Lunchtime News Thursday 7th May 2020

Coronavirus cases - While the number of new cases of coronavirus had remained stable in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region since May 1st, latest figures show that 334 people have tested positive in 24 hours four days ahead of the planned end to the lockdown.

The number of cases of Covid-19 in the PACA to date stands at 15,542.

A slight drop in hospitalizations is observed in the region with 1,366 patients hospitalized, 29 people less in 24 hours.

195 patients are in intensive care. The number of deaths has increased to 758, while 4,130 people have returned home since the start of the epidemic.

On a national level France has registered 137,150 cases of Covid-19, 939 more cases than the day before.

25,809 deaths are to be deplored. 3,147 people are currently hospitalized in intensive care.

Coronavirus testing - Since last Thursday, only the indicators of circulation of the virus and hospital capacities in intensive care are communicated by the French government. The local system for testing and detecting new cases, should be presented today.

France is now moving towards a third indicator which would be the test positivity rate, which would make it possible to establish the real number of cases detected on the number of people suspected of being affected by the coronavirus. Until now the number of sick people was evaluated via the number of emergency admissions.

On May 1st, France’s Director General of Health, Jérôme Salomon set himself the objective of communicating the data for this third indicator this week. However, according to the national coordinator for the deconfinement strategy Jean Castex during his hearing in the Senate on Wednesday, it will only be introduced "gradually from May 11th".

The government promises 700,000 tests per week starting next Monday, but specialists question the reality of this ability. Edouard Philippe must also present at 4 p.m. today the last details of the deconfinement plan in detail, depending on the indicators as well as the health measures.

End of lockdown –Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe is to address the National Assembly today at 4pm to outline the end of the lockdown in France from Monday 11th May.

While many elements linked to the end of the lockdown in France have already been announced detail and clarification on transport, freedom of movement and the rules of quarantine for those arriving in France are still eagerly awaited.

Edouard Philippe will be accompanied by several members of the government including the Minister of Health Olivier Véran, France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and the Minister of Education Jean Michel Blanquer.

Nice International Airport - Nice International airport is currently limited to four daily flights. It’s been announced that a return to normal is pending on clarification from the French government for the deconfinement of airspace.

Since March 16th, Terminal 1 has been completely closed with all flights departing and arriving at Terminal 2. Of the four daily flights three are to Paris, Corsica and London with a third dedicated to repatriation.

As the airport authorities await directives from the state concerning the organization of deconfinement which is hoped to be by mid-June, management and staff are working on implementing sanitary measures to meet the requirements of safe travel.

La Poste - La Poste has said that as from May 11 it will carry out 6 deliveries per week and it's aiming to have all post offices open by the end of May. However, it said that several thousand letters remain blocked in the system since the beginning of confinement but they are gradually being deleivered. La Poste also revealed a new scheme allowing isolated and infirm people to send a letter by handing it to the employee delivering their post, thereby removing the need to visit a post office.

The SNCF has announced several safety measures aimed at protecting travellers from 11 May. Wearing a mask will be compulsory on public transport. Users who do not respect this will risk a fine. Train users will have to bring their own mask as the SNCF will not be providing them. Sanitising gel dispensers will be installed in 165 stations and all trains will be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. The SNCF is also preparing a transport plan which will be announced at the end of this week. Train passengers will be able to know how crowded their train is expected to be the day before their journey by using the SNCF app.

Village grocery shop refuses to sell masks - Shop keepers in the village of Revest-les-Eaux in the Var have refused to sell protective face masks. They argue that “for as long as professionals on the front line such as hospital staff, caregivers and delivery employees are not properly provided in protective equipment it is not reasonable for them to provide them to the general public”.

The village of 4,000 inhabitants is located just outside Toulon. The manager of one shop added “I prefer to lose customers than take advantage of an unprecedented health situation”.



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