French and Riviera News Friday 5th June 2020

Beaches closed to swimmers in Antibes and Juan les Pins - Following the bad weather on Thursday the city councils of Antibes and Juan les Pins have temporarily closed the beaches in the area to swimmers. The swimming ban was issued at 8.30pm on Thursday and is in place until midnight tonight.

The closure has been introduced as a precaution due to heavy rainfall which caused sewers to overflow with wastewater. 

Primary school pupil tests positive for coronavirus in Nice - A pupil at the Saint-Barthélémy primary school in Nice has tested positive for coronavirus. The schoolboy was diagnosed last week and has self-isolated for a fortnight until Friday, June 12th. All contact cases including other pupils and staff, have been ordered to spend seven days in self-isolation and will be tested.

The regional health agency has implemented the necessary health measures and for the time being the school remains open. 

Coronavirus - In the Alpes Maritimes one additional death from the coronavirus has been reported on Thursday. Latest figures show that 253 people have died from Covid-19 in the Alpes Maritimes and 227 in the Var.

National – On a national level 44 new deaths from coronavirus were reported in France in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the epidemic to 29,065. The number of patients in intensive care continues to drop.

13,101 people are still hospitalized due to Covid-19 and 1,163 patients are in intensive care, which is 47 fewer patients compared to Wednesday.

Hydroxychloroquine - Three authors of the controversial study on hydroxychloroquine published by the scientific journal The Lancet have requested the withdrawal of the article believing they can no longer "vouch for the accuracy of sources and data".

The study published in May had concluded that hydroxychloroquine was not beneficial for hospitalised Covid-19 patients and may even be harmful.

Its publication had a worldwide impact pushing the WHO (World Health Organisation) to suspend clinical trials on hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19. After many criticisms questioning the way the study was carried out, the World Health Organisation has since announced the resumption of clinical trials.

Nursing homes - Meanwhile the French health ministry will allow family members in France to visit ageing relatives in nursing homes as of today, providing that hygiene rules are respected.

The easing of access to nursing homes, known as "Ehpads", across France comes in time for Mother's and Father's Day, celebrated on 7th and 21st June respectively.

Some care homes had already begun allowing visits from April 20th restricted to two family members, with no physical contact. Under the revised rules, more than two people can visit if in an outdoor setting, and two people maximum per room. Children will be allowed to visit as long as they wear masks.

July 14th - The Elysee Palace has announced changes to this year's 14 July parade in Paris. The parade has traditionally been held on the Champs-Elysees but next month's event will be replaced by a military ceremony on the Place de la Concorde.

The ceremony will also pay tribute to caregivers. The Elysee said that the event will feature about 2,000 participants and 2,500 guests but will not be open to the general public because of coronavirus concerns. However, that could change if the health situation improves by 14 July.

Travel in Europe – Despite French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe declaring on May 28th that the situation was favourable to the opening of European internal borders from June 15th many are still uncertain. It remains unclear if it will be possible to travel within  Europe in July and August.

While Italy opened its borders on Wednesday 3rd June, cancelling any quarantine measures and following in the footsteps of Portugal, Luxembourg and Sweden, Austria was the latest to reopen its borders to France on Thursday.

Meanwhile Germany, Belgium, Greece, Croatia and the Netherlands have planned to open borders on June 15th and Estonia has declared that it will not open its borders until at least June 15th.

Spain will reopen its borders with France on Wednesday July 1st, and not June 22nd, as the Minister of Tourism had initially declared.

Cyprus has presented a plan for gradual recovery in two phases, on June 9 and 20. But France is strictly excluded.

As it currently stands Ireland, Finland, Malta, Romania, Iceland and Slovenia are insisting that tourists must self-isolate for 14 days and declare the address of where they will confine themselves. The United Kingdom has announced the introduction of a 14-day quarantine measure for travellers as of June 8th.

In the Czech Republic visitors are allowed for the sole purpose of work activity, visiting relatives or studying. Travel to Switzerland is also reduced to necessary travel.

After closing its borders to foreigners, Poland has canceled domestic flights and Hungary has closed its borders to foreign nationals until further notice.

Denmark has announced that it would reopen its borders on June 15th to German, Norwegian and Icelandic nationals, but not yet to the French.

Norway has closed its borders to foreign travelers. The country's foreign ministry even advises its nationals against any international travel that is not strictly necessary before August 20th.

SNCF summer offer – Meanwhile, France’s Secretary of State for Transport has announced that the SNCF train network in France will soon be selling 3 million tickets for less than 49 euros to boost attendance on its trains during the summer season.

The tickets will soon be on sale and will concern mainly trains that for long distance travel such as TGV and Intercities.

SNCF will put back on track "100% of its daily trains from June 15th" and "100% for TGV’s on June 24th,". The SNCF currently, operates an average of 2 TGVs out of 3, nearly 1 Ouigo out of 2 and 1 Intercity out of 2.

 

Business

Asian stocks are poised for their biggest weekly rise in 8 years while the euro is hovering at a one and a half month high following the European Central Bank’s decision on Thursday to inject more stimulus into eurozone economies.

The buoyant state of markets has prompted some investors to take profits today ahead of the US non farm payroll numbers which are expected to show a further deterioration in the jobs market.

Markets were battered at the start of the coronavirus crisis but have rebounded strongly in recent weeks bolstered by powerful stimulus from central banks.

However ,some analysts are warning that the massive scale of quantitative easing is distorting values and muting traditional signals from bond markets on growth and inflation.

Investors are now focused on today’s non farm payroll numbers from the US which are expected to show that 8 million more jobs were lost in May following the record 20.54 million plunge in April.

The US unemployment rate is forecast to rocket to 19.8 percent-a post World War 2 record.

 

The pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has said that it will be able to supply two billion doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine following  two new deals.

In April ,the firm said that it could manufacture a billion doses in development with scientists at Oxford University.

On Thursday ,two deals were signed which will allow it to double production.

The British drug maker has agreed to set aside half of the doses for use in low and middle income countries.

One of the new partnerships is with the Serum Institute of India and the other is with two health organisations backed by Bill and Melinda Gates.

As yet ,the effectiveness of vaccines in development are yet to be proved.

 

And-The clothing retailer Gap has reported a loss of nearly a billion dollars due to store closures because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gap was 932 million dollars in the red for the three months to the end of May compared to a profit of 227 million dollars for the same period last year.

The firm’s shares fell by more than 8 percent on the news.

Retailers of non-essential goods especially clothing have been hit hard by the crisis with stores closed across much of the world.

Sport

Football-Chelsea are reported to be in talks to sign the RB Leipzig striker Timo Werner.

The 24 year old German international had been linked with a move to Liverpool but its understood that the Anfield club are no longer interested.

Werner has scored 25 goals this season and the fee is reported to be in the region of 54 million pounds.

Formula 1-The sport’s managing director has said that a driver could be forced to miss part or all of a race weekend if one of his mechanics tested positive for coronavirus.

Ross Brawn says that if someone came down with the symptoms then it would have to be dealt with straight away.

Mr Brawn added that the chances of a positive test were “very low” because of the health and safety protocols that have been set up.

In the event of a positive test then the entire team would be isolated until they could all be tested.

Rugby Union-The England and Lions centre Ben Te’o has switched codes back to Rugby League and will join the Brisbane Broncos.

Te’o switched to Rugby Union in 2014 and won 16 caps for England.

The 33 year old also made two appearances for the Lions on the 2017 tour of New Zealand.

He previously played for the Broncos between 2009 and 2012.

Weather

Mainly fine with a moderate to strong Mistral across the Var gusting at up to 65 km/h.

Top temperature 24 degrees.

Overnight lows of 16 degrees on the coast and 13 degrees inland with clear skies.

The weekend-Mainly fine tomorrow ,sunshine and showers on Sunday.Highs of 22-25 degrees.

 

 

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