French and Riviera News Friday 28th August 2020

Local

Two-year-old nearly drowns in Antibes – A 2-year-old child has had a lucky escape after nearly drowning on the Ponteil beach in Antibes. Lifeguards intervened shortly after 5pm on Thursday and transported the child to the Lenval hospital in Nice.

Fisherman falls in port – Meanwhile an 81-year-old fisherman has been rescued by an Italian tourist after falling in the port of La Salis in Antibes. The incident happened on Thursday afternoon when the man lost his balance and fell in the water. He was taken to the Fontonne hospital suffering minor injuries.

Tour de France - Health measures surrounding the Tour de France are being increased. In a press conference, the Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez said that the start of the Tour in Nice will be "almost behind closed doors". Masks will be mandatory for spectators along the route and spectators will only be able to get into the main passes on foot or by bicycle and no parking of cars will be permitted.

Events organised by the municipalities on the route are also reportedly being cancelled. The Prefect said it would be better to watch the Tour on television rather than being there in person. The changes come after the Alpes Maritimes and Var were placed in the coronavirus Red Zone.

Red Zones – With Paris and its inner suburbs being classified as “Red Zones” wearing a mask in these areas is to become compulsory from 8am this morning Friday 28th August.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced in a press conference on Thursday 27th August that the Var and the Alpes Maritimes regions along with 17 other departments now joins Paris and the Bouches du Rhone as a “Red Zone”. So, what is a “Red Zone”?

Also called “active virus circulation zone” a red zone means that its incidence rate exceeds 50 new cases of Covid-19 per 100,000 inhabitants in one week. This indicator is calculated from the results of PCR tests.

Two levels have been defined by France’s Health Ministry firstly, the “vigilance threshold” which is when more than 10 people are infected per 100,000 inhabitants and the alert threshold” which is when this figure reaches or exceeds 50.  

Figures show that the national average of the incidence rate is "39 ​​positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants" which is "four times more than a month ago. The incidence rate increased by 42% between the week of August 3rd and that of August 10th and the national rate is sometimes greatly exceeded in the departments in the red zone, reaching 140 per 100,000 in Bouches-du-Rhône and 103 in Paris.

Passing into a “Red zone” gives the prefect “strengthened powers and allows appropriate additional measures within the region to be taken in the fight against Covid-19.

An increased number of police will be present on public transport in the Alpes Maritimes from the beginning of next week. The aim of the patrols will be to prevent any public order issues from arising and to control the wearing of masks.

In total 19 new departments have been placed in the red zone, joining Paris and the Bouches-du-Rhône. The new departments concerned are Val-de-Marne, Seine-Saint-Denis, Hauts-de-Seine, Essonne, Yvelines, Val-d'Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Sarthe, the Rhône, Gironde, Haute-Garonne, Hérault, Gard, Loiret, Vaucluse, Var, Alpes-Maritimes, Guadeloupe and Martinique.

“White Plan” for hospitals – And following the announcement that both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes are now in a “Red Zone” the regional health agency has announced that authorities have “reactivated the white plan in all hospitals in both departments”.

The “White Plan” was first activated on March 14th, 48 hours before lockdown was put in place in France. The plan is there to better organize and strengthen the reception and care of patients in hospitals in the event of a health threat. Among the main measures the “White plan” previously saw non-emergency activities be put on hold in order to free as many beds as possible. According to the Regional Health Agency this time it will not be the case.

National

A new record – Meanwhile France has identified 6,111 additional cases of coronavirus in the space of 24 hours, a level exceeded only once since the start of the epidemic. This is the highest number since 7,578 cases were reported on March 30th, at the height of the crisis.

The total number of contaminations in France now stands at 259,698. In 24 hours, 22 new outbreaks of cluster cases were also detected.

Since the start of the epidemic, 30,576 people have died from Covid-19, 32 more than on Tuesday.

Hunters told to stop using glue - French President Emmanuel Macron has ordered hunters in southern France to stop the controversial practice of trapping birds on glue-covered twigs. The suspension follows a warning to France from the European Commission that it could face legal action at EU level if the practice continued.

France is unusual in Europe for still tolerating the glue method, used to catch thrushes and blackbirds. The hunting method is limited to five regions around Marseille and Nice.

A TGV train driver misses his stop and is forced to reverse – The driver of a TGV connecting Toulouse to Lyon missed the stop at Nîmes Pont-du-Gard station on Wednesday and had to reverse. The driver having passed the platform by a few tens of metres, had to reverse, a maneuver which took 40 minutes with passengers arriving in Lyon half an hour late.

Business

The US retail giant Walmart has said it will team up with Microsoft to make a bid for the US operations of TikTok.

TikTok has been given 90 days to sell its US arm to an American firm or face a ban in the country. Donald Trump has alleged it shares its user data with Beijing - claims it denies.

Earlier on Thursday the firm's boss resigned ahead of the impending ban.

According to reports, TikTok's US operations could fetch as much as $30bn (£22bn) if a deal is reached.

Since its global launch at the end of 2018 Tiktok has attracted a huge following, especially amongst the under-25s.

As part of a plan to save the business, sandwich chain Pret A Manger is to cut 3,000 jobs, or more than a third of its workforce.

The chain has been hit as demand from commuters and office workers - a key market - has plunged in the pandemic.

And - Rolls-Royce has reported a record half-year loss of £5.4bn after it was "severely impacted" by the coronavirus pandemic - prompting a shake-up that has already cost thousands of jobs.

The engine maker's finances have been battered by a collapse in demand for flights, resulting in a hit to revenues as well as huge write-off and restructuring charges.

Sport

Football – It looks as if Manchester City are in the strongest position to sign Lionel Messi – if the Argentina star can get out of Barcelona this summer.

According to reports both Messi and City boss Pep Guardiola want to renew their partnership - putting the Premier League runners-up in a commanding lead over other teams.

Paul Pogba has been left out of France's squad for the Nations League games against Sweden and Croatia after testing positive for coronavirus.

France’s head coach Didier Deschamps confirmed the news after he announced the squad for the games, with Pogba's place being taken by 17-year-old Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Cricket - James Anderson has said that he wants to be part of the England squad to tour Australia for the next Ashes series in 2021-22.

Anderson has earned 156 caps since his Test debut in 2003 and has played in four Ashes tours in Australia.

On Tuesday, the 38-year-old became the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets as England drew the final Test of the summer against Pakistan.

Formula One – Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton has spoken passionately over feeling "inspired and proud" about the shows of solidarity from athletes in the United States against the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Hamilton said that while he will not boycott Sunday's Formula 1 Grand Prix in Belgium, he takes a "lot of inspiration" from the unprecedented player-led protests in American sports and that "I feel fully aligned with them" in the fight for social justice.

Weather

Sunny intervals highs of 27 degrees in Nice, Cannes and Antibes. 29 degrees in Le Lavandou and Saint Tropez with a light variable wind.

Rain is expected inland possibly reaching the coast in the Alpes Maritimes by this afternoon with thundery showers forecast in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes this evening and into tomorrow morning.

The outlook for the weekend rain should clear by Saturday afternoon with strong winds in the Var continuing into Sunday. Highs of between 27-29 degrees.  

Finally 

Researchers have found that an iphone, Apple Watch or even a pair of AirPods in your photos on social media can boost the odds of a love match by as much as 76 percent. Most other brands, including Google lowered the chances of someone swiping right.

However, the study found a BlackBerry is the kiss of death, as the device decreased the odds of a match by 74 percent.

 

 

 

 

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