Culture under lockdown in Paris: When the opera comes to you

In this edition we discover a very special type of concert. With venues closed due to Covid-19, classical musicians are bringing their art to the courtyards of Parisians, as our team reports. We also look at several symbols of France, including the famous “baguette”. We see what makes it so special and why the French are campaigning for it to be included in the UNESCO intangible cultural heritage list. Meanwhile, the Château de Versailles, another symbol of French culture and history, is welcoming back the luxurious desk of Louis XVI after two years of restoration. 

FRANCE 24

Paris medics fear worst of COVID wave still to come

In the COVID-19 intensive care unit of the Antony Private Hospital south of Paris, no bed stays free for long and medics wonder when their workload will finally peak.

As one recovered elderly patient is being wheeled out of the ward, smiling weakly, boss Jean-Pierre Deyme is on the phone arranging the next arrival and calling out instructions to staff.

Louisa Pinto, a nurse of nearly 20 years’ experience, gestures to the vacated room where a cleaner is already at work, scrubbing down the mattress for the next arrival.

“The bed won’t even have time to cool down,” she says as the patient monitoring system beeps constantly in the background.

For now, everything is stable in the 20-odd beds around her where COVID-19 victims lie inanimate, in a silent battle with the virus.

Paris is going through a third wave of the pandemic which risks putting even more strain on saturated hospitals than the first wave in March and April last year.

“With what’s coming in April, it’s going to be very complicated,” says Pinto, a mother of three who hasn’t had a holiday since last summer and like other staff will be cancelling a planned break this month [ . . . ]

Continue at Medical Xpress: Paris medics fear worst of COVID wave still to come

‘No culture, no future’: French film awards turn into protest over Covid closures

France’s annual celebration of cinema, Les Césars, on Friday became the stage for venting frustrations over the months-long shutdown of theatres. Actress Corinne Masiero stole the limelight when she stripped naked with the words “No culture, no future” written across her front as she presented the costume award.

The mood was set from the opening monologue, as mistress of ceremonies Marina Fois launched a scathing attack on Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot.

“The minister hasn’t done nothing… Madame Bachelot, you released a book with your recipe for pasta and gorgonzola,” the actress joked, before striking a sad note to conclude: “What we miss is what unites us, the emotions that we experience together.”

Bachelot was reportedly present in the Olympia venue in Paris for the 46th edition, but the television channel Canal+ was instructed not to zoom in on her.

Several participants at the César Awards used the event as a platform to confront the government over its decision to keep cinemas shut since October, even as most other businesses have reopened.

“My children can go to Zara but not the cinema… it’s incomprehensible,” said Stephane Demoustier as he picked up the Cesar for best screenplay for “The Girl With a Bracelet”.

 

 

For her part, actress Corinne Masiero turned her message into performance art. She wore a bloody donkey costume, before stripping naked – to reveal messages painted on her body – referring to how cinema industry workers see themselves “stripped” of work in the face of the pandemic.

On her back were the words “Give us back our art Jean,” directed at Prime Minister Jean Castex, while on her chest were the words “No culture no future”.

The country has seen mounting protests in recent days over the closure of cultural sites, with several theatres occupied by activists and students.

Greater diversity

The big winner on the night was Adieu les Cons (Bye Bye Morons), a comedy drama about a seriously ill woman searching for her long-lost child, which took home seven awards including best film and best director for Albert Dupontel.

Continue reading “‘No culture, no future’: French film awards turn into protest over Covid closures”

Covid variants are sign of hope says leading French doctor

Covid variants are sign of hope says leading French doctor

By Joanna York

A leading French doctor has said that the emergence of new Covid variants could be a sign of “hope”, as immunity against the virus grows.

Professor Bruno Lina, virologist and member of national health advisory board le Conseil scientifique, spoke to news source FranceInfo yesterday.

He said that increasing immunity due to vaccinations and prior infections was “starting” to impact the spread of the virus, and new variants could be seen as a sign of the Covid-19 virus trying to survive.

He said: “If [the virus] wants to continue to spread within the human population, it has to adapt and evolve.

“That is what it is doing now.”

Virus will not completely disappear

The professor said that while the Covid-19 virus would not completely disappear, it would become less significant over time.

He said: “At a given moment, the potential for the virus to evolve will come to an end.

“At that point, it will join the ranks of other banal seasonal viruses that cause colds and other infections which are not serious.”

UK variant now dominant in France

Covid variants have been partially blamed for the health situation worsening in 20 departments in France in recent weeks.

The UK variant now accounts for 60% of Covid cases nationally.

Specialists have said that the highly contagious strain could become the only variant in circulation by the end of March.

And new strains are still emerging, such as the New York variant, which has been identified in 15 US states since it was first detected in November 2020.

But Professor Lina said the emergence of new variants is a positive sign.

He said: “It’s an element of hope.”

“We are maybe in a phase in which the virus has finished evolving, which means we are coming to the end of the pandemic phase, and will enter into a phase in which circulation of the virus is much lower.”

Source: Covid variants are sign of hope says leading French doctor

Paris eyes three-week Covid-19 lockdown in bid to then ‘reopen everything’

The city of Paris is considering proposing a three-week lockdown in a bid to “reopen everything” in the City of Lights afterwards, the deputy mayor said Thursday, calling the current nighttime curfew a “half-measure” and a “semi-prison” that never ends.

In an interview with French broadcaster Franceinfo, Deputy Mayor Emmanuel Grégoire said that the left-wing run city hall was considering proposing an independent local lockdown for the French capital to stem the “worrying” rise of new coronavirus infections there, with “the prospect of reopening everything” after, including its theatres, cinemas and restaurants.

Grégoire described the current anti-Covid-19 measures imposed by Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government, including the country’s 6pm-6am curfew, as “half- measures with bad results”, adding that that “we can’t be forced to live in a semi-prison for months”.

Like the rest of the country, Paris has been under a night curfew since December 15, but bars, restaurants and cultural venues have been closed even longer.

Grégoire’s comments came on the heels of Prime Minister Jean Castex’s announcement Thursday that Paris and 19 other regions in the country were placed under “heightened surveillance” and that they risk coming under weekend lockdown at the start of March unless the number of new coronavirus infections drops. The southern city of Nice and the northern area of Dunkirk have already been ordered into lockdowns on weekends. [ . . . ]

 

Continue at FRANCE24: Paris eyes three-week Covid-19 lockdown in bid to then ‘reopen everything’