This is News from France, a weekly review for Sunday 18 April
As Covid-19 deaths pass 100,000, further travel restrictions are imposed on foreign visitors
the cost of damage from spring frosts is being counted by wine producers and fruit farmers
lawmakers voted for limitations on domestic air travel
and state help for French companies with their debts could be on the way.
The number of people who have died as a result of Covid-19 passed 100,000 this week. The number of new daily cases to Sunday was reported as 35,861. A total of 12.32 million people have been vaccinated to date.
Pressure on intensive care units in hospitals is still high and the current lockdown with nightly curfew for people to stay within 10 kilometers of their homes is ongoing.
France is also to make travelers arriving from Argentina, Brazil, Chile and South Africa spend 10 days in quarantine, the prime minister’s office announced on Saturday. Flights from Brazil have been suspended until at least next Friday because of concerns over the P1 variant of the virus.
The agriculture ministry is preparing emergency financial measures after frost and ice hit vineyards and fruit trees across France over the last two weeks.
Minister Julien Denormandie said it was probably the worst agricultural catastrophe of the century. At least a third of wine production could be lost, reducing sales by up to 2 billion euros.
On a visit with the prime minister to southern France on Saturday, the minister announced that a billion euros would be made available for producers hit by the cold weather after a spell of unusually high temperatures in early spring.
Members of parliament voted this week to suspend short domestic flights if the same journey can by made by train within 2 and a half hours.
The routes would include Paris to Bordeaux, Paris to Lyon and Paris to Marseille.
The measure is an attempt to reduce carbon emissions and more details are to be published shortly.
After French companies reached new levels of debt, the government has indicated some of them could be cancelled or delayed.
French company debt reached 1.8 billion euros in 2020 according to figures from the Bank of France.
On Wednesday, finance minister Bruno Le Maire said part of the debts could be cancelled or delayed on a “case by case” basis.
There has been a reduction in the number of bankruptcies – but the Bank of France said this did not indicate a fall in the number of companies in difficulty. Measures have been in force since the start of the Covid pandemic to support businesses and reduce or limit their costs and charges.
This has been News from France, a weekly review in English, today Sunday 18 April 2021