Lunchtime News Friday 12th February 2021


Are regional lockdowns on the cards? - As Health Minister Olivier Véran visits Metz today, the government spokesperson Gabriel Attal, has this morning speaking to French media confirmed that a "local lockdown is envisage for the region" which is affected by both the South African and Brazilian variants of Covid. Attal went on to say that "the government is following the evolution of the epidemic which is on a high plateau which seems to be declining, but the variants are a game-changer." With Nice and Toulon among the cities most affected in France by the pandemic Attal also said that if such measures of a local lockdown are taken in Metz "local measures could be taken for other regions of France". 

Boom in transport reservations - Meanwhile there has been a boom in last-minute transport reservations. 800,000 TGV tickets were sold last week ahead of schools in France breaking up for half term. Three quarters of travellers look set to go to the South-East or to the Atlantic coast. The number of seats sold last week is almost as many as for the same period back in 2019. 

Amazon delivery agency in Carros - The American online retail giant Amazon has set up a delivery agency in Carros. The 5,000 square metre delivery agency is set to open this summer. According to the company the new site will receive parcels overnight in order to sort and deliver them the following morning.

Sales of cigarettes on the rise in Menton due to border restrictions - Following travel restrictions due to Covid at the border with Italy the sale of cigarettes’ is on the rise in Menton. According to a map published in 2019 by Public Health France Menton was the region of France with the most smokers. Many smokers pre border restrictions would cross the border paying between 4.50 and 5.70 euros a packet compared to the 10 euros or more for a packet in France.

Three bars closed due to non-compliance to current health measures - Three bars in the Liberation district of Nice have been ordered to close for two months due to non-compliance with current health regulations. The decision came from the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes following controls carried out by police.

Four students test positive - Four students in a third grade class at the Institution François d’Assise-Nicolas Barré have tested positive for Covid-19. The students have self-isolated, in accordance with the procedure recommended by the Monegasque health authorities. Among the four students, according to the first elements of the epidemiological investigation, three could have been contaminated in the school after having been in contact with a classmate positive for Covid-19 following an intra-family contamination. The Prince's Government has therefore decided, as a precautionary measure, to place all students in the class concerned in self-isolation until Friday February 19th inclusive.

Covid cases Monaco - 18 new cases of Covid have been declared in the Principality bringing the total number of residents affects to 1,735 on Thursday 11th February. 61 people are currently hospitalised and ten are in intensive care. 144 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre. 

Monegasque passport - A new, more secure and modern Monegasque passport is to be put into place from March 1st. The new system for producing Monegasque passports by the General Secretariat of the Government will be accompanied by the publication of new booklets with modernized visuals and enhanced security. The functionality of the passports remains unchanged and the delivery method also remains the same and can be consulted at the following address: -passport. For any questions, please contact the Passport Office, General Secretariat of the Government, by phone at 98 98 82 18 or by e-mail at

And Finally 

Today marks Chinese New Year, with billions of people around the world welcoming the start of the Year of the Ox. With the  Year of the Rat coming to a close, the beginning of a new zodiac year is a big moment in Chinese culture. There are five elements in Chinese astrology: Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth. Today marks the year of the Metal Ox.

The meaning is taken incredibly seriously in China and people use it to determine whether or not to make huge life decisions during the year ahead, including getting married, having kids or starting a business. This Lunar New Year marks the official transition out of the Year of the Rat - believed to be one of constant change - and into the Year of the Ox, which is traditionally associated with things moving at a more slow and steady pace.

The Ox is the second animal of the Chinese zodiac and symbolizes hard work, positivity, and fertile harvest. The Ox occurs every 12 years and is the second animal in the Chinese Zodiac calendar.


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