Lunchtime news update Tuesday 28th April 2020

Genoa bridge – This morning the final section of the new bridge in Genoa was laid, 18 months after the collapse of the bridge which killed 43 people.

Despite the lockdown imposed since March 10th in Italy, construction of bridge continued day and night in Genoa, The installation of the last piece is a kilometer long, spanning over part of the city.

Cameras to detect those wearing masks in Cannes - Cannes City Council has installed a system to detect masks in public places. The city has decided to experiment with a French technology which has been set up since Thursday April 23, in the city’s markets. The system can detect people who may or may not be wearing a mask in public spaces using small cameras and mini computers that process the images locally.

Nice Jazz Festival cancelled - This year’s Nice jazz festival, which was to be held from July 17 to 21, has been cancelled due to the coronavirus epidemic.

According to the city council the decision was taken "given the current health crisis affecting summer festivals". The event had already been canceled in 2016 after the attack of July 14.

The Antibes Jazz à Juan festival has also been cancelled. The event which was to celebrate its 60th birthday this summer is postponed to July 2021.

 Coronavirus - The latest figures show that 14,397 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region with 159 new cases of Covid-19 being detected in 24 hours.

The number of people being admitted to hospital continues to drop with 1,710 people positive for the Covid-19 hospitalized, 5 fewer people in 24 hours.

291 patients are in intensive care and 656 patients have died, while 3,459 people have returned home since the start of the epidemic.

Reopening of schools - As the French Prime Minister is expected to announce the plans for a progressive end of the lockdown in France this afternoon, including the reopening of schools, the mayor of Nice has launched a “consultation” with families in Nice and the regional education authorities as well as doctors, to decide what will be “Nice’s position on the reopening of schools” for May 11th.

Families of students schooled in Nice will receive a letter in the coming days inviting them to give their opinion.  Estrosi said that it is only following the results that he " will [then] present the reopening plan" adding that "Today he is worried and reserved, about the decision, even if he believes that some children need to find socialization and balanced meals,"

In the meantime, the city of Nice, with the financial support of Crédit Agricole Provence Côte d´Azur, will make the Prof app available free of charge to families. It is available for one month, renewable for another month.

Speaking to French local media this morning Estrosi  has also said that he has “asked the French government to extend partial unemployment” for parents who do not wish to send their children back to school from May 11th.

Meanwhile mayors across France have said that due to the lack of means to enforce the health restrictions linked to the coronavirus they would impose the reopening of educational establishments not until at least the 31st August or "until further notice".

Faced with lack of resources, many mayors have already issued an order to prohibit the reopening of schools in their municipality after May 11th.

Tocilizumab - Doctors from the Paris Hospitals - Public Assistance (APHP) have conducted a study of 129 patients hospitalized for moderate to severe Covid-19 infection. Of these, 65 have received treatment including tocilizumab which appears to "significantly improve their prognosis" according to results.

The results of a first trial show that this drug "significantly improves the prognosis of patients with moderate or severe Covid pneumonia," said the APHP in a statement released on Monday.

Tocilizumab is a drug usually used for its immunosuppressive action in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. The purpose of this trial is to verify whether an immunosuppressant can prevent “cytokine storms”. This phenomenon is generated by the secretion of molecules called cytokines, which aim to combat the aggression generated by Covid-19.

But faced with the particularly strong virulence of a virus on certain organisms, the body can get carried away, and start to produce much more cytokines than necessary, which is called a "storm", or even "shock "cytokine. The body no longer targets only infected tissue, but also healthy tissue. This immune disturbance worsens the condition of the patient and can lead to fatal internal failures.

The scientists' goal was therefore to find a suitable treatment that would prevent “cytokine storms” for hospital patients who need oxygen.

From the first trials it emerged that tocilizumab "has significantly reduced the number of patients who go to intensive care or who have died," said Olivier Hermine, professor of hematology at Necker Hospital, at the press conference.

Still, the results of these researchers have yet to be validated by authorities, a procedure which generally takes three months, but in view of the pandemic context "agreements exist to accelerate publication taking weeks, rather than months" , said the researchers.

They emphasize another essential point of this discovery is that should the trial be approved, there will be no delay in obtaining the drug as it is available in  hospital pharmacies.









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