Lunchtime News Tuesday 26th January 2021

News

Eric Ciotti calls for the government to “stop procrastinating” - Local MP Eric Ciotti has criticised what he calls the French government’s “procrastination” in the face of Covid health crisis. While speaking to French media this morning Ciotti pleaded, for an acceleration in the response to the health crisis saying that "We must move forward with the vaccination” campaign and calling on the government “to diversify dose orders and to modify the vaccination strategy by targeting all caregivers so that the hospitals can hold out and resist”.  Ciotti also called for an “end to stop and go lockdowns which fail each time” adding that France is “always lagging behind countries which have been more successful". On the closure of schools he suggested that extending the February holidays was “probably a solution. "

Will seasonal rentals be banned in Nice for the February holidays? - The National Union for the Promotion of Holiday Rental (UNPLV) has said that they are still awaiting an answer from the mayor of Nice concerning the possible ban on seasonal rentals in Nice. The announcement on 13th January on social media caused quite a stir with Christian Estrosi declaring that “he wanted to ban seasonal rentals in Nice during the winter holidays in order to put in place "reinforced protection measures on travel, a main factor of contamination".

Almost two weeks later, no official action has been taken and professionals in the sector are concerned. The UNPLV, represents 80% of those using seasonal rentals such as Airbnb or Abritel.

Teachers strike action - Teaching unions across France have called for strike action today in protest against the “lack of a reinforced health protocol against Covid, as promised by the French government”.

From nursery schools to universities, teachers have been called to strike today by several unions. Among the demands, salaries, job cuts next year in secondary education and the management of the health crisis.

History teacher Nicolas Cabrolier describes the situation as a “complete joke” and that the reinforced protocol talked about by the Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer, “is far from being a reality in French schools” before adding that in his class "there are several Covid cases and we don't know when or if, the class will be closed”. Concluding that “We have no clear information on the subject."

This lack of transparency and resources in the face of Covid-19 is also denounced by nursery schools already overwhelmed. Today’s demonstration in the French capital will start at the Jardin du Luxembourg, heading to the Ministry of National Education.

Vaccination in France - Speaking to French media this morning France’s minister of health has reiterated that the “spacing between the two doses of the Pfizer vaccines is currently 3 to 4 weeks” and that the debate to increase this period to six weeks to increase the number of first time vaccines does not according to the Minister, “achieve the consensus of the scientific community”.

Meanwhile the British government is now assuring that vaccination would not be affected in the UK by delivery delays in Europe. The secretary of state for the vaccination campaign Nadhim Zahawi, speaking to the UK press this morning said "I am confident that AstraZeneca and Pfizer will both provide us with the quantities we need to reach our target by mid-February."

The UK government is expected to make an announcement later today on mandatory hotel quarantine as the government tries to suppress new variants of coronavirus.

Threat to the supply of Carambars - Production is at a standstill at the Carambar sweet factory in the North of France which faces action from employees. Due to strike action against a drop in wages considered “unacceptable” by unions, the conflict has been on going for several months in the historic factory created in 1954 and the only one in the world to produce the iconic caramelized stick.

Management had at the end of last year announced the planned closure of its site near Lille in favour of a move to a town nearby along with “wage cuts”. One spokesperson concludes that “failure to find a solution between management and unions is slowing production down and could result in a shortage carambars”.  

 

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