Lunchtime News Thursday February 25th 2021

Antibes fire-20 people have been evacuated from an apartment building in Antibes which caught fire in the early hours of this morning.

The fire at the block on the chemin de Rabiac Estagnol is reported to have started in the bedroom of a flat on the first floor of the building .

14 people have been treated for smoke inhalation but there were no serious injuries.

 

Var lockdown ?-Reports in French media suggest that the Var may be the next department to be subjected to a local lockdown to control the spread of Covid-19.

The French Prime Minster Jean Castex will hold a press conference at 6pm to outline the government’s strategy in the fight against the virus.

The Provence Alpes Cote d’Azur region has been highlighted as one of the regions where the virus is spreading rapidly ,especially the new British variant.

Although infection rates in the Var are not as high as the Alpes-Maritimes ,Mr Castex may decide to implement a weekend lockdown in a bid to prevent virus infections from spiralling further.

 

Disagreement-Many local officials continue to express their unhappiness about the weekend lockdown in the Alpes-Maritimes with some suggesting that it will make little difference to the spread of the virus.

The Mayor of Antibes is continuing to call on the prefect to relax the measures and allow people to take 3 hours of exercise at the weekend and not the 1 hour ordered.

So far ,there’s been no response from the prefecture.

 

Waiting game-The new weekend lockdown forms for people needing to go out between 6pm tomorrow and 6am on Monday have still not been published online.

A fresh “attestation derogatoire” which differs from previous forms will be needed for those wishing to leave their homes.

Authorities say that the form will be published before the lockdown starts.When it is , Riviera Radio will share the link here in the local news section.

 

Gardening ?- Many people will want to spend the weekend lockdown tidying up their gardens and getting ready for the summer.

The good news is that garden centres will be open this weekend but the bad news is that there may be restrictions on the sale of some products.

Social distancing will be enforced and numbers of customers inside stores limited -so be prepared to queue.

 

Drug controls-The French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin is visiting Marseilles today with a view to clamping down on the drugs trade.

The last few months have seen an escalation in turf wars between rival drugs gangs with often horrendous violence which is making the lives of ordinary citizens a misery in problem areas.

Increased video surveillance and the equipment of more police with body cameras are among the measures being brought in.

300 extra police are also being drafted in to help bring the situation under control.

Recent drug violence in Marseilles has been described as being “as bad as during the 1980’s” according to the French Institute of Penal Sciences and Criminology and the age of those found guilty by the courts is getting “younger and younger”.

Mr Darmanin says that the police presence will be notably more visible that that there will be more coordinated action between different forces.

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