Lunchtime News Wednesday 11th November 2020


Covid-19 - The number of people hospitalized in France with Covid-19 is approaching the peak measured during the first wave of the epidemic.

The number of hospitalisations increased by 3,168 in 24 hours, approaching the peak of April 14, when 32,292 hospitalizations were recorded.

As the French government warns that the second wave of Covid-19 contamination continues to progress data published on Tuesday, November 10 by Public Health France, shows that 31,477 patients are currently hospitalized after being infected with the coronavirus.

In the past 24 hours, 472 patients with Covid-19 have died in hospital, while the same figure has been recorded for admissions to intensive care. On Monday, France had recorded the highest daily toll since the start of the second epidemic wave, with 551 dead in 24 hours.

The total hospital capacity in France has already been increased from 5,000 to 6,400 beds and should soon reach 7,500.

Auchan - Discussions have been initiated in Auchan hypermarkets across France this morning with a view to the implementation of partial unemployment.

With the closure of the shelves of so-called non-essential items, hypermarkets have lost between 25 and 40% of their activity. The implementation of short-time working will be done on a store by store basis, depending on their situation.

Discussions with the social partners started this morning, with the partial activity planned to be put in place during the week.

Corsica - Meanwhile in Corsica disinfection tunnels, aimed at "breaking the spread" of Covid-19 have been installed at the entrance of a hypermarket on the outskirts of Ajaccio.

Each customer takes their temperature by placing the palm of their hand on an integrated thermometer before going through the blue-lit metallic airlock diffusing disinfectant.

The tunnels, "used for several years in Asia", "aim to break the spread of the virus.

Children’s play areas closed in Cagnes sur mer - Due to strict covid-19 restrictions the mayor of Cagnes-sur-Mer, Louis Nègre, has announced that access to children’s play areas is to be banned.

As soon as a second lockdown was announced by the French government it was indicated that playgrounds could continue to welcome the public. But due to the number of parents and children entering play areas after school and on Wednesday the mayor of Cagnes-sur-Mer has preferred to play it safe by not allowing access.

Public lighting - The Astronomical Society of Burgundy has asked local councils to reflect on the issue of light pollution during lockdown. Some council’s have already taken action. In Semur-en-Auxois in eastern France, public lighting has been turned off between 2:30 and 5:30am.

Organised gang robbery - Five woman and two men suspected, among other things of having stolen last August a 101-carat diamond worth 4.5 million euros from a luxury hotel in Cannes have been imprisoned following an investigation.  

The organised gang had also allegedly stolen diamonds in Barcelona with an estimated value of several million euros.

The gang members were from the Romanian and Serbian communities, in Seine-Saint-Denis in the Val-de-Marne on the outskirts of Paris.

Road safety - The number of road deaths in France fell by 22.6% in October compared to October of last year.

A total of 199 people died last month on France’s roads. 58 fewer than in October 2019. Among them, 108 motorists, 32 riders of motorised two-wheelers, 7 cyclists and 38 pedestrians.

Christmas cancelled? - Despite the recent deterioration of the health situation in France, the Minister of Health Olivier Véran had declared that he wanted "ardently" to lift the lockdown in time for end of the year celebrations in France. A wish which was at the time, quickly contradicted by Julien Lenglet, medical director of a private hospital in the Hauts-de-Seine, who had called to "cancel Christmas and New Year's Eve", for this year.

And according to the most recent OpinionWay survey for Proximis, the French seem increasingly cautious on the subject with one out of two French people already planning not to spend Christmas with the family for fear of contamination of Covid-19.

The same survey also showed that about half of French people also said that they would buy fewer gifts than in previous years and were favour of buying from local businesses if and when they reopen, rather than over the internet.

Up Up and Away - Two French DJs and a violinist have taken to the skies in a hot air balloon over Champagne region of France in a bid to boost spirits in the midst of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Culture, like so many other sectors, has had to reinvent itself to cope with the lockdown and restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The musicians picked a perfect autumn day for a live DJ set -- a gesture of solidarity with all DJs and performers unable to work in clubs because of the Covid-19 lockdown.

And Finally

In what has been dubbed as the most “ridiculous social distancing” measure in the UK so far.  Men have been told to 'pee into a urinal from 8ft away”

The unbelievable sign was spotted by a man who visited the loos in an office in London, where it asked men to keep their distance from a row of urinals, which were eight foot away.

The sign on the floor of the toilets, based in an office space in Paddington, London asked men to follow the rules - at eight feet away.

Alastair Hilton joked that he opted to use the cubicle instead as he wasn't sure he'd be able to hit the target from such a distance.

One comment was that "If you obeyed that rule you’d need to increase the number of cleaners or put a sticker on the front door saying ‘flood risk’."


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