Lunchtime News Monday 20th April 2020

Man falls from 3rd floor apartment - A 27-year-old man has been taken to hospital suffering serious injuries after he fell from a third-floor apartment. The accident occurred on Sunday evening at around 8pm in Vallauris.

Taken to hospital in Nice, an investigation has been opened to determine the cause of the incident.

Scams - The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has warned members of the public to be extremely vigilant due to scams being carried out in the name of “the coronavirus”.

Vulnerable people contacted by phone or SMS, under the pretext of “special services and requiring immediate payments”, connected with the epidemic should never communicate bank details over the phone or by email.

Tax declarations in France - Income tax declarations can be submitted online as of today Monday 20th April. Taxpayers who file their return on paper will be able to file it until June 12th, one month longer than initially planned.

Hospitals using hydroxychloroquine - Brignoles hospital has announced that it is using hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for some patients admitted with coronavirus. The treatment highlighted by Professor Raoult in Marseille, is being used in several hospitals in the region and Brignoles has decided to follow suit.

Since Saturday April 11th, more than 20 people have been treated with this treatment. The beneficiaries are exclusively patients who have been hospitalized in Brignoles.

Published in the Official Journal at the end of March, the treatment is authorized for hospitals. The hospital of Brignoles has added that “only patients with no previous health issues are concerned and those hospitalised who can be followed closely while using the treatment”.

StopCovid App – French politicians have raised their concerns over the introduction of the app StopCovid saying it is a “hastily decided project, which could jeopardize people’s fundamental freedoms”.

French President Emmanuel Macron confirmed that the government was working on the implementation of a digital solution which will allow us to know if "we have been in contact with an infected person".

StopCovid consists in automating this process and deploying it on a large scale with a view to end confinement.

Bluetooth technology, which does not allow geolocation, was chosen to operate StopCovid. However, the protocol was not designed to measure distances, and numerous technical difficulties risk making its reliability questionable. Furthermore, this program can only be truly effective if it is widely used by the population.Yet, its use will be optional, and the elderly, who are the most vulnerable to the disease, are also the least well equipped in terms of technology.

France is not the only one to have had this idea. In Singapore, the government launched the TraceTogether application on March 20th, which works on the same principle.

Economy - According to reports from the French Observatory of Economic Conditions (OFCE) the confinement in France over eight weeks will result in 120 billion euros being lost in activity. The OFCE study shows that "during the confinement period, gross domestic product (GDP) is reduced by 32%", corresponding to five points of GDP over the whole of 2020.

Sanofi France donates 100 million euros - Sanofi France has announced that it wants to participate in the "national effort", beyond their research on a vaccine or the production of drugs.

The president of the company, Olivier Bogillot, has announced this morning "a donation of 100 million euros which will be distributed between public hospitals, nursing homes and certain digital companies who are working against Covid-19 ".

Chinese ambassador has replied to Macron remarks about the epidemic - The Chinese ambassador to France has this morning replied to comments made by French President Emmanuel Macron in an interview on Friday with the Financial Times saying “China is hiding nothing” before adding that  "he understands that the speech of the President of the Republic was distorted by the media and he does not believe that the President intended to accuse China but, rather that he wanted to point out that the French and Chinese systems are different and therefore can’t be compared.

In response to the US press reporting a “possible accidental spread of the virus in Wuhan” the ambassador said  "There is no problem at the P4 laboratory in Wuhan," concluding that  "Those who spread these rumors are journalists or politicians but not scientists."

4% of pupils remain out of reach for teachers - France’s education minister Jean Michel Blanquer has said this morning that his ministry estimates that there is still 4% of pupils which are unable to gain access to education tools which have been made available during the confinement.

Employees in France in “psychological distress” - Meanwhile 44% of employees in France have said that they are in "psychological distress" since the confinement.

The study was carried out by Opinionway and showed a rise of 10 points compared to before the confinement period.

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