Lunchtime News Friday 5th February 2021


Brazilian Covid variant identfied in the Var - France's Health Minister has said that four cases of the Brazilian Covid variant have been identified in the Var. Olivier Véran made the announcement during Thursday’s press conference which saw French ministers take stock of the health situation in France. According to reports the four cases were in Toulon. The minister added that the Brazilain and South African variants worry the authorities more than the British variant. 

Dominique Estrosi-Sassone calls for a review of the travel restrictions between France and Monaco - The senator from the Alpes-Maritimes and President of the friendship group between France and Monaco Dominique Estrosi-Sassone has called for the French government to reconsider and review the travel restrictions currently in place between the Principality and France due to the health crisis. Following a tightening on France’s borders, announced by the Prime Minister on January 29th in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid, all those entering or leaving France to or from a country outside of the European Union require a valid reason outlined by the French government. For the inhabitants of the Principality a radius limited of 30km around the Principality has been put in place restricted to 24 hours.t Any travel further than 30km or for a longer period of time is subject to the presentation of a negative Covid test within the last 72 hours along with justification of a “compelling” reason.

In the senator’s press release published on Thursday Estrosi-Sassone says that "It is clear that the reciprocity of measures has been neglected, as Monaco does not prohibit French access to the Principality” adding that “it is necessary to respect the fraternal relations and strong economic and social ties between both France and Monaco”. The senator concludes that she hopes that “common sense will prevail so as not to penalise Monegasques and residents who have professional and family ties in the Alpes-Maritimes beyond the radius of 30 kilometers. "

Several health experts surprised by the government’s decision on the health crisis - As Prime Minister Jean Castex declared that the current health situation in France "does not justify" at this stage a new lockdown during a press conference on Thursday evening, health professionals on the contrary have expressed their astonishment at the status quo chosen by the French government.

According to Professor Gilbert Deray, of the Pitié Salpêtrière hospital in Paris, while France is indeed in a pandemic wave, “health is no longer a priority in decisions that are made by the Head of State”. Adding “that the only way to end the pandemic is to introduce a complete lockdown”.

Meanwhile this morning the head of France's hospital federation has also called for a new nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections, in the latest sign of tensions between the government and health officials on the issue. Frédéric Valletoux, who is also mayor of Fontainebleau said that while the situation in hospitals was under control for now, it remained "very tense" in many areas.

Lot-et-Garonne - French Prime Minister Jean Castex is to visit the southwestern Lot-et-Garonne region today following serious flooding in recent days after Storm Justine hit the department. The head of the government is to see rescue operations in progress and meet with local government officials. The Garonne reached a height of 10.20 metres this week, a level not seen for 40 years and just short of the record set in 1875 of 11.39 metres.



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