Lunchtime news Wednesday 11th March 2020
Student fined for insulting firemen - A 25 year old student has been fined 2,000 euro’s after having publicly insulted firefighters here in the Principality. The incident dates back to June last year when the young man made a rude hand gesture towards the firemen, who were on duty at the time.
Coronavirus scams - The French public has been warned against scams such as fake sanitiser gel and tests, expired masks, and soaring prices for hand gel as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.
The regional health agency in the Pays de la Loire found that some private companies were offering “fast” Covid-19 tests for sale, mainly to elderly care homes. This is despite the fact that only hospitals are currently authorised to perform the tests properly. No other tests are genuine or guaranteed to provide accurate results.
SNCF announces free exchanges and refunds - The French rail company the SNCF has announced that it will allow free exchanges and refunds on tickets due to coronavirus.
In a statement the SNCF said “For journeys until 20th April, the SNCF has decided to not apply fees for exchanges and refunds on TGV InOui, Ouigo and Intercités tickets.” The move also applies to connecting TERs.
SNCF said it was aiming to help passengers “during this difficult period linked to the spread of Covid-19, which is causing a feeling of uncertainty when it comes to travel among French people and foreign tourists”, and “allows everyone to calmly prepare their movements, with the reassurance of knowing they can postpone or cancel their journeys without fees”.
Sea extension here in the Principality - The first elements of the future landscape of the extension into the sea here in the Principality have been planted. A first shipment of trees was received in February with at least two more to follow.
The landscaping plan has been designed by the renowned cabinet of landscape architect Michel Desvigne.
Bal de la Rose postponed - It’s been announced that the Bal de la Rose has been postponed. The annual event was due to take place on March 21st. However with the threat of coronavirus organisers have decided to postpone the charity event which has taken place every year in the Principality since 1954.
French President on the coronavirus - French President Emmanuel Macron has addressed the nation on Tuesday evening after a conference call with EU leaders on the coronavirus outbreak, saying that European nations will do everything that is needed to slow the disease’s spread. He also argued that “we must not give in to panic”, criticising Austria and Slovenia for closing their borders with Italy.
Macron said EU leaders have agreed to take "all measures necessary" to avoid economic instability caused by the coronavirus crisis, adding that "at the European level we will be more flexible in terms of state aid" and that countries' health ministers will speak to the European Commission on a daily basis. Nevertheless the French president also reiterated that "we musn't give in to panic".
Union secretary calls for employment reform to be postponed - Laurent Berger has called for "supportive measures to be introduced for workers" during the coronavirus outbreak. Speaking on French radio this morning the secretary general of the CFDT Berger also called for the new unemployment reform not to be introduced on the first of April due to the current situation.