French and Riviera News Thursday 9th April 2020

 

 

Confinement extended - The confinement measures introduced in France in an attempt to stem the spread of the conoravirus  "will be extended" beyond April 15th. The French President Emmanuel Macron is to address the nation on Monday 13th shortly after 8pm to present decisions made concerning the fight against the epidemic for the next few weeks. 

The President has not specified the new duration of the confinement, a subject that the head of state will address on Easter Monday, in his fourth televised address since March 12th.

Three establishments closed for failing to respect confinement - Meanwhile the Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes Bernard Gonzalez has announced, in a press release that three establishments have been closed down in Nice until the 15th April for having failed to comply to confinement measures. Two bars (which were already supposed to remain completely closed) and a grocery store had continued to stay open and serve customers until late, violating restrictions in place. Following the closure there has been an increase in police presence in the area as the Prefect warns that authorities will not hesitate to sanction those who fail to respect the confinement measures. 

Masks - Meanwhile in Nice following a press conference held by the mayor of Nice Chritian Estrosi on Wednesday, more details have been given about the obligation to wear protective masks during the coronavirus epidemic. Estrosi detailed the first outlines of a new measure announced earlier this week. 

Nearly 800,000 masks have already been ordered by the region. Adding that  "A mask production center will be created in Nice"

Many are asking when will the masks become mandatory? The date is not yet fixed. It will depend on further announcements expected from the French government. Christian Estrosi said that wearing a mask would become compulsory in Nice, "from the start, of the end of the confinement period which is still to be decided by the government."

Distributions will start from April 17th. Residents will be invited to register online to reserve your mask and pick it up from a meeting point. There will be one meeting point per district. For the elderly and isolated people masks will be delivered to their homes.

Masks will be expected to be worn when outdoors be it for going to the shops or physical activity. Homemade masks will be valid as long as they meet the UNS1, UNS2 or AFNOR standard. You are not obliged to wear the mask in your car they are intended for circulation in public spaces. It is up to everyone to take care of their masks. 

 

Coronavirus - Since the start of the epidemic in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, 100 patients have died from Covid-19 in hospital, according to the National Public Health Agency France. And 34 residents in the Mougins nursing home.


In the Alpes-Maritimes, contrary to what had been communicated on Tuesday, due to an erroneous bulletin from the Agency, the number of people hospitalized has not decreased. And in the Var a counting error on the bulletin had brought the number of deaths to 46 instead of 44.

Eight people died of Covid-19 on Wednesday in hospitals, in the Var and Alpes-Maritimes regions, according to data provided by the French National Public Health Agency.

In the Alpes-Maritimes, the death toll rose from 48 to 56 dead. Two hundred and fifty-eight people are currently hospitalized. 

In the Var, since the start of the epidemic, 44 people have been killed by the virus in hospital. And not 46, as announced on Tuesday. The number of hospitalized patients is 267. Fifty-six Covid-19 carriers are in intensive care. 

In the Alpes-Maritimes, the death toll in the nursing home of Mougins increased to 34 dead.

Since the start of the epidemic in the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes, 134 people have not survived the virus in hospital or in nursing homes.

Shopkeeper organises collection for those in hospital and nursing homes - A shopkeeper in Nice has organised a collection of toiletries for hospital patients and nursing homes. 47 year old Michael Saule and father of three runs a small supermarket in the centre of Nice. The aim is to collect toiletries for nursing homes but also for patients who, from one minute to the next, find themselves hospitalised without time to prepare and with loved ones unable to visit. For information go to Facebook page the details are on Riviera Radio website. (Facebook page Solidarité infirmiers CHU Nice).

Two whales spotted off the Calanques in Marseille - Two whales have been spotted in the Calanques in Marseille, probably a consequence of confinement. With the confinement meaning the reduction of maritime traffic, whales are approaching the coast line. Rare images were caught as the president of the Calangues National Park observed that "with less traffic at sea and fewer people on boats, them are more inclined to approach the coast".  

Shortage of condoms  - The UN has reported concerns over "dire" shortage of condoms due to the coronavirus outbreak. Restrictions in many countries are disrupting the manufacture and delivery of condoms, raising fears of an increase in unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections.


The looming global shortage of condoms is surprising. And yet, according to the main manufacturer in the sector, we're heading for a shortage, because many factories and distribution channels are currently paralyzed by the coronavirus epidemic.

Almost half of the world's people are currently confined to their homes and businesses deemed "non-essential" are closed in many countries. In Malaysia, one of the first producer countries of condoms and rubber, their raw material, strict confinement has been in force since March 18 after an upsurge in Covid-19 cases.

At the United Nations, there is concern about this "disastrous" situation. The UN agency in charge of sexual and reproductive health (United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA) warned that it could only get 50% to 60% of its usual condom deliveries because of the disturbances linked to the virus. "Border closures and other restrictive measures are disrupting transport and production in several countries and regions," said a spokesperson for UNFPA, which had to find new suppliers urgently.

Finance Minister promises aid - The Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire has promised that there will be a solidarity fund set up to help entrepreneurs and the self-employed , companies which due to the coronavirus are at risk of filing for bankruptcy. Those concerned will be able to benefit from a 5,000 euros aid and an exemption from social charges for which payment has been postponed.

The coronavirus lockdown has caused France’s economy to shrink 6 percent in the first quarter of 2020, its worst performance since 1945, according to Bank of France estimates on Wednesday.  

Construction was the hardest hit sector, reporting an average loss of three quarters of activity, followed by shops, transportation, hotel and restaurant services, which reported average losses of two-thirds. Along with manufacturing, these sectors make up 55 percent of France’s GDP. 

Less severly effected but still reporting significant losses were the agriculture and food industries, refinery and energy and finance and real estate services. 

 

Business.

 

US Federal Reserve officials have warned that the economic recovery following the end of the coronavirus pandemic will be sluggish and that consumers will remain cautious.

America is set for a deep slide over the coming months with the coronavirus forcing businesses to shut and putting millions out of work.

Policymakers are also warning that financial and job insecurity will almost certainly see consumers hang on to their money which will seriously affect retail businesses.

The president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank ,Robert Kaplan says that he estimates that the economy will be between 4 and 5 percent smaller at the end of the year than it was at the end of 2019.

Consumer spending has been the mainstay of the US economy for decades but that’s set to be severely restricted over the coming months.

President Trump has said that he hopes that once infections are on the wane ,the economy can reopen and “rocket” back to its pre-crisis strength but experts warn that the recovery will be fragile ,at least until a vaccine is available with a big risk of a deep and prolonged downturn until the pandemic comes to an end.

 

The World Trade Organisation has predicted a severe decline in international commerce this year.

In a report published on Wednesday ,the WTO forecast a contraction of between 13 and 32 percent reflecting the continuing uncertainties about the health crisis.

The WTO says that the slump in trade is likely to exceed that caused by the financial crisis of 2008 and in the most pessimistic case would amount to a decline in global trade similar to that which happened during the Great Depression 90 years ago.

The WTO described the figures as “ugly” and said that there was “no getting around” the situation.

 

 

And-Saudi Arabia and Russia will meet today to discuss cuts in oil output but the United States maintains that it won’t join the effort.

Global demand for fuel has plunged by some 30 percent with lockdowns grounding aircraft ,reducing vehicle usage and curbing economic activity.

Crude prices have slumped below the cost of production for many countries including the booming US shale oil industry.

Saudi Arabia and Russia have yet to agree on how deep production cuts should be and whether they would be distributed among Opec members and other production nations.

The US administration says that production is already falling without government intervention and that it has no plans to introduce mandatory cuts.

 

Sport.

 

Football-English Premier League players have launched an initiative to help the country’s National Health Service.

The #PlayersTogether initiative has been set up to help those fighting the coronavirus on the front line and is in partnership with the NHS Charities Together.

More than 150 players in the top flight have joined the initiative so far which will grant funds to the NHS frontline.

Recently ,players have been criticised for not taking voluntary pay cuts but the latest move has been welcomed by the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

 

Cricket-Ben Stokes has become the first Englishman since 2005 to be named as Wisden’s leading cricketer in the world.

Stokes played a key role in England’s World Cup victory last summer and also scored a stunning 135 not out in the third Ashes Test against Australia to keep the series alive.

The last English player to win the award was Andrew Flintoff.

 

Rugby Union-Leading players in Wales are taking a 25 percent pay cut as the sport deals with the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The Professional Rugby Board and the four regions reached the agreement on Wednesday.

The salary reduction is effective from the 1st of April and will last three months.

 

Golf-Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington has said that there’s common consensus that the event won’t happen unless fans are allowed to attend.

In an interview with the BBC ,Harrington said that nobody wants to see the Ryder Cup played without fans being there.

The event is still scheduled to take place at Whistling Straits ,Wisconsin from the 25th to the 27th of September. The four golf Majors have already been postponed or cancelled.

 

Weather.

 

Clear skies  with light variable winds.

Top temperature 18-21 degrees.

Overnight lows of 11 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Friday and the start of the weekend-Clear skies with highs of 19-22 degrees.

 

 

 

 

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