Lunchtime News Thursday 4th February 2021


Hospitalisations for Covid in the Alpes Maritimes exceed previous figures - Four departments in France have exceeded the thresholds in the number of hospitalisations for Covid including the Alpes Maritimes. As tension grows in hospitals in France some areas have exceeded previous numbers in those being hospitalized.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, there were 741 hospitalisations on Wednesday 3rd February, compared to a peak of around 480 last autumn and 285 last spring. It's a similar situation in the Var, where 583 patients with Covid-19 were admitted to hospital on Wednesday 3rd February, compared to some 460 last autumn and 325 in the spring.

Can France be as responsible during the upcoming holiday period as they were at Christmas? – Meanwhile as French Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Véran are set to hold a press conference today Thursday 4th February at 6pm the French government is hoping that France will act as responsibly as they did at Christmas.

Taking stock of the health situation which according to the government and latest figures is relatively “stable” this evening’s press conference seems “unlikely to give news of a new lockdown or even new stricter measures”. The Prime Minister will however take advantage to call on the French for a general mobilization and responsible behaviour ahead of the holiday period. It will also be the opportunity for the government to announce the next steps in the vaccination campaign and answer questions on who in France will be able to have access to the British vaccine from the AstraZeneca laboratory, once the doses have been received? When will the vaccine arrive on French territory? And by whom, doctors, pharmacists, even midwives, will this vaccine be administered?

More than 26,000 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in 24 hours in France, according to data from Public Health France on Wednesday. The figure for contaminations is the second highest over the past month. The positivity rate is almost stable, at 6.7%.

Police checks on the region’s roads - Police in the region have stepped up checks with 121 motorists being stopped on the A8 motorway at the Antibes paytoll on Wednesday afternoon. Security forces were targeting foreigners who require a negative Covid PCR test of less than 72 hours.  Failure to provide one can result in a 135 euro fine, similar controls were also set up in the Var. Police point out "that those stopped who continue their journey, take the risk of being fined further". They also warn that roads to the regions ski resorts will also see checks being carried out.

Note cross-border workers have the right to move within a radius of thirty kilometers from their place of residence. For example, a person living at the Italian border can go as far as Nice Nord and from Monaco it's as far as Cagnes-sur-Mer.

Protests in Marseille – According to local media nearly 3,500 people have gathered in the Old Port of Marseille this morning as part of a demonstration promoting “social progress and the sharing of wealth” as they protest amongst other things, the pension reform in France, lack of resources in France’s hospitals, and the closure of supermarkets over 20,000m2. The demonstration organized by the CGT, saw other union organisations join forces and take part.

Citadel of Saint-Tropez - Renovation work is planned for the citadel of Saint-Tropez. The emblematic heritage site has ensured the protection of the village for centuries. Currently partially closed to visitors for security reasons renovation work has been launched which aims to give the fortress, bought by the city in 1993, and classified as a historic monument “a new lease of life”.

The Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region has ranked bottom in its efforts for recycling – In the national ranking on waste management (production, recovery, recycling), the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region has ranked last in France.

Despite pressure from environmental associations and activists there is little improvement with the need becoming urgent for things to change. So, the region has recently set itself ambitious short-term objectives. 

The plan is for the three large metropolitan areas in the South East of France Marseille, Nice and Toulon to create a sorting center on their territory before 2022 with a capacity of 60,000 tonnes a year for Marseille and 40,000 tonnes for Nice and Toulon.

Van hits pedestrians in business district of Paris - One man has died, and another has been seriously injured after a van hit pedestrians in the business district of La Défense in Paris. The incident occurred at around 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon. The man driving the vehicle which he had just stolen, was arrested. At this stage there is no suggestion of a terrorist act. An investigation has been opened into the incident.

Employees officially allowed to eat at their desks - A new ruling is to come into effect in France officially allowing employees in France to eat at their desks. Currently forbidden under the workplace protocol, French workers will soon be able to eat lunch at their desks to help maintain social distancing measures in the workplace.

And Finally 

A man who admits to lack of skills earns money doing "nothing". For the past two years Shoji Morimoto has been advertising himself as a person who can "eat and drink, and give simple feedback, but do nothing more."

The 37-year-old Tokyo man has been inundated with more than 3,000 requests from people desperate to hire him. To begin with he provided his "rent-a-person who does nothing" services for free, but he now charges 10,000 yen.




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