French and Riviera News Wednesday 18th March 2020

News-Wednesday.18.03.2020

HSH adresses the people of Monaco - HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has addressed the people of Monaco declaring that in the face of the coronavirus the Principality is prepared and that as of midnight on Tuesday limits to non essential travel were to be imposed following the previous measures enforced on Saturday of the closing of all « non essential places » to the public. 

The Prince thanked the work of the health service as well as the city council and authorities. In an unprecedented situation the Prince added that the government will give special aid 

to help the economy and businesses affected by the measures.

The Prince ended by saying that « he is confident in the public to take the necessary responsibilities and has complete faith ».

Latest figures - The latest figures on the coronavirus now amounts to 104 cases in the Alpes-Maritimes. 

Since Friday February 28, 2020, 481 people have tested positive for the Covid-19 coronavirus in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region (including 128 hospitalizations)

-7 people in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence;

-25 people in the Hautes-Alpes;

-104 people in the Alpes-Maritimes;

- 237 people in the Bouches-du-Rhône;

-95 people in the Var;

-13 people in Vaucluse.

Among these cases, 22 people were on Tuesday evening in intensive care. 4 deaths are to be deplored.

The victims were hospitalized in hospitals in the Alpes-Maritimes, Bouches-du-Rhône and Vaucluse. "With the increase in the number of cases, the systematic search for contacts has become useless. Testing all patients with symptoms would lead to the saturation of the screening system. Health officials added that «  only screening for severe cases and the collective structures of fragile people makes it possible to take

immediate action ».

In France,  there have so far been 175 deaths of which 7% were aged under 65, announced Jérôme Salomon, Director General of Health. 

Meanwhile measures to be respected following the fight to stem the spread of the coronavirus in France have seen police deployed across the country. On Tuesday it was reported that warnings were given however, as of today people will face being fined. In Italy on Tuesday officials reported the highest number of fines issued, for non respect of limits which had been put in place by the authorities

Police in Nice started to check road users in particular on the Promenade des Anglais on Tuesday afternoon adding that "checks would intensify as time goes on". Spectacular queues are being seen in the region outside bakeries, pharmacies and supermarkets as people are now respecting the safety distance as a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus. 

Meanwhile  as the French confine themselves for at least two weeks, the police have pointed out that it is not always necessary to go to the police station in person for any procedures. In order not to overload the police force unnecessarily, or to risk spreading the virus the police have reminded people that there are numerous options to report cases and file complaints via the website www.interieur.gouv.fr 

However remember that in the event of an emergency requiring immediate police intervention, dial 17.

Paracetamol - As of today, pharmacists will be able to dispense without prescription a single box of paracetamol per patient without symptoms and two boxes in the event of symptoms. The online sale of drugs based on paracetamol, ibuprofen and aspirin is suspended. The sale of paracetamol, recommended to combat symptoms due to coronavirus, will be restricted in pharmacies and suspended on the internet from this Wednesday, announced French authorities. 

Nice airport - Following the announcement by Emmanuel Macron on Monday morning, conforming the closure of European borders. As of today, Nice Côte d'Azur airport, like the whole of the French territory, will only accept nationals of the European Union, the Schengen area or the United Kingdom.

Since Sunday, all flights are grouped  at Terminal 2, with Terminal 1 remaining closed until further notice.From now on only European nationals "or those with a valid residence permit, in France or in Europe", "will be allowed to enter France.

Nice canon - If you heard the familiar midday canon on Tuesday in Nice, then it was the last time for a while. As the city took measures to confine it’spopulation in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus the tradition has been interrupted. 

The firing of the canon is a tradition which dates back to 1885 but that it marked something rather different to what it meant then, marking on Tuesday at midday, the introduction of new confinement measures.

Fired in the 1860s by a Scottish Lord Sir Thomas Coventry the canon was used to remind a too talkative wife that it was lunchtime. The  canon, has since become a true symbol of Nice. To the point that at the time of Coventry’s departure the population demanded that the tradition remain. In recent years, only the commemorations of July 14have silenced it.

Monaco - Monaco City Council has extended its home meal delivery service to all residents over 70 and to frail people. The number to contact for this service is Monaco 93 15 22 99 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 6:00 pm. For non-food shopping, particularly for pharmaceutical products, a delivery service has also been established in Monaco. Contact 97 97 68 00 Monday to Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Monaco City Council has also decided to grant free surface parking throughout the Principality. The PayByPhone service is therefore suspended and parking meters are free.

Forest fire - A forest fire has destroyed 8,000 square meters of wooded land.  The fire broke out on Tuesday afternoon at Le Plan in Aups in the Var. 21 firefighters were deployed and the fire was contained. An investigation has been open into the cause of the blaze. 

Solidarity - The coronavirus crisis has seen numerous spontaneous solidarity movements in the region. The latest came from staff at the pizzeria Le Feu Follet in La Garde which having closed due to the restrictions in preventing the spread of the virus decided to send anonymously twenty cheeseburgers, and several pizza to doctors and nurses at the A&E department with a simple note saying « good luck and thank you ». 

Meanwhile In Cagnes sur mer it’s 16 years old Maxime Willebien-Pessina who has launched a group on Facebook: "The Cagnois at the windows": 

In this group, he launches a daily meeting. Everyone on their balcony,at their window, every evening at 6 p.m."For a minute, we applaud to thank the health staff, the firefighters, the police, and all those who keep us safe."

And in Nice the mayor has called for a similar action to take place in Nice at 8pm on Thursday.

Following the new measures with the clear message to « stay at home during the 15 day lockdown introduced at midday on Tuesday Riviera Radio reminds you that the following are allowed: 

• Travelling to work is permitted so long as the work is essential, cannot be postponed, and cannot be done from home

• Shopping for groceries and other essential items is allowed; there is no need for panic-buying as supermarkets and bakers can remain open throughout the lockdown

• Exceptions are also made for “imperative family reasons”, such as looking after children and the elderly. In practice, parents with shared custody can travel between each other’s homes; shopping for an elderly relative is also allowed (as long as people keep to a safe distance when visiting vulnerable relatives)

• Brief outings to get some exercise or take pets for a walk are allowed, albeit “with parsimony”; Castaner stressed that all group activities, such as playing a football match, are strictly banned 

• All health-related appointments are permitted, including trips to the pharmacy. For all information on the coronavirus outbreak in France, dial 08 00 130 000, free of charge. 

All people leaving their homes must carry a signed form, or attestation, explaining where they are headed and why. A different form is needed for each outing. Failure to produce one will result in a fine. The form details the five motives listed above; tick the relevant box when filling it in.

Business

The US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said that he supports sending money directly to Americans as  part of a one trillion dollar stimulus package aimed at averting an economic crisis caused by coronavirus.

Mr Mnuchin said that he was looking at sending citizens cheques “immediately” as part of a huge aid package which the White House is discussing with Congress.

The United States has been debating ways of providing relief to the economy as activity grinds to a halt in response to curfews and other measures intended to slow the spread of the virus.

Details of how large the cheques would be and who would qualify for them are still being discussed.

Meanwhile ,in the UK the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has announced what he described as an “unprecedented” set of financial measures to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.

The measures include mortgage holidays for those in financial difficulties as well as 330 billion pounds in loans and 20 billion pounds in other aid to protest businesses facing losses.

The loans ,which account for 15 percent of GDP will be available from next week to help businesses pay for supplies ,rent and salaries.

In France ,the Economy Minster Bruno le Maire was warned of a coming recession and announced a 45 billion euro aid package to help businesses and employees cope with the crisis.He also said that the government was ready to nationalise firms if necessary to protect the economy from the fallout.

 

Several UK airports have warned that they may have to shut unless there’s government intervention to help them weather the Coronavirus outbreak.

Heathrow ,Manchester and Gatwick have signed a joint letter to the Prime Minister warning that they may have to close passenger facilities and halt operations adding tan hundreds of thousands of jobs are at real risk.

Heathrow alone employs 70,000 workers directly.

The UK based Airpor Operators Association says that other hubs could go out of business within weeks and has called for immediate suspension of taxes and business rates as well as the provision of emergency financing.

Passenger traffic through airports has plummeted in the light of the virus outbreak.

It’s hoped that the government’s stimulus package announced on Tuesday will help to ease the situation.

 

And-The fashion and furniture chain Laura Ashley has said that it will be calling in the administrators putting 2,700 jobs at risk.

The firm is one of many household names struggling from the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak with recent rescue talks scuppered by the disruption.

Laura Ashley operates more than 150 stores across the UK and was seeking a 15 million pound emergency loan by the end of March.

In a statement on Tuesday , the firm said that revised cash flow forecasts and increasing uncertainty it would not be in position to draw down additional funds from third party lenders in a timely manner sufficient to supporting  working capital requirements.

Sport

Football-The European Championships have been postponed until 2021 because of Coronavirus.

Europe’s governing body Uefa made the announcement on Tuesday following an emergency video conference with major stakeholders.

The tournament had been due to take place between the 12th of June to the 12th of July across major European cities.It will now be held between June and July next year.

Domestic leagues across Europe have also been postponed until at least the 4th of April with no clear sign that they can be completed.

 

Athletics-A member of the International Olympic Committee has said that plans for the Summer Games to go ahead are “insensitive and irresponsible”.

Hayley Wickenheiser said that the world doesn’t know what’s happening in the next 24 hours let alone the next three months.

Wickenheiser was a member of the Canada team that won 4 successive gold medals in the hockey event at the Winter Olympics.

She said that athletes can’t train ,attendees can’t plan to travel and sponsors and marketers can’t proceed with any degree of sensitivity.

On Tuesday ,Japan said that it was still planning for a complete staging of the games.

 

 

Cricket-The England pace bowler Jones Archer has slammed racist abuse on social media after posting a series of unpleasant messages that he’s received.

The 24 year old say that the issues need to be addressed properly after posting screenshots of racist messages on his Instagram.

Archer said that he would never understand how people feel so freely to say such things to another human being.

 

American Football-The legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has announced that he’s leaving the team after 20 years.

Brady won 6 Super Bowls with the Patriots after being drafted in in 2000.

He’s also been on the losing side on 3 occasions.

He said that it was time for him to open a new stage in his life and career and will now be free to speak to other teams.

Many commentators believe the 42 year old to be the greatest quarterback of all time.

 

Golf-The USA PGA has become the second major after the Masters to be cancelled.

The second major of the year was due to be held in San Francisco between the 11th and 17th of May but has been postponed on the advice of public health authorities.

 

Tennis-The French Open at Roland Garros will be moved to September and October because of the spread of coronavirus.

The event was due to be played from the 24th of May until the 7th of June but will now be staged between the 20th of September and the 4th of October.

It will now start just one week after the completion of the US Open.

 

 

Racing-All racing in the UK has been scrapped until the end of April because of Coronavirus.

Initially the British Horseracing Authority has said that meetings would be staged behind closed doors but in light of the national emergency it’s been decided to suspend all events with immediate effect.

The Grand National at Aintree is the major victim of the decision removing one of the Prime sporting events from the calendar.

 

Formula 1-The entire Ferrari team have gone into self isolation since their return from the Australian Grand Prix.

The move is a precaution as no member of the team has yet tested positive for coronavirus.Most are staying in hotels at the firm’s own expense and it’s not clear when they’ll return to work.

 

Weather

Mainly fine with light variable winds.

Top temperatures 17-19 degrees.

Overnight lows of 10 degrees on the coast and 7 degrees inland with clear skies.

Thursday and Friday-Mainly fine with highs of 17-18 degrees.

 

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