Lunchtime News Thursday July 22nd 2021

Fresh restrictions ? – With cases of the new delta variant of coronavirus increasing rapidly ,the prefect of the Alpes Maritimes is to decide whether to reimpose restrictions on movement in the department and more extensive use of facemasks.

On Wednesday ,the French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that it would be up to individual prefects to decide whether increased measures to fight the virus were required.

The infection rate in the Alpes Maritimes is currently 196 per 100,000 people and is growing rapidly.

Bernard Gonzalez is expected to make an announcement on the situation in the department before the end of the week and the prefect of the Var is also due to give an update on the situation and whether any increased measures are necessary.

 

Hospital rates- As the French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed that the country was already in the 4th wave of the pandemic ,close attention is being paid to hospital occupancy.

While ICU units are still well within capacity ,hospitals in the south of France are reporting a steady increase in admissions.

129 patients are currently receiving hospital treatment for coronavirus at hospitals in the Alpes Maritimes including 26 who were admitted on Wednesday. 10 people are in intensive care.

Hospital admissions are also reported to be climbing in the Var and in Monaco.

 

3rd shot- Talk is increasing as to whether a third Covid-19 vaccine shot will be necessary to protect people against the virus this winter.

At the moment ,30 million people in France have had two shots and the government wants 50 million people to have had at least one jab by the end of August.

5 million vaccine doses are due to be administered around the country over the next two weeks but health experts are already considering whether a third injection will be necessary for those who are already fully vaccinated.

It appears that the elderly and those with underlying health issues may well be offered another shot before the winter and there is talk of offering a third jab to everyone sometime in 2022.

 

Pegasus-President Macron has been chairing an urgent defence council meeting this morning to discuss the implications of the growing Pegasus spyware crisis.

Reports this week have suggested that Mr Macron himself was targeted by a client of clients of the Israeli cybersecurity firm NSO although  the Elysee Palace has said that the President’s communications have not been intercepted.

However ,the government spokesman Gabriel Attal says that France is taking the Pegasus story “extremely seriously” and that the government is looking at all angles of cybersecurity with a view to improving its defences.

Earlier this week ,a list of some 50,000 phone numbers was leaked which include several current and former world leaders.

The United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia have both been reported as customers of NSO.

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