French and Riviera News Monday 30th March 2020

Coronavirus Numbers - Nine more people have died in the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur region from the coronavirus bringing the total of deaths from the virus in the region on Sunday evening to 65. 

Since the beginning of the epidemic 4,008 patients have tested positive in the PACA region and out of the 4,008 cases 1,085 have been hospitalised, with 250 in a critical condition and placed in intensive care.

On Sunday evening, 29th March 3 new cases were reported in Monaco bringing the total number of cases to 46 of which one has been cured.

In the Principality one man, in his eighties has died after being treated in hospital last week for severe cardiac distress and then testing positive for Covid-19.

Figures released by the Director of Health in France on Sunday evening showed a total of 40,174 cases of coronavirus of which 7,132 have been cured. 19,354 of these cases are currently hospitalised. 4,632 of them are in intensive care and 2,606 people have died.292 within the last 24 hours. 

Emmanuel Macron calls for financial unity within the EU - At the weekend French President Emmanuel Macron insisted that Europe must help Italy face the Covid-19 pandemic as he reiterated his support for budget solidarity in the European Union. 

Press conference - Following a  press conference on Saturday evening organized with the Minister of Health and several specialists, France’s Prime Minister played the card of clarity and frankness, by affirming that the debate was just beginning against the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned that "the first 15 days of April will be even more difficult than the last 15 days which have just passed" in the coronavirus crisis in France, because "the fight is just beginning" .

Health Director warns young people - France’s Health Director Jerome Salomon advised young patients at the weekend to call 15 if they are short of breath or have difficulty breathing.

While the elderly and frail are generally more attentive to their state of health, Jérôme Salomon called on the youngest to watch for certain symptoms of the coronavirus, alerting them to cases of sudden worsening of the state of certain patients.

Jérôme Salomon wanted to send a prevention message to young adults but also adults between 40 and 60 years.

Professor Didier Raoult claims new study shows « efficiency » -Meanwhile the controversial French professor who believes the anti-malaria drug chloroquine can help beat the coronavirus, has claimed that a new study he has conducted confirms its "efficiency" at combatting the virus. But several other scientists and critics of microbiologist Didier Raoult, who heads the infectious diseases department of La Timone hospital in Marseille, were quick to cast doubt upon his findings.They said the testing was not carried out in a controlled study and that the results were purely "observational".

Dr Raoult, whose theory has been taken up by US President Donald Trump, said his new study of 80 patients showed that four out of five of those treated with the drug had "favourable" outcomes. The research has not yet been formally published in a medical journal.

However Raoult's critics have pointed to problems with the protocol of his testing and worrying side effects of the drug.

After Raoult released his latest findings, Professor Francois Balloux of University College, London, tried to dampen talk that the drug could be a silver bullet. "This is an observational study (i.e. not controlled) following 80 patients with fairly mild symptoms. The majority of patients recover form #COVID19 infection, with or without #Hchloroquine and #Azithromycin treatment."

Fears have also being raised that stockpiling of the drug will deprive people who are already being treated with it for malaria, lupus and certain types of arthritis.

Dr Philippe Gautret, who was part of the team behind Raoult's latest findings, admitted that they only used the combination of drugs on "patients who had not been showing signs of being seriously ill after admission" to the hospital.

 

French government’s advice about masks - The advice given by the French government saying that healthy people do not need to wear face masks has been contradicted by many public health experts worldwide, with an increasing number urging officials to change their message.

While the authorities in France have been criticised for lack of clarity on many fronts, from regulations for working from home, the unemployment benefits for those who cannot work, to questions over why weren’t more people being tested for the virus, when it came to face masks, however, the French authorities have always stressed that there was no reason for healthy people to wear them – particularly in light of the massive shortage of protective masks for health workers.  

More health workers  across the world, including in France, are saying that if everybody wore a mask, of any description – even balaclavas, or scarves to cover their mouths – it would help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

One of the only countries  to make wearing a face mask mandatory is the Czech Republic and  the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shares the thinking of the Czech government. He believes not wearing a mask is a « big mistake ».

 While public health experts widely agree that social distancing and confinement are key to beating Covid-19, some have begun to call on officials to drop their line discouraging the public from wearing face masks.

Medical masks - Meanwhile an Air France plane from China, conveying 5.5 million medical masks, landed at Roissy airport on Sunday, the day after the government announced a massive order for equipment against the covid -19,  with almost 100 tonnes of medical equipment on board, among the 5.5 million masks of the cargo are "2.5 million of them which were ordered by LVMH for the state",  this first batch was part of an order for "10 million masks in total, from the luxury group ", for five million euros.

Other flights are expected in the coming days to transport this essential protective equipment.

Domestic violence during confinement - France’s Secretary of State for Gender Equality, Marlène Schiappa, 
has announced "temporary contact points" in shopping centers for victims of domestic violence.

The first  points will be installed in the Paris region. Ahead of this announcement it was also reported that pharmacies in France were able to be a contact point for victims of domestic violence. 

Created "in partnership with local associations, state services and Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, manager of shopping centers", these " support points" will be installed in premises « allowing confidentiality »

The minister confirmed  "two" femicides had been reported since the start of confinement on March 17. "The confinement is a collective test which strikes the family and, the situation can degenerate at any time when one lives with a violent person", she adds, concluding ,  that "women victims of domestic violence may think that 'they must endure violence  during confinement ". "No! State systems are not put on hold, they are  reinforced,".

 

Moving tribute to hospital staff in Nice - In Nice, police and firefighters have gathered  in front of the Lenval hospital to pay tribute to the nursing staff. Using their sirens, police and firefighters gathered in front of the Lenval hospital on Sunday evening  to say thank you to the hospital staff and on a larger scale, to all the caregivers, whether they are city doctors, nurses or caregivers .The video sequence was relayed on Twitter by the deputy of the Alpes-Maritimes Eric Ciotti. The nursing staff of Lenval reacted with a warm applause returning the praise. 

Coronavirus patients flown to Nice was one of worst hit regions in France - Two patients suffering from coronavirus  have arrived at Nice Airport. As part of a plan to help one of the regions in France, the worst hit by the virus, the Grand Est, it’s been announced that six patients are to be transferred to hospitals on the Côte d’Azur. The two patients in their seventies arrived on Sunday evening at Nice Côte d'Azur airport, and were taken to the Pasteur hospital in Nice, and the Arnault Tzanck center, in Saint-Laurent-du-Var.A third Patient is planned to arrive today.  

 

Coronavirus: #IlsSavait, # OnNoublieraPas -It’s  been reported in France that social discontent is rising on social networks with  internet users criticizing the French Government for not having anticipated the coronavirus epidemic and for not being sufficiently transparent in the management of the health crisis. 

While the popularity ratings of Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe progress, a recent survey published by Elabe institute has shown that 73% of French people believe that the government is not up to par. Between the shortage of masks and late detection, the French are increasingly judging the government’s action. The hashtag #TheyKnow, associated with the keyword #OnNoublieraPas have emerged on social networks in recent days, and are now among the most discussed topics on Twitter. Some even express feelling generally  fed-up with  politicians « who it would appear, have a free hand [to get tested or to be treated with chloroquine] ».

 

Road accident -  A 60 year old man has been seriously injured in an accident in Antibes. The victim was on foot at the time when he was hit by an electricity pole after a vehicle ploughed into it. The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon in Antibes. The man was immediately looked after emergency services at the scene before being transferred to hospital in Nice. Traffic in the area was cut off until early evening and police have opened an investigation into the crash. 

 

Domestic accidents on the rise - The National Emergency Services in France have expressed their concern at the numbers of accidents happening the home since people have been asked to confine themselves. 

Three days after the start of confinement, the emergency services in the Vendée reported a series of domestic accidents essentially linked to DIY or gardening. Other departments, such as Drôme, have banned the burning and burning of green waste to limit the risk of fires starting. But, the number one problem, according to Eric Brocardi, spokesperson for the Federation, is "the electrical overload linked to the use of telephones or portable devices"."

He added that « When the television and the radio are switched on for ten hours a day, it is no longer the same daily use of the household » , emphasizing the preventive measures: "no telephones in the bathroom and to avoid overloading everything at the same time and avoid multiple sockets which are not up to European standards, with the real logo ”.

In Nice, firefighters intervened last week due to the start of a fire caused by an overloaded of electrical power strip, placed on a terrace.

 

Business.

 

Asian shares have fallen this morning and the price of oil has taken another tumble as fears grow that the global shutdown to deal with the coronavirus pandemic could last for months doing untold harm to economies.

The continued slump comes despite the best efforts of central banks to calm the markets by providing massive injections of cash in a bid to maintain liquidity.

Analysts are now predicting a 10.5 percent hit to global GDP on an annualised rate in the first half of 2020.

This morning ,China has become the latest country to add stimulus with a 20 basis point cut to key repo rate while Singapore also eased rates and New Zealand’s central bank said that it would take corporate debt as collateral for loans.

The main question for markets remains whether all the stimulus will be enough to help the global economy withstand the shock.

The unresolved matter is how long the containment measures around the world with many experts judging that market volatility will continue until the uncertainty is resolved.

 

The coronavirus pandemic could result in UK economic output plunging by 15 percent in the second quarter and a doubling in unemployment according to the latest estimates.

The UK Centre for Economics and Business Research says that it expects the economy to have contracted marginally in the first quarter of 2020 by 0.5 percent but that it will be followed by the sharpest slump since comparable records begun more than 20 years ago in Q2.

The predicted slump would dwarf the 2.2 percent contraction seen in the fourth quarter of 2008 as a result of the global financial crisis and would mark the worst three month period since 1997.

Last week ,the UK Department for Work and Pensions said that 447 thousand people applied for Universal Credit in just 9 days forcing it to redeploy thousands of civil servants to help process the claims.

 

And-Europe’s airlines are expected to lose 76 billion  dollars in passenger revenues over the course of 2020 because of travel bans.

Figures from the International Air Transport Association suggest that airlines will bear a significant part of the global hit to the economy caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Demand for passenger flights is expected to fall  by  38 percent causing global revenues to fall by 252 billion dollars in 2020.

Estimates are based on the three month shutdowns across much of the world with a lack of cashflow threatening the survival of some airlines.

 

Sport.

 

Football-The Manchester City midfielder Ilkay Gundogan has said that it would be “only fair” to award Liverpool the Premier League title if the season can’t be completed.

Liverpool are the runaway leaders at the top of the table but with matches suspended until at least the 30th of April ,there’s no guarantee that they can get the remaining points necessary to make sure of the title.

Gundogan said that “ you have to be fair as a sportsman” and that Liverpool should be given the title if the season is cut short.

 

Formula 1-The Ferrari team principal has said that the season could be extended into January 2021.

8 races have been called off so far this year because of the coronavirus pandemic and Mattia Binotto says that teams are in constant dialogue with Formula 1 management.

He said that various ideas were under discussion including extending the season and running races closer together without Friday practice in some cases.

 

Weather.

 

Overcast with outbreaks of rain and perhaps some thunder this afternoon.

Light variable winds and a high of 15 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 8 degrees inland with partially cloudy skies.

Tuesday and Wednesday-Sunshine and showers tomorrow,partially cloudy on Wednesday. Highs of 13-15 degrees.

 

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