Lunchtime News Friday 19th February 2021


Covid in the Alpes Maritimes - The Regional Health Agency has reported 13 new deaths from Covid-19 in the Alpes-Maritimes with the number of patients in intensive care reaching a new record. Since the start of the pandemic the coronavirus has claimed 1,372 victims in the Alpes Maritimes, 980 in hospitals, 392 in nursing homes. 316 people are currently hospitalised and 114 people are in intensive care, hospital services are close to saturation with an occupancy rate close to 94.5%. The incidence rate in the Alpes-Maritimes is the highest in France with 493 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants declared over the last seven days. Since the start of the vaccination campaign, 39,892 people in the Alpes Maritimes have received the first dose of the vaccine against Covid-19.

Health situation on Côte d’Azur described as “very worrying” - It was during a press conference on Thursday 18th February, that  France’s Health Minister Olivier Véran said that the health situation in Nice is currently “very worrying”. The minister is to visit Nice tomorrow Saturday 20th February, and is expected to announce measures for patients care and the monitoring of long covid. 

Covid sniffer dogs - France has begun trials on members of the public using sniffer dogs to detect Covid-19. 2,000 young people have taken part in the tests. The trials come amid hopes that the dogs could be used to help identify positive people in crowded places such as airports and universities.

Music festivals - "It's hard to imagine 5,000 hard rockers sitting on a chair" says the director of Hellfest Summer festivals as France’s culture minister announced that summer festivals will be authorised under certain conditions despite Covid restrictions. Ben Barbaud says the conditions are sadly not compatible with hard rock concerts.

Minister of Culture Roselye Bachelo indicated that outdoor summer festivals can take place provided they limit their size to 5,000 people seated because of the Covid-19 coronavirus. The minister insisted on the fact that she was also going to accompany festivals which will not be able to adapt to the measure.

In other news 

Nice city council plans introduce new speed limit in city centre - The city council of Nice has announced plans to introduce a 30km speed limit for certain areas of the city centre. The measure has already been introduced in other areas of the region such as Mouans Sartoux and more recently in Hyeres in the Var. The city would like to see the speed limits in place by 2026.

Former French government minister sent to jail - Former French government minister and mayor Georges Tron has been sent to jail after an appeals court overturned a not-guilty verdict from 2018 and convicted him of raping and sexually assaulting an employee after forcing her to submit to "foot massages" in his office. Tron was re-elected as mayor of the Paris suburb of Draveil for the fifth time in 2020.

Mother gives birth after uterus transplant - A 36-year-old mother who underwent a uterus transplant has given birth to a healthy baby girl at a hospital outside of Paris. It's the first successful birth after such a transplant in France. Such births are extremely rare but not unprecedented. The baby, a girl weighing 1.845 kilogrammes, was born last Friday, according to the team at the Foch hospital.

And Finally

A wanted man in the UK, has handed himself in to police rather than spend any more time in lockdown with the people he lives with. The man volunteered himself to officers on Wednesday afternoon in a bid for some 'peace and quiet', police said.

Being cooped up in the pandemic has led many to yearn for some space from the people they share homes with.But the man appears to have got to the point where even a return to prison was preferable.

A study in the UK released in October 2020 found that over half of the population said they had felt anger towards people they know because of their behaviour in relation to the coronavirus pandemic. The research, by King's College London and Ipsos MORI, also found that nearly a quarter of people had argued with friends or family about their behaviour amid Covid-19 restrictions. The research found that one in 12 said they were no longer speaking to a friend or relative because of disagreements.

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