Lunchtime news update Friday 1st May 2020

French President posts message of hope - French President Emmanuel Macron has posted a message of hope this morning on social media to mark the 1st May. The Head of State paid tribute to the workers and sent a message of hope to the French, saying "Together, united, we will overcome this ordeal".

Orange zone for the Alpes Maritimes and the Var - The Alpes Maritimes and the Var have been provisionally classified as an “orange” zone concerning the level of “circulation of the virus” in the region. France’s Minister of Health, Olivier Véran, unveiled the map on Thursday.

The map is aimed at showing the rate of circulation of the virus across France with “red” for the regions the worst hit and “green” for those areas the least affected by the virus.

Three criteria are taken into account to determine if a department is "ready" to be deconfined: the rate of new cases, hospital capacities in intensive care and a "local system of testing as well as detection of contact cases".

By May 7th both the Alpes Maritimes and the Var are expected to switch to red or green.

Coronavirus figures for the region - Since the start of the epidemic, the coronavirus has killed 400 people in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var claiming 6 new victims on Thursday in the Alpes Maritimes, the largest number of deaths in one day since April 24th, according to the Regional Health Agency.

National - Meanwhile on a national level the coronavirus has caused 339 additional deaths in France in the past 24 hours, bringing the total toll to 24,376 deaths since March 1st.

Just over 26,000 patients are hospitalized for Covid-19 with nearly 50,000 patients able to leave hospital since the start of the epidemic.

Four regions in France account for 71% of patients who remain in intensive care, they are the Ile de France (40%), the Grand Est (13%), the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes (9%) and the Hauts-de-France (9%).

Mayor of Hyères announces plan at the end of lockdown - The mayor of Hyères Jean-Pierre Giran, has presented the city’s plan for the end of lockdown announced for May 11th.

The following will be included in the progressive end to the lockdown in France; nurseries are to reopen accommodating a maximum of ten children and priority will be given to those whose parents are both working. Primary schools will also reopen, with 15 children per class and school meals will be free until June.

Markets throughout the town will resume, but only for food products.

Festivals already cancelled until mid-july across France will be banned until 31st July and free parking in the city is to be extended until the end of June.

SBM - Due to the coronavirus pandemic the Société des Bains de Mer in Monaco has been hard hit by the crisis with closure of hotels, bars, restaurants, casinos, shopping centres, as well as the cancellation of many major cultural events. However, as Monaco ends its lockdown progressively from May 4th a spokesperson for the company has said that "if phases 1 and 2 are successful, there are important activities for the SBM which could resume with local customers".

Is a second wave of the coronavirus possible?  - Professor Didier Raoult has said that the threat of a “second wave of the coronavirus is unlikely”. In a video posted on YouTube the professor says that the “theory is made up" before adding that the “epidemic is being closely followed. France has seen a peak and since then has had a continuous decrease".

He continues by deeming the date of May 11th as acceptable for a start of deconfinement. A study "predicts that 97% of the cases in France will have occurred around May 7th, and 99% around May 19th." The doctor from Marseille concludes that "It is likely that by that time, the chances of catching the virus will have become much more unlikely."

Weather warning - Meteo France has placed the Haute-Savoie, Isère and Savoie on an orange weather alert this morning with flood warnings in place.  The warning is in place from 4pm this afternoon until 9pm on Saturday.


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