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France sees further decline in coronavirus-related hospitalizations

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The pressure on French health services continued to be eased as COVID-19 hospitalizations further declined, official data showed on Friday.

As of Friday, 17,383 COVID-19 patients remained in hospitals, a one-day decline of 200, confirming a downward trend reported since early April. Of the hospitalized, 1,701 are in intensive care, down by 44 over the past 24 hours, the country’s health ministry said.

Since the start of the epidemic, 100,038 people have been hospitalized for coronavirus infection. Of them, 64,209 people have left hospitals.

The ministry said that overall COVID-19-linked fatalities would be updated on Monday. As of Thursday, France had registered 28,215 deaths in total.

(XINHUA)

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France further unwinds anti-coronavirus lockdown from June 2

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People wearing protective face shields have coffee at Cafe de Flore in Paris, France, June 2, 2020. France further unwound anti-coronavirus lockdown from June 2, 2020. Restaurants, cafes and bars in low risk areas are able to receive customers, providing they respect health protocol and social distancing. In Great Paris region, classified as “orange” zone, they can only open outside spaces to avoid a resurgence of the epidemic. (Xinhua/Gao Jing)

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France reports 107 new single-day deaths from COVID-19

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With 107 COVID-19 deaths reported in the last 24 hours, France‘s total death toll from the coronavirus-caused disease rose to 28,940 on Tuesday, official figures showed.

Among the deaths, 18,590 were reported in hospitals, 84 more than the day before, 10,350 were reported at nursing homes and medico-social establishments since March 1, said the Health Ministry in a statement.

Currently, 14,028 patients are still in hospitals, including 1,253 in intensive care. The two figures, key indicators to evaluate the country’s ability to cope with the epidemic, fell by 260 and 49 respectively in the last 24 hours.

Of the 101,932 hospitalized since early March, 68,812 were declared recovered and returned home, said the ministry.

The number of confirmed cases increased by 766 in one day to 151,325, it added.

On Tuesday, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout France reopened their doors to customers. Museums, parks and schools are all allowed to reopen now. Swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theaters in so-called “green” zones also reopened.

Unlimited travel is now permitted between the country’s regions, and people can once again enjoy the sun and the sea as the beaches have also reopened.

France has entered the second phase of deconfinement…French people find some of their daily habits again. This good news should not make us forget that the virus remains active,” warned the ministry.

(XINHUA)

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France to sign off on €5bn aid for Renault after jobs pledge

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The French government is set to sign off on a five -billion-euro (5.6-billion-dollar) loan guarantee to help carmaker Renault overcome the COVID-19 crisis, the Economy Ministry said on Tuesday.

The development came after Renault management and unions agreed to start discussions on preserving jobs at a factory at Maubeuge in northern France affected by a cost-cutting plan announced on Friday.

Renault, which posted an overall net loss of 141 million euros for 2019, aims to cut costs by 2.2 billion euros over the next three years.

Chief executive Clotilde Delbos said on Friday that the plan would affect 15,000 jobs worldwide and nearly 4,600 in France.

But President Emmanuel Macron earlier in the week warned there would have to be an agreement about jobs at the Maubeuge plant and a nearby factory in Douai before the government, which with a 15.01-per-cent stake is Renault’s biggest shareholder, would sign off on the loan guarantee.

The ministry said talks between management, unions and regional authorities on the future of the Maubeuge site would begin next week.

Renault has been going through a turbulent period since its then boss, Carlos Ghosn, was arrested in Japan in late 2018 on charges of financial misconduct at allied firm Nissan, which he also headed.

Ghosn, who denies any wrongdoing, subsequently fled to Lebanon.

Nissan last week posted a net annual loss of 671.2 billion yen (6.2 billion dollars) due to slumping sales, restructuring costs and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

IAA

Edited By: Isaac Aregbesola (NAN)

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France donates protective equipment to Lebanese civil defense for fight against COVID-19

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The French Embassy in Lebanon donated on Tuesday protective equipment to the Lebanese civil defense to help its members to properly carry out their tasks in emergency situations related to COVID-19 spread in the country, LBCI local TV channel reported.

The donation took place under an agreement signed between the Internal Security Department at the French embassy and the Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Commission at the Presidency of the Council of Ministers.

On April 25, France also donated to Lebanon biological protection gears and equipment to detect COVID-19 infection.

(XINHUA)

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France enters second phase in easing of cononavirus restrictions

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Basking in spring sunshine, restaurants, bars and cafes throughout France reopened their doors to customers on Tuesday morning with tables positioned at least one meter apart, kicking off the second phase of de-confinement in the country.

Museums and parks are now allowed to welcome back visitors, students are returning to schools and people can visit swimming pools, gyms, amusement parks and theaters again in so-called “green” zones where the lockdown curbs are further relaxed.

Unlimited travel is now permitted between the country’s regions, and people can once again enjoy the sun and the sea as the beaches have also reopened.

Like millions of French citizens, Narjess, 41, an English teacher at a training center in Paris, enjoyed this big day after she had been forced to stay at home for nearly three months.

At last, I can find my daily life as before the confinement. It’s a great pleasure. I’m so happy to see again my colleagues and students, and this fills me with energy,” she said.

She told Xinhua she planned to celebrate “this beautiful day” by joining her friends later in the day for a drink in a bar, a first since March 17.

France had started 15-day nationwide confinement at midday on March 17 to limit the spread of the coronavirus. The confinement was extended twice and ended on May 11, when France cautiously started the first phase in easing some restrictions.

During this second phase, “freedom will become the rule again and bans will be the exception,” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said last week when he unveiled his de-confinement strategy.

However, the greater Paris area (Ile-de-France region) as well as the overseas territories of Mayotte and Guiana remains “exceptions.” In these areas, still in the higher-risk “orange” category, restaurants, bars and cafes can serve their clients on outdoor terraces only. People there must wait three more weeks if they want to go to swimming pools, attend concerts or exercise outdoors.

“The reopening of cafes, hotels and restaurants marks the return of happy days! There is no doubt that the French will find this part of the French spirit, our culture and our way of life again,” President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.

About 300,000 restaurants and cafes were allowed to receive customers on Tuesday, 60,000 of them in Paris and its suburbs. Some 500,000 workers in the sector resumed their work, according to Economy and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.

Since mid-April, the coronavirus situation in France has improved, paving the way for the government to further relax the restrictions, allowing a gradual return to normalcy while maintaining a high level of vigilance to avoid a second wave.

As of Monday, France had 14,288 people hospitalized with COVID-19 infection, 1,302 of them in intensive care. The overall death toll stood at 28,833, with a single day-rise of 31, the lowest daily toll since early April when the pandemic was at its peak and took as many lives as 1,400 in one day.

“This good news should not make us forget that the virus is still circulating in national territory and remains dangerous,” the Health Ministry warned.

To Genevieve Chene, head of the public health agency Sante Publique France (SPF), “the indicators are very favorable.” However, she warned that the virus is still here even if its circulation is slowing.

“We should remain cautious. This is the first time that we see this virus, and this epidemic has produced some surprises, such as the contagiousness of asymptomatic cases,” Chene told France 2 TV.

(XINHUA)

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France to further unwind anti-coronavirus lockdown

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France’s COVID-19 death toll up 57 to 28,771

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France on Saturday recorded 57 new COVID-19 deaths, taking the tally to 28,771, while fewer hospitalized patients were registered for the seventh week in a row.

In a statement, the country’s Health Ministry said the human loss caused by the disease rose by 0.3 percent in hospitals to 18,444, while that of nursing homes and other medico-social establishments would be updated on June 2.

Some 14,380 people infected were receiving treatment in hospital, down from 14,695 on Friday. The number of patients in intensive care units dropped by 36 to 1,325, it added.

Since the start of the pandemic, 101,593 people with the COVID-19 have been admitted to hospitals in France, of whom 17,933 required life support, while 68,268 patients have recovered.

France will enter “phase two” of deconfinement from Tuesday. The nationwide 100-km travel restriction will be lifted and bars, restaurants, cafes, beaches, museums will reopen in low risk zones.

In the greater Paris region, classified as “orange zone” where the virus continues to circulate faster than other regions, the non-essential activities would fully resume on June 22.

(XINHUA)

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Daily COVID-19 deaths hit one-week low in France

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The number of COVID-19 fatalities in France was up to 28,714 after 52 new patients died in the last 24 hours, the lowest daily tally in a week, the French Health Ministry said on Friday.

COVID-19 patients in intensive care units went down to 1,361 from 1,429 on Thursday, continuing a downward trend for nearly seven weeks.

Since the start of the epidemic, France has 149,668 confirmed COVID-19 cases, up from 149,071 on Thursday. As of Friday, 14,695 patients remained hospitalized, 513 fewer than a day before, while 67,803 have been cured and returned home, a single-day increase of 612.

France will enter “phase two” of deconfinement from Tuesday. The nationwide 100-km travel restriction will be lifted and bars, restaurants, cafes, parks, beaches, museums will reopen. But in the greater Paris region, the easing of restrictions will be more cautious.

“This good news, which is the result of good behavior and respect of barrier measures (during “phase one” of deconfinement since May 11), should not make us forget that the virus is still circulating on national territory and that it remains dangerous,” the ministry warned.

(XINHUA)

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France’s Renault to slash around 15,000 jobs worldwide

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France‘s second leading carmaker Renault on Friday announced that it would cut 14,600 posts worldwide and reduce production capacity over the next three years in order to save 2 billion euros (2.22 billion U.S. dollars) and focus on profitable segments of activities.

The workforce adjustment project concerned 4,600 jobs in France and would be based on retraining measures, internal mobility and voluntary departures, said Renault in a statement.

Stretching over three years, the plan would enable the group to return to profitable and sustainable growth, strengthen the company’s resilience by focusing on cash flow generation, while keeping the customer at the centre of its priorities, it added.

As part of the restructuring scheme, Renault said it would reduce its global production capacity to 3.3 million vehicles in 2024 from the current 4 million by suspending capacity increase projects in Morocco and Romania and adjusting capacity in Russia.

In France, the group would be organized around strategic business areas with a promising future such as electric vehicles, light commercial vehicles (LCVs) and high value-added innovation.

“In a context of uncertainty and complexity, this project is vital to guarantee a solid and sustainable performance, with customer satisfaction as a priority,” said Clotilde Delbos, Renault interim chief executive officer.

“By capitalizing on our many assets such as the electric vehicle, by capitalizing on the resources and technologies of Groupe Renault and the Alliance, and by reducing the complexity of development and production of our vehicles, we want to generate economies of scale to restore our overall profitability and ensure our development in France and internationally,” she added. (1 euro = 1.11 U.S. dollar)

(XINHUA)

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