Evening Update Wednesday 13 May 2020

Figures released this evening show that there have been five deaths from the coronavirus in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var today. However, the number of people in hospital with the virus continues to decline. Two new deaths were recorded in the Var and three in the Alpes Maritimes. Twenty two fewer patients were in hospital in the Var and seventeen in the Alpes Maritimes, compared to two days ago.

The Alpes Maritimes Prefecture has said that 16 requests have been received from coastal municipalities for the reopening of beaches. It said that a working group is currently looking at harmonised health and safety measures for reopening and decisions would begin to be made later this week. The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, says that he already has the approval of the Prefecture for the reopening of beaches with limited activities this weekend.

Meanwhile, the 19 departmental natural parks in the Alpes-Maritimes have been reopened to the public as from today. Visitors are required to strictly respect the instructions for social distancing and barrier gestures. Groups of more than 10 people are strictly prohibited and certain facilities within parks will remain closed. Details can be found on the Departmental Council's webiste here https://www.departement06.fr/actualites-24/reouverture-des-parcs-naturels-departementaux-39420.html?cHash=ee165fec8efcb64b8abb8165f62f3e7f

The French government has said that partial unemployment has reached a plateau and current requests are showing a small decline. Minister of Labour, Muriel Penicaud, said today that cumulative requests under the scheme had reached 12.4 million employees but the current figure is 11.2 million.

The French government has said that the bonus to caregivers and non-medical hospital staff which was announced recently, is expected to be paid on their May or June pay day. The bonus is 1,500 euros for staff in places that have Covid-19 patients and 500 euros minimum for all hospital staff.

Cannes Town Hall has started an initiative to encourage all Cannes residents to shop locally. The campaign, which uses the slogan "Support our traders - Relocate our purchases", aims to support local traders and "to restore the social bond and the human interactions essential to restart social life while respecting essential barrier gestures." Posters are being displayed around Cannes to draw attention to the campaign.

A man in his twenties has been sentenced to four months in prison for offences incuding repeated violation of containment measures. He was also accused of driving without a licence or vehicle registration and drugs related offences. Police stopped the man on a motorcyle last weekend, before deconfinement began. It was the fourth time he had been stopped without an exit certificate.

Amazon has said that it expects its warehouses in France to remain closed until next Monday, 18 May. It said it was continuing to consult with employees. The fulfillment centres have been closed since April 16 following court rulings regarding the categories of goods the company is permitted to deliver during the pandemic.

President Macron has expressed his hope that the July 14th Bastille Day holiday will also be used to pay tribute to caregivers. A spokesperson also said that next year's honours list, published on January 1st, would include a significant number of people who have been involved in the fight against the pandemic.

In other news, during last night's storms, an area of the Var was stuck by a rare high intensity thunderbolt. Sebastien Baille, the chief regional forecaster for Meteo France, said that the lightening struck just north of Pignans with a current of over 300 kA, which is up to 30 times the usual intensity.

 

BUSINESS

New data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the UK economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March. In the first quarter of this year, there was a contraction of 2%. The lockdown in the UK began one week before the end of the first quarter and figures for April and the second quarter are expected to be significantly worse.

Travel business Tui has said that it's aiming to carry out a major restructuring of its business. Under the plans, it will cut costs by 30% and up to 8,000 jobs could be lost. The company said that for 2020 it wanted to "reinvent the holiday" with new destinations, changed travel seasons, new local offerings and more digitalisation. It said it would be reopening selected hotels in Germany "in the coming days".

Airline Emirates has announced plans to re-start fligts to nine destinations from 21 May. They are London Heathrow, Paris, Frankfurt, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne. Before boarding, passangers will have to meet the entry requirements in force at the flight's destination. Measures will be introduced on board flights including the absence of in-flight magazines and the compulsory checking in of hand baggage, with certain exceptions.

Aston Martin has reported a loss of 119 million pounds in the first quarter. Revenue fell by 60% and the company said it sold 578 vehicles in the quarter, a reduction of 45% from the same period last year. Executive Chairman Lawrence Stroll, who led a capital raising earlier this year, said the company was focused on building on its "inherent strengths, its brand, its engineering prowess, and the skills of its people". Aston Martin has also recently been involved in producing personal protective equipment for frontline NHS workers in the UK.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... Players at Toulon have proposed a significant reduction in their fees to help the economic health of the club. Club President Bernard Lemaitre said he would like to thank all the players and staff for what he called an "important decision." Details of the amounts of the pay cuts have not so far been released.

Football... Norwich City have said that relegation from the Premiership should be scrapped if the league completes its season but the Championship does not. The Premier League is aiming to return by 12 June, with Norwich bottom of the table.

Cricket.. England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler says there are "some anxieties" about leaving confinement and returning to play. Speaking to the BBC, said that he was "reading and hearing things" that a return to training "could be imminent, in the next week or two". Details on how England players can train are set to be revealed tomorrow, but no matches are envisaged before 1 July.

 

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