Lunchtime News Tuesday 26th May 2020

End of lockdown - The latest reports released by the Regional Health Department in France have shown a significant drop in hospitalizations and the number of patients admitted to intensive care due to coronavirus since May 11th.

Two weeks after the lifting of lockdown measures, the political and scientific authorities in France are preparing to draw up an initial assessment. Four metropolitan areas were classified red zones on May 7th due to active circulation of the virus and a saturation of hospital capacities. With plans for the second phase on June 2nd set to be announced on Thursday the question is whether the whole of France will be classified as green for June 2nd.

Figures observed since in Île-de-France, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté, Grand-Est and Hauts-de-France, have confirmed a clear trend of improvement.  

Other indicators are however essential to understand the circulation of the virus include the positivity rate and the origin of new cases of contamination. While Public Health France has identified 46 new sources of contamination in France, the authorities lack data on their origin, in particular the rate of contagious people who travel by public transport or go to their place of work.

From this week, however, it will be possible to have a first glimpse of the success of the deconfinement. With the incubation period of coronavirus being 14 days, it is in the coming days that we will see if a second wave of contamination is emerging or not.

European D-Day for tourism - Italy has announced plans to push for a coordinated resumption of travel in Europe on June 15th.

A statement from the Italian foreign minister has said that Italy along with other countries, such as Germany and France are working together for June 15th to mark what the minister described as a “European D-Day for tourism within Europe”.

The Italian minister’s statements are in line with a Franco-German call for the borders to be reopened as quickly as possible, launched today by the President of the French National Assembly and his German counterpart.

To date, a border reopening is scheduled within Europe from mid-June, but so far announcements have been made in disorder between European countries despite calls by the European Commission to further consultation.

In theory, travel between regions in Italy will be free from June 3rd. But a final decision is expected at the end of the week, as the government remains concerned about the situation, in the north of the country which has been badly hit by the virus.

Since the start of the epidemic 32,877 people who contracted the coronavirus have died. Currently 55,300 people are still declared positive for the virus in Italy.

France to prepare for an unprecedented wave of redundancies and bankruptcies - France’s Minister of economy Bruno le Maire has warned that “France is to prepare for an unprecedented wave of layoffs and bankruptcies” adding that “the companies most affected by the crisis will not withstand the shock”.

“Even if the government injects tens of billions of euros every month to try to save the French economy, it cannot avoid the inevitable: a multiplication of redundancies with companies unable to withstand the deepest recession since the end of World War II” said the minister.

When France went into lockdown in March, President Emmanuel Macron had nevertheless announced that "no business" would be put "at the risk of bankruptcy". But now, in the phase of progressive deconfinement the government is preparing the contrary. "There will be bankruptcies and there will be layoffs in the coming months," warned Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire to French media.

Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region - Meanwhile in the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region nearly two out of five companies have obtained deferral payments for social charges as part of the implementation of "anti-Covid" measures.

Two in five of establishments are active in the private sector. The total amount of the deferral represents a total of 528 million euros, or 40% of the amounts initially expected in the PACA region.

"The deferral rate of corporate social security contributions is the highest for hotels, cafes and restaurants sector (49.6% of active establishments). In the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, it accounted for 24.9% of deferrals during the April due dates.

Smoking decreases in France - A recent study ahead of “World no tobacco day” on Sunday 31st May has shown that the number of daily smokers has decreased “significantly” in France between 2018 and 2019.

France has highlighted a “sharp drop” in general smoking since 2014. Smoking is responsible for 75,000 deaths per year in France.

Couple caught speeding let off - A couple caught speeding on the RN21, in central France were found to have a good reason not to be given a fine by police as the driver’s wife was about to give birth.

Having intercepted the car police went on to assure that the expectant mother arrived safely by escorting the couple to A&E.

 

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