Prime Minister to present proposal for regional elections – France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex will this afternoon suggest to the National Assembly a slight postponement of regional elections. With the first round taking place on Sunday June 20th, instead of Sunday 13th and the second round would take place on Sunday June 27th. A majority (56%) of mayors directly consulted by the French government voted in favour of maintaining the regional elections. The National Assembly will vote this afternoon.
First “vaccidrive” opens on outskirts of Montpellier - The first "vaccidrive" in France has opened today on the outskirts of Montpellier. The initiative comes from the Saint-Jean clinic which proposed the project to the prefecture and the Regional Health Agency (ARS) a few weeks ago. The idea is to offer an additional means of being vaccinated. As the facility will offer a modest 200 doses per week to begin with.
The vaccination campaign was extended on Monday in France to all people aged 55 and over, able to receive the AstraZeneca or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The pace of the vaccination campaign is a crucial issue, as France is hit by a violent third wave. The pandemic has killed 99,000 people in France and the number of patients in intensive care continues to increase.
Start of Ramadan under health restrictions - Meanwhile millions of Muslims enter the holy fast of Ramadan today Tuesday 13th April and like last year, it is marked by the health context, with a curfew and the closing of places of worship at 7pm. Religious authorities also advise against grouping beyond the home or among neighbours at the time of "iftar", the daily fast-breaking meal.
Is the Brazilian variant a cause for concern? - Health professionals in France have expressed their concern about the Brazilian variant which is spreading rapidly on the American continent. Currently, its presence seems extremely low in France but health authorities say this “must be monitored closely” along with the necessity to obtain more information to determine “if this virus escapes the immune system, and in particular if it does not risk undermining the vaccine policy".
Many health professionals in France are calling for stronger measures and controls of passengers from Brazil adding that “this cannot be taken lightly”. Meanwhile France’s Minister of Transport Jean-Baptiste Djebbari has said that “it is impossible to suspend flights because of the need to ensure the free movement of French nationals”.
In other news
First nursery unit for autistic children in school in Menton - In September for the first time in Menton, a nursery school will open a teaching unit for autistic children. The René-Cassin nursery school will welcome seven children aged 3 to 6 years. Jean-Marc Messina, academic inspector for the district of Menton, said that the “unit meets a real need”.
Touching tribute to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh - In paying tribute to the passing of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, husband of Queen Elizabeth II the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has expressed the huge sadness and affect the news has had on the city of Nice. A city he claims “is sometimes mistakenly associated with the Latin and Mediterranean landscape, the sun and the blue sky however, on a closer inspection, another cliché emerges, one that associates Nice’s most beautiful artery, La Promenade des Anglais, with the memory of the “English”.
Estorsi speaks of a “long story of loyalty and friendship: from the birth of the Chemin des Anglais in 1824, to its consecration in a magnificent coastal avenue by the Duke of Connaught and the then-Nice Mayor, Jean Médecin, in 1931; from the four winters spent by Queen Victoria in the Nice area of Cimiez in the 1890s to the Château de l’Anglais (Castle of the British) built at the bottom of the Mont Boron area that singles out Nice skyline to this day; from the Lawn-Tennis club of Nice founded by Lord Salisbury to the visits of Sir Thomas Lipton or Jules Reuter; from the city streets names to the statue of Victoria; from the city’s movie settings associated with names such as David Niven, Gary Grant, Roger Moore, Sean Connery, Alfred Hitchcock and Elton John, to the gracious visit, three years ago, of Prince Charles, Honorary Citizen of Nice, and Lady Camilla, these bonds persist, manifold and strong”.
The mayor continues by saying that today, “Nice associates with the people of the United Kingdom in mourning. Prince Philip remains for the Nice people this tall and elegant silhouette, discreet and yet so present, inseparable from his wife, forming with Queen Elisabeth II an indestructible couple, united in joys and sorrows, forged by war and courage. His longevity has brought him into our lives as a symbol of British manners, marked by self-restraint, humour and strength. He almost convinced us of his being eternal. His death is a stark reminder that nothing in this world is set in stone, even on the scale of a long life. For all these reasons, both historic and human, it is with a deep feeling of grief that the City of Nice joins in the mourning of Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and each member of the British royal family”.