 1830.

Fancy an Aston Martin DB5 identical to that of James Bond? - The Artcurial Motorcars here in the Principality has unveiled the first cars registered at its next auction, on July 19th and am