Living through a pandemic
in the south of France
424 days in Carcassonne since
1st lockdown in March 2020
DAILY AND WEEKLY STATISTICS HERE
▫️ Regional news
This is rare enough during the last year to be noted: this Monday 17 May, no death due to Covid-19 has been recorded in either the Aude or the Pyrénées-Orientales regions, according to the figures communicated early this evening by Santé Publique France.
In Aude, 111 Covid patients are hospitalized, including 11 in intensive care, as on Sunday. One person was able to return home (1123 in total). Covid has caused 355 deaths in the department since the beginning of the epidemic.
In the Pyrénées-Orientales, 149 Covid patients are hospitalized (-1), including 17 in intensive care (+1). One person was also able to return home (1265 in total). The balance sheet remains stuck at 310 Covid deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.
Hre is a quick reminder of what will be allowed / changing as from tomorrow May 19th.
1st deconfinement step
- curfew shifted to 9pm;
- outdoor terraces: 50% of capacity, tables of 6 maximum;
- shops, covered markets: 8 m2 per customer
- museums: 8 m2 per visitor;
- cinemas, festival halls, marquees: 35% of capacity, up to 800 people per hall;
- telework maintained ;
- gatherings of more than 10 people prohibited in the public space, except for guided tours;
- libraries: 1 in 2 seats;
- open-air zoos: 50% of the workforce;
- places of worship, weddings or civil partnerships (ceremonies): 1 in 3 seats, staggered between each row;
- funeral ceremonies: 50 people;
- higher education: 50% of staff;
- casinos: 35% of the workforce;
- dance: resumption for minors;
- outdoor sports activities: 10 people, non-contact only;
- outdoor sports competitions: for amateur practitioners 50 persons, only without contact;
- spectators in outdoor sports facilities (stadiums) or indoor sports facilities (swimming pools): 35% of the workforce, up to 1,000 people (seated, not standing);
- spectators in outdoor sports facilities (stadiums) or indoor sports facilities (swimming pools): priority audiences such as schoolchildren;
- thermal baths: 50% of the workforce;
- resumption of seated outdoor festivals: 35% capacity up to 1,000 people
▫️ TRAVEL (🔸 = NEW)
The map below is from departures from France point of view. The status was before May 14th . Since then for instance people who have been vaccinated or have had Covid no longer need a PCR test to enter Germany (which by the way is quite interesting for us). The color codes represent as follows:
🔸 18/05 : Austria will lift the quarantine requirement on 19 May. Source
16/05: Algeria: borders to be reopened under conditions. A PCR test less than 36 hours old and another one on the spot will be required to enter Algeria.
16/05: Italy has ended its quarantine for European tourists.
16/05: From Monday 17 May, people coming from France will no longer have to undergo quarantine when arriving in Portugal.
14/05: Compulsory quarantine to enter France extended to Colombia, Uruguay, Costa Rica and Bahrain
14/05: Vaccinated people no longer need a PCR test to enter Greece.
14/05: People who have been vaccinated or have had covid no longer need a PCR test to enter Germany.
14/05: France’s border reopening strategy has been published:
“Within the European Union, travel facilitated by the health pass To travel within the European Union, it is currently not necessary to justify the reason for travel, but prior testing obligations (-72h) are required.
The government is working with the other Member States on a “green pass” to support the resumption of tourism and facilitate border crossings through common standards.
While the test is already an element of proof used, this “green pass” will enable travellers to show that they have been fully vaccinated at border controls.
For travellers entering France from outside the European Union, tourist flows will be reopened from 9 June depending on the health situation in these countries. France will have a policy of controlling entry to its territory that is proportionate to the health situation in each third country, in accordance with a vision shared with the other Member States of the European Union.
- For countries in which the virus is not actively circulating, and in which no variants of concern have been identified (“green countries”), flows may be resumed under much more flexible arrangements.
- For countries where the virus is actively circulating but in controlled proportions, and without the spread of variants of concern (“orange countries”), the conditions for entry into France will be more restrictive, particularly for unvaccinated travellers.
- Finally, a European emergency mechanism will aim to establish a list of “red countries” for which drastic measures will be implemented, in view of the epidemic circulation in these countries, as well as the presence of variants of concern: strict limitation of people authorised to travel, tests on boarding and arrival, strictly controlled isolation and quarantine measures.
Pending European harmonisation of the criteria for classifying “red countries”, and in order to protect the French without delay, France has already put in place these drastic measures for incoming flows from the following countries: Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chile, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Qatar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Turkey, United Arab Emirates (list as of 10 May 2021).
For EU citizens wishing to travel outside the European Union, it is necessary to find out in advance about the entry restrictions and health situation in the destination country.
- Travel conditions will depend on the entry restrictions applied by each country.
- It is still not advisable to travel to “orange countries” and it is strongly recommended not to travel to “red countries”.
12/05: Reopening of borders: France expects reciprocity from the United States.
12/05 : The suspension of international flights to and from Nepal is extended at least until 31 May.
12/05: Self-tests are now accepted to enter the United States. However, you still need to have spent at least 14 days outside the Schengen area to enter the country.
11/05: Thailand may fully reopen its borders by 1 January 2022.
10/05: Fully vaccinated persons are now exempt from PCR testing to enter Cyprus.
10/05: Morocco has extended the state of health emergency until 10 June.
10/05: Travellers from 12 countries will be able to travel to England without quarantine from 17 May, but France is not one of them.
10/05: French Polynesia will not open to travellers from mainland France without compelling reasons until July.
10/05: Tunisia has put in place a new general lockdown from 9 to 16 May.
07/05: The quarantine requirement for entry into France has been extended to seven additional countries: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Nepal, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Qatar. For these countries, a PCR test of 36 hours (instead of 72 hours) or a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours accompanied by a negative antigen test of less than 24 hours is now required.
07/05: Australia‘s borders may not fully reopen until mid to late 2022.
▫️ NEW MUSIC
Elton John and Years & Years BRIT Awards 2021 performance of the Pet Shop Boys classic single ‘It’s a Sin’.
🎶 / 🎶 / 🎶
▫️ FOOD & DRINKS
Cooking oils: 6 serious mistakes to avoid – #4 is the worst
© Santé Corps Esprit – Translation © J2S
● Mistake 1: Deliberately depriving yourself of oil because it is “too fatty”
You should have seen the stunned face of a good friend of mine when, sitting at lunch, I liberally doused my courgettes with rapeseed oil. “How do you stay slim with a habit like that? ” For her, vegetable oils were very fatty, very calorific. And there’s no doubt about it: Oils are 99% fat (lipids).
And fats are very high in calories – to be precise, one gram of fat is 2.25 times more caloric than one gram of carbohydrate (sugar) or protein. But that doesn’t mean you should avoid fat to lose weight. In fact, this is one of the most unfortunate nutritional mistakes of the last 30 years. The opposite is true: healthy fats (oils, avocados, nuts, oily fish) are great for slimming because they allow you to feel full more quickly.
Foods rich in good fats are easier to “fill up” than carbohydrates such as bread, pasta or potatoes. Thus, the good fats allow you to eat fewer calories in total, without you having to restrict yourself.
We can see the absurdity of the demonisation of ‘fat’ that has taken place for decades. Fortunately, a realisation is coming. In 2013, Sweden led the way. After reviewing more than 16,000 scientific studies, its expert committee agreed that the best diet for obesity and diabetes was… a low-carb diet, not a low-fat diet.
That’s why you shouldn’t skimp on quality oils, even if they are “fatty”. Not skimping means taking the following every day: For a man: about 4 tablespoons of oil. For a woman: about 3 tablespoons of oil This is the dose that allows you to have a well-proportioned diet, composed of a little more than 15% of added fat.
But be careful not to choose just any oil
● Mistake 2: Eating vegetable oils that ruin your heart – sunflower, corn, grape seed
These oils are to be avoided at all costs.
No people on earth have traditionally consumed them. It must be said that their industrial production method is anything but natural: these oils are generally extracted at high temperatures or using petrochemical solvents. What’s worse, they are full of omega-6.
Like omega-3s, omega-6s are part of the so-called “essential” fatty acids, which our bodies cannot produce on their own. They are not bad in themselves. But the problem is that our modern diet contains far too much omega-6 and not enough omega-3.
It is estimated that the ideal health ratio is around 3 omega-6s to 1 omega-3. But for half a century, we have been consuming on average more than 15 omega-6s for every 1 omega-3, i.e. a ratio of 15 to 1!
This imbalance has disastrous consequences for our health: It drastically increases the risk of heart attack: several studies have shown that the consumption of vegetable oils rich in omega-6 favours heart disease; It accelerates ageing and promotes chronic inflammatory diseases (arthritis, diabetes, etc.). The reason is that excess omega-6 degrades the cells of our body by subjecting them to “oxidative stress” which leads them to gradually rust (like a piece of metal left out in the open); As if that wasn’t enough, too much omega-6 is suspected of causing cancer, and in particular breast cancer.
That’s why you need to make sure you get a good balance of omega-6 and omega-3 in your diet. Sunflower oil has a catastrophic ratio of 71:1. Corn oil has a ratio of 57:1. Grape seed oil, which is very fashionable, is one of the worst, with a ratio of 72 to 1!
If you eat them regularly, you have every chance of making yourself ill.
● Mistake 3: Doing without the fabulous anti-oxidants in olive oil
Olive oil is more balanced, with an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 11:1. This is still not ideal other oils do much better, as we shall see.
But it would be criminal to completely deprive ourselves of this traditional oil, used extensively in ancient Egypt, Roman antiquity and of course all around the Mediterranean. For olive oil has some impressive health benefits up its sleeve.
A recent study of 4,152 women showed that a Mediterranean diet rich in extra-virgin olive oil significantly reduced the risk of breast cancer compared to a low-fat diet. Other studies have shown that olive oil limits the rise in glucose levels after eating , and reduces the risk of stroke by 26%.
Its secret? It is particularly rich in polyphenols, beneficial substances also found in berries, green tea or red wine (tannin). Countless studies have shown that polyphenols have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects.
This is why it would be regrettable to do without olive oil. Simply, to respect a good omega-6/omega-3 ratio, the ideal is to mix it with another oil rich in omega-3. Like the superb rapeseed oil.
● Mistake 4 : Denying yourself the incredible omega-3s in rapeseed oil
Rapeseed oil is a severely underused oil in Europe.Yet it is a traditional oil, consumed for hundreds of years in Asia. It is part of the Okinawa diet, the Japanese island with the highest number of centenarians in the world.
In France, rapeseed oil’s popularity was sadly damaged in the early 1970s when an isolated study (never confirmed since) reported negative effects on rats.
Ironically, it was sunflower oil that came out on top. Thanks to massive advertising by the industrialist Unilever (which also manufactures dishwashing liquid, washing powder, etc.), it has even become the oil most consumed by the French… despite its devastating effects on health!
Rapeseed oil, on the other hand, has incredible benefits for the heart. The most spectacular proof came from a study conducted by Dr Michel de Lorgeril and published in the most prestigious medical journal in existence, The Lancet.
The researchers recruited over 600 patients who had already had a heart attack. Half of them had to follow the advice usually given by cardiologists to their patients (stop smoking, exercise, etc.). The other half had to adopt a “Mediterranean” diet, enriched with rapeseed oil.
In March 1993, the first results came in. Astonishing: there were no fewer than 20 deaths in the “cardiologist” group, compared with only 8 in the “rapeseed” diet! In total, researchers now estimate that rapeseed oil reduces the number of heart attacks by 62% and the number of myocardial infarctions by 50%. These are hardly believable results, 10 times better than the best medication.
They can be explained by the high omega-3 content of rapeseed oil. Note that flaxseed oil and, to a lesser extent, walnut and soya oil also contain a lot of omega-3. But these oils are less well balanced than rapeseed oil, which has a perfect 2:1 omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.
● Mistake 5: Cooking quality oils at high temperatures
Not all oils are equal when it comes to cooking. For linseed oil, it’s simple: never cook it! Rapeseed oil is in an intermediate situation. Contrary to popular belief, it can be used for cooking at medium temperatures. It is stable at least up to 160° (heat 6 on a scale of 1 to 9) but not recommended beyond that.
Olive oil is more heat resistant. It is perfectly stable up to 180 degrees (hot fire, 7/9) but starts to lose its properties from 190 degrees. At higher temperatures, coconut oil is the best choice.
This is an amazing oil that we will talk about again. Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine, it is by far the best oil for high temperature cooking and contains substances that are very promising for Alzheimer’s patients.
But don’t forget that gentle cooking is the best for your health, and even low temperature cooking (under 100°) is ideal, for example steaming or stewing.
● Mistake 6: Choosing refined oils and storing them incorrectly
In supermarkets or health food shops, your reflex should be simple: choose virgin oils over refined oils.
Refined oils are obtained by an industrial process that removes some of the good antioxidants (polyphenols, vitamin E), degrades omega-3 and contributes to the formation of new molecules that are harmful to health.
So always choose extra virgin oils. They are made using the most natural processes. They retain all their health properties… and their unique flavour.
They may be a little more expensive, but I think it’s a long-term investment – getting heart disease is very expensive…
But beware: because they are richer in vitamins and omega-3, unrefined vegetable oils are also more fragile.
When exposed to heat, air and light, they tend to oxidise, just as a bitten apple turns brown when exposed to air.
This is why you should always buy your oil in opaque, not transparent, jars. Then store them in a cupboard, away from light and at room temperature (if possible not exceeding 20°).
As rapeseed oil is more fragile than olive oil, it is better to keep it in the refrigerator after opening and consume it within 3 months.
Note that linseed oil is even more delicate and becomes toxic once oxidised. It must therefore be consumed within 3 weeks of opening (but don’t worry, if it goes rancid, you’ll taste it immediately).
The essential British objects that prove you have the right to vote
THE Voter ID Bill is nothing compared to these ways of proving you’re a UK resident. Take these items to the polling station:
It is illegal to live in the British isles without a kettle, and the old ladies manning the polling lists will immediately be able to spot a genuine resident by checking whether it’s still warm from your last cuppa. Ideally, display signs of agitation that, having finished your last hot drink three minutes ago, you are currently unable to boil it for the next one.
National Trust membership card
Having a special card that allows you to waste your weekends trudging around tedious old manor houses proves you’re a true Brit. Using this as ID will appeal to the Tories, as 90 per cent of National Trust members are rich boomers with large pensions who think a Labour government would force them to become trans.
Bag for life
As a proper, responsible, guilt-ridden British person you own a bag for life. In fact, you have about 30 stashed away under the sink, all carefully folded. Reject the Lidl bags and take the Waitrose one to the polling station so your fellow voters treat you with deference and respect.
Jar of Marmite
Other cultures have a vast range of delicious jams and preserves to put on toast, but the British favour a sludgy brown by-product of beer brewing to spread on theirs. Arrive at the polling station clutching a jar and you’ll be waved through instantly as no one from another country would even touch anything so disgusting.
Copy of The Sun
Only British people consider a hysterically right-wing comic with very large writing to be a good news source, so carrying a copy of The Sun is an easy way to prove your nationality. It’s also an easy way to demonstrate you’re going to vote for UKIP, even if they barely exist anymore.
▫️ NEWS FROM ACROSS THE POND 🇺🇸
▫️ FUN FACTS
🔸 Mosquitoes are the deadliest animal in the world: They kill more people than any other creature, due to the diseases they carry.
🔸 There is not one letter “q” in any US state name, the only letter in the alphabet to be missing. “J” and “z” are only represented once each, in New Jersey and Arizona. We had this question in the last Virtual Pub Quiz we took part in and I had to double check.
🔸 Buckingham Palace in London, has 775 rooms, including 78 bathrooms. The White House in Washington, DC, has 132 rooms, including 35 bathrooms.
Pleasant despite a few clouds
▫️ ADDITIONAL READS FOR THE DAY
🔸 Sharks use Earth’s magnetic field as a GPS, scientists say