French and Riviera News Thursday 12th March 2020

Local

Coronavirus update - According to the Regional Health Agency the number of people affected by the coronavirus reached 32, with 9 new cases in the Alpes-Maritimes.

To date there have been 48 deaths in France, and 2,281 cases.

In the South , 112 people tested positive including 46 in Bouches-du-Rhône, 14 in Hautes-Alpes, 13 in the Var, 4 in the Vaucluse and 3 people in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. Among these cases, six people are in intensive care.

In Italy the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Wednesday evening the closure of businesses except those in the food distribution and health sectors, in an attempt to stem the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Conte added, however, that public transport would not be interrupted. Likewise, "industries and factories will be able to continue to produce as long as they take appropriate security measures”.

Giuseppe Conte had already announced on Tuesday strict measures of containment of the population, with a restriction of the freedom of movement and a ban on assembly for the 60 million Italians, in force until April 3.

Behind China, Italy is the second country in the world most affected by the pandemic, with 827 dead and 12,462 cases.

To try to avoid a collapse of the third European economy, asphyxiated by the new coronavirus, Rome announced on Wednesday the release of an envelope of 25 billion euros. It also decided on a postponement on the repayment of home loans.

Cruise ships banned from the Principality - The Monegasque government has announced that due to the coronavirus all cruise ships have been banned from docking in Monegasque territorial waters until April 30th.

The measure comes ahead of the first boat, which was expected on March 23rd at Port Hercule. 25 more were planned to dock during the month of April, a traffic which would represent in total between 15,000 and 20,000 passengers.

“Info virus” at Nice University - Meanwhile here in Nice, Nice University has set up a special unit on its campus. “Info virus” will twice a day attempt to calm concerns on the current coronavirus outbreak and ensure continuity in education.

The unit relays national instructions and hopes to answer questions from staff and students.

Carrefour promotes DIY masks following the shortage of medical ones - Carrefour Nice TNL located in Riquier has reportedly been accused of creating a "Bad buzz" on social media after promoting “DIY masks” following the recent shortage of “medical masks” due to the coronavirus. The work site accessory which does not protect against the coronavirus epidemic, were on offer at “1 euro for five masks”.

Management of the supermarket chain in Paris commented on the incident declaring that "This kind of promotion was not appropriate in the current context."

Contacted, the management of the store in Nice added that "The masks had been returned to their place, to the DIY department,". The group said it had been "a regrettable error" and "apologised".

Drug dealers arrested - Police in the Var have arrested two young drug dealers in La Gabelle district of Frejus.

The two aged 20 and 14 years old were caught while occupying the stairwell of a building. They had reportedly set up an improvised “shop” where timetables and prices of products available were openly displayed.

The police are tirelessly fighting against the drug trafficking which is rampant in the La Gabelle district of Fréjus.

Rodeo in Nice - Police in Nice are currently fighting a new trend of illegal rodeos which are taking place in the industrial area of Carros. Up to 200 drivers and their vehicles meet on a weekly basis, almost every Friday night. Police are trying to combat the dangerous activity with a road safety squadron being regularly deployed.

Harry’s Bar set to open in Cannes - It's official! from June 2020, the oldest cocktail bar in Europe, the Harry’s Bar, will open in Cannes in the heart of Port Canto. The emblematic establishment already established in Paris, will open its doors and 150 square metre terrace where customers can enjoy Cuban cocktails at the water’s edge.

National

Jail - Two men who impersonated a French minister to trick wealthy people out of more than €55m have been jailed by a court in Paris.

The two conned their victims by impersonating Jean-Yves Le Drian, often wearing a silicone mask. They denied fraud and usurping Mr Le Drian's identity but were found guilty.

Business

US President Donald Trump has announced sweeping new travel restrictions including a ban on flights from Europe excluding the UK for 30 days.

Addressing the nation from the Oval Office for only the second time since he came to power ,Mr Trump said that to keep new cases of coronavirus entering America’s shores ,all travel from Europe would be suspended from Friday.

He said that the European Union had “failed to take the same precautions” as the US in fighting the virus .

The ban will apply to anyone who has been in the EU’s Schengen border-free area within 14 days prior to their arrival in America but will not apply to US citizens.

Ireland may also be exempt from the ban as it’s not in the Schengen area.

Markets have reacted negatively to Mr Trump’s statement with concerns that it will put further pressure on airlines that have already been suffering seriously since coronavirus started to spread outside China.

Mr Trump also announced that the administration will provide capital and liquidity to small firms affected by the outbreak as well as financial relief for US workers who are ill ,quarantined or caring for others due to the virus.

In the UK ,the new Chancellor of the Exchequer has delivered his maiden budget speech to Parliament with measures more in keeping with a left-wing administration finance minister.

Rishi Sunak unveiled a 30 billion pound package to deal with coronavirus and suspended business rates on many firms as well as extending sick pay and boosting the National Health Service.

The budget speech followed an emergency interest rate by the Bank of England with Mr Sunak warning that the virus would cause a “significant” but temporary disruption to the UK economy.

In other measures ,duty on alcohol was frozen for another year as was fuel duty.

Spending plans announced by the Chancellor will largely be paid for by a big increase in public borrowing with the government forecast to borrow almost 100 billion pounds more in the current Parliament.

The UK Office for Budget Responsibility said that the extra spending on government departments and investment represented the biggest budget giveaway since 1992.

And-Oil prices have slumped again this morning after President Trump banned travel from Europe.

Market concerns were fanned by a thread of a flood of cheap supply by Saudi Arabia in its standoff with Russia.

Brent Crude fell by 5.3 percent a little earlier today to 33 dollars 88 with West Texas Intermediate down 5.3 percent at 31 dollars 24.

Oil is down by around 50 percent from highs reached in January.

Sport

Football-Liverpool are out of the European Champions League after losing 3-2 at home to Athletico Madrid in last night’s round of 16 second leg tie.

The match went to extra time with Athletico eventually coming out 4-2 winners on aggregate.

Paris St Germain won the other tie last night winning 2-0 on the night to come through 3-2 on aggregate.The match was played behind closed door because of the coronavirus.

Several Europa League ties will be played behind closed doors tonight because of the virus.Manchester United are away at LASK in the round of 16 with Wolves away at Olympiakos and Rangers at home to Bayer Leverkusen.

There was one game in the Scottish Premiership last night.St Mirren beat Hearts 1-0.

Formula 1-More team members have been placed in isolation ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne after showing signs of coronavirus.

On Wednesday it was announced that two members of the Haas team and one from McLaren had been tested for the virus and several more have been showing signs of being unwell today.

The race organisers are still insisting that the Grand Prix will go ahead this weekend and that fans will be allowed to attend.

Meanwhile the Vietnam Grand Prix which is due to be held on the 5th of April could be postponed.

Vietnam has said that it will ban anyone who’s been in Italy in the past 14 days from entering the country which would exclude personnel from Ferrari and Alpha Tauri as well as the tyre manufacturer Pirelli.

The Formula 1 boss Chase Carey is in Vietnam in a bid to ensure that the race goes ahead but if authorities insist on the restrictions then it can’t go ahead as the sport’s organisers have made it clear that no Grand Prix can be staged unless personnel can get there.

Cycling-Soren Kragh Andersen has won the time trial on day 4 of the Paris to Nice race as Max Schachmann extended his overall lead.

Andersen completed the time trial at Saint-Amand Montrond in 18 minutes 51 seconds ,holding Schachmann off by 6 seconds.

Racing-Politologue has won the Queen Mother Champion Chase at the Cheltenham Festival.

Last year’s runner up led from start to finish to give trainer Paul Nicholls is first Festival win this year.

Today’s feature race is the Ryanair Chase at 3.50 French time.

Weather

Partially cloudy with light variable winds.

Top temperature 16 degrees.

Overnight lows of 12 degrees with partially cloudy skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Partially cloudy  with highs of 16-18 degrees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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