The Palais des Festivals in Cannes would ordinarily be gearing up to host MIPTV, and the town getting ready to welcome throngs of TV executives. Instead, in a stranger than fiction twist, streets are empty, the beach is closed and inhabitants are under lockdown due to the coronavirus.
In striking images, the Palais itself has now opened its doors to the town’s homeless who have nowhere to go during the lockdown.
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“We have between 50 and 70 people here every night,” Cannes official Dominique Aude-Lasset told Reuters.
During the crisis there is concern in many countries that the homeless could be at increased risk due to their lack of access to proper sanitation, underlying health issues and reliance on public handouts that are now impossible to come by.
In the Palais, the homeless have their temperatures taken, there is an eating area, shower block, communal space with TV and games and rows of camp beds.
Meanwhile, heavily protected workers have been deep-cleaning the city. It is a scene more akin to one of the apocalyptic shows or movies regularly shopped on the Croisette than anything the French Riviera town has been used to in real life.
The Cannes Film Festival was due to take place in six weeks’ time but organizers have postponed the event until late June. Even that date seems unlikely at this point given the disease’s rampant march, the number of events cancelling across the summer and people’s growing unease for large groups.
French authorities reported 365 new deaths from coronavirus on Thursday, taking the total to 1,696, a daily rise of 27%.
That tally only accounts for those dying in hospital. The numbers are expected to surge when data includes fatalities in retirement homes.
French health officials said yesterday that 3,375 people are in a serious condition needing life support, up 19% compared to Wednesday. The total number of cases stands at almost 30,000.
Meanwhile, France’s official statistical agency has said the nation’s economic activity and household spending are running at about 65% of normal levels due to the outbreak.
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