Week in Review: A year after the Notre-Dame fire, Covid-19 immunity and a visit to Beaujolais

Week in Review
Week in Review © France 24

France marked a year since the Notre-Dame fire this week with restoration halted as a result of Covid-19. We also spoke to South Korea's foreign minister, who cast doubt on the idea of developing immunity after contracting the coronavirus, and visited some of France's front-line workers – the men and women behind the scenes keeping the country going during lockdown.



Never give up’: volunteers raise hospital, and spirits, in Italy's virus-wracked Bergamo

Whenever Italy experiences a calamity, Bergamo’s volunteers are among the first to rush to the rescue. Now that disaster has struck at home, the Italian city worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic is finding strength in its trademark comradeship and resilience.

Empty churches belie Trump’s Easter promise, highlight science’s role in keeping faithful safe

US President Donald Trump last month predicted “packed churches” on Easter Sunday despite a raging coronavirus death toll. His prediction has proved horribly wrong and highlights the inconsistencies populist leaders who have exploited religion now face.

Covid-19 in France’s nursing homes: ‘Saying goodbye makes all the difference’

The elderly in France’s nursing homes, as in many other countries, are strictly isolated to protect them from Covid-19, and will remain in lockdown well past May 11, when the rest of the country is expected to begin gradually opening up. This is very painful for the families, particularly of those who are at the end of life.

'Worse than 9/11 and the 2008 crash combined': Global tourism takes a hit from Covid-19.  

With coronavirus travel bans in place around the planet, the tourism industry – worth 10 percent of global GDP – is taking a beating. FRANCE 24 investigates which sectors are most at risk and when a recovery might be on the cards.

‘Grave concerns’ about Covid-19 immunity passports

Trapped between the competing urgencies of saving lives from Covid-19 and avoiding economic calamity, some government officials have mooted “immunity passports” as a way through the impasse. But experts told FRANCE 24 that the necessary antibody testing is not reliable enough – and even if the scheme were feasible, it could create a dangerous incentive for some to acquire the virus in order to qualify for the passport.

Coronavirus: France extends detentions and suspends trials, raising rights concerns

French authorities have released inmates from overcrowded prisons as part of efforts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak. But others have seen their detentions extended as trial dates are suspended.

Avignon Theatre Festival cancelled as Covid-19 wreaks havoc on France’s summer events

The annual theatre festival in the French city of Avignon has been cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak, organisers said Monday, minutes after President Emmanuel Macron announced that major festivals could not take place until mid-July at the earliest.

A year after the Notre-Dame fire, restoration is suspended amid Covid-19 lockdown

On the first anniversary of the devastating blaze that ripped through Notre-Dame Cathedral, there are no builders on site and the scientists involved are working from home. FRANCE 24 investigates how the coronavirus is affecting the reconstruction of the 850-year-old monument.

The reconstruction site at Notre-Dame Cathedral.
The reconstruction site at Notre-Dame Cathedral. © Armelle Caux, France 24


Covid-19: How close are we to a vaccine and who will get it first?

An interview with Dr. Jerome Kim, director general of the International Vaccine Institute in Seoul, on how close we are to a vaccine and who will get it first.

Scare tactics: Indonesian town deploys ‘ghosts’ to battle coronavirus

Volunteers in one Indonesian village are helping encourage people to stay at home and curb the spread of coronavirus by dressing up as ghosts and scaring anyone out on the street at night.

A volunteer dressed as a ghost scares passers-by in the village of Kepuh, Indonesia.
A volunteer dressed as a ghost scares passers-by in the village of Kepuh, Indonesia. © Reuters / France 24

No money, no water, no food: Covid-19 lockdown in a Paris Roma slum

France has been placed in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of Covid-19. But the cramped and squalid conditions in the country's hundreds of slums, where many of France's Roma population live, make social distancing and good hygiene nearly impossible. Aid agencies are now warning of a potential health disaster.



'In South Korea, patients cured of Covid-19 have tested positive later

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha discusses her country’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has earned plaudits from around the globe. With around 10,500 coronavirus cases and a little more than 200 deaths to date, South Korea has avoided the high level of fatalities seen in many other countries. However, Kang warned that some patients who were cured of Covid-19 tested positive a few days later.  


Italian FM Di Maio calls for 'international alliance' to create Covid-19 vaccine

In an interview with FRANCE 24 in Rome, Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio discussed the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, which has hit Italy particularly hard. He also explained Italy's deconfinement strategy and called for an "international alliance" to create a vaccine under UN auspices. Finally, Di Maio expressed hope that the European Union would be "on par with the challenge it has to live up to".

'Much more is needed', World Bank chief says of Covid-19 debt relief for poor countries

In an interview with FRANCE 24, David Malpass, the President of the World Bank, discussed the global economic consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the debt moratorium for the world's poorest nations agreed to by G20 finance ministers and central bankers on April 15.


Coronavirus: France's front-line workers

We shine a spotlight on the people who are keeping France running during the unprecedented lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors and nurses are, of course, working around the clock to save lives. But there are many others who are doing essential, but less celebrated, jobs: cleaners, cashiers, rubbish collectors and truckers. They are France's invisible front-line workers: men and women working behind the scenes to keep the country going during these extraordinary times.


Culture in confinement No. 3

We bring you another edition of Encore! from home this week as the team seeks out news from the world of arts and culture – all of which can be enjoyed from the safety of your sofa.    

Jonathan Wilson returns to bluegrass roots with his new album, 'Dixie Blur'

Two years after his highly acclaimed album "Rare Birds", talented singer-songwriter and producer Jonathan Wilson is back with "Dixie Blur". The generous 14-track LP is perhaps his most personal record yet, as Wilson draws inspiration from the bluegrass sound of his native North Carolina. Wilson was scheduled to come to the FRANCE 24 studio during a European tour to promote his album. But given the coronavirus pandemic, he joined us virtually to talk about his new record and what he's going to do when he gets out of lockdown.

'The Soul of France': New book revisits the embers of Notre-Dame

On April 15, 2019, the world watched in horror as France's most cherished cathedral went up in flames. Writer and journalist Agnès Poirier witnessed the scene from her window on Paris's Left Bank, transfixed as 850 years of architectural, cultural and social history hung in the balance. Poirier has revisited that moment in her book "Notre-Dame: The Soul of France" and sheds some light on some pivotal moments in the building’s history.



France's Beaujolais region: More than just wine

It's known around the world for the 22 million bottles it exports every year, but France's eastern Beaujolais region has a lot more to offer than just wine. In the south is an area nicknamed the "Golden Rocks" where the walls seem to glow thanks to a limestone tinged with iron oxides. In the village of Oingt, musical instruments of yesteryear are the pride of the local museum. We also check out one of the dozens of castles dotted across the region.



Hacking the Covid-19 crisis: The role of technology

In this edition, we tell you how makers and doers are getting together to help print essential medical parts but also how car manufacturers are offering their expertise to fight the coronavirus outbreak.


Special programme: Covid-19 exposes glaring inequality in US

This week we're bringing you a special edition of Inside the Americas from the United States to show how the country is dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. We go to Baltimore to see why African Americans are disproportionately affected by Covid-19. We then head to the epicentre of the US outbreak, New York City. Finally, in Los Angeles, we’ll show you what money can buy during a pandemic.


Crisis within a crisis: Covid-19 exacerbates food insecurity in Africa

The coronavirus pandemic risks disrupting food supplies to hundreds of millions of people across Africa. Efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19 may exacerbate food insecurity that was already gripping parts of the continent before the health emergency. We speak to the FAO's Director of Emergencies, Dominique Burgeon. We also take a closer look at the situation in Kenya.


Fashion: Is there any point in dressing up under lockdown?

The global Covid-19 pandemic has affected all aspects of life, including fashion. Designers, events organisers and journalists around the world are now confined to their homes. Catwalk shows and fittings are distant memories. So how is the world of fashion coping in these strange times? And crucially, is there any point in dressing up under lockdown? FRANCE 24 put that last question to a selection of designers, from Berlin to Casablanca to Pointe-Noire. On a more serious note, some also told us how they are making their own face masks to fight the spread of the virus.


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