Prince Albert tests positive for Covid again, health is of “absolutely no concern”

The Palace announced Tuesday afternoon that an asymptomatic Prince Albert II has contracted the Covid-19 virus for a third time.

Prince Albert has been on his usual whirlwind of public engagements this past week, including most recently the International Circus Festival of Monte-Carlo with his children Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella on Sunday night and the Fight Aids Cup on Monday night.

Late Tuesday 24th January, the Palace released a statement that Prince Albert had tested positive for Covid that afternoon, however the Sovereign was in good health.

“Asymptomatic, his state of health is of absolutely no concern,” said the Palace. “He works remotely, in permanent contact with the members of his cabinet, his government as well as with his close collaborators.”

Monaco’s Prince and Head of State first contracted Covid-19 in March 2020, and again in April 2022 . He is in self-isolation for seven days, as per the rules currently in force in Monaco, and will therefore be unable to take part in the traditional Sainte Devote celebrations on Thursday 26th and Friday 27th January.

The Principality has experienced a significant decline in Covid cases over recent weeks, with the latest health figures showing that the incidence rate has dropped to just 43.

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Covid latest: Three people in intensive care

Photo credit: Eric Mathon, Prince’s Palace

New ETIAS and EES rules: What they mean for travel in and out of France

Two new systems due to come into effect in May that will impact travel for foreigners entering and leaving France and the EU have been delayed.

The Entry and Exit System (EES) and the EU Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) are coming, and with them, hopes of streamlining processes around travel and length of stay rules.

Originally set to launch in 2022, the EES was at first rescheduled for May 2023. But it was revealed this week that it is being delayed again and come into effect by the end of 2023.

The EES is an electronic passport monitoring system designed to track visitors to the EU under the 90/180-day rule and eliminate the need for human passport checks and passport stamps. This will affect all travellers coming in and out of France, regardless of your visa or residency status.

Current methods of tracking are haphazard, with border agents using physical stamps in passports to show an individual’s comings and goings from the Schengen area. The problem is that passports don’t always get stamped and this leads to confusion and sometimes trouble for the passport holder when trying to enter EU countries, even those who are legal residents or who are following the rules. 

The new system will eliminate stamps and will incorporate a swiping in and out system that will track people’s stays electronically. It will be like the biometric scanners used in many airports, but will scan additional information, such as immigration status. This only applies to people coming from outside the EU, so it won’t be necessary to do once a person is inside the Schengen zone.

ETIAS is a new online visa application service that come into play from November and will be mandatory for all non-EU residents in order to travel to France using the 90/180-day rule. This will only affect non-EU citizens, including travellers from the UK, who do not have a long-stay visa or residency card for France.

The big difference here is that travellers staying under the 90/180 rule will now have to file an online application before travel to be granted entry, whereas before, anyone could just arrive and be let in. There is a €7 fee for all but those under 18 or over 70.

Once authorisation is granted, people will be able to travel to and from the EU under the 90/180-day rule. Travellers are advised to apply within 72 hours of travel, but they say that authorisation will usually only take minutes.

In general, these two new rules should make travel less confusing and more streamlined, but as with any new system, there are bound to be bugs that need working out. With luck, they will not be significant. Stay tuned!


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Violence against women on the rise in Monaco, IMSEE study shows

The annual IMSEE report from Monaco’s statistical agency on violence against women has just been released, showing a dramatic jump in acts of aggression over the last year.  

IMSEE, alongside the Committee for the Promotion and Protection of Women’s Rights, collected and analysed data from 2022 to give a clear picture of acts of violence committed against women in the Principality.   

The information came from various sources, including the Department of Public Security, the Department of Judicial Services, the Princess Grace Hospital, the Department of Social Action and Assistance (DASO) and the Association for Assistance to Victims of Criminal Offenses (AVIP). It shows that in 2022, 33 violent events against women were recorded, compared with 23 in 2021.  

In 39% of the cases, the incidents occurred at the home of either the man or the woman, and 53% involved the victim’s partner or former partner. 55% of the cases involved physical violence and sexual abuse was cited 15% of the time.  

Additionally, 56 women were admitted to the Princess Grace Hospital stating they had suffered violence, compared to 41 in 2021. 68% of those women were there after being subjected to physical violence. The AVIP received 44 female victims of violence, compared to 36 in 2021. 

The justice system opened 41 cases last year, versus 38 the previous year, including 13 for acts committed in 2021. Two convictions were pronounced and eight were dismissed.  

“It is always difficult to interpret these figures, which only reflect the visible part of the phenomenon,” says Céline Cottalorda, the interministerial delegate for Women’s Rights in Monaco. “We would like to remind you that no victim of violence is alone and that it is never too late to speak up or to be heard. This study also emphasises the fact that we must continue to fight against violence against women and to implement all possible measures to achieve this.” 

IMSEE will set up a new secure data collection platform in 2023 that will be available to those of both sexes who have endured acts of violence.  

Alexandre Bubbio, the director of the IMSEE, says, “This tool will make it possible to identify all cases of violence, not just those committed against women, with the aim of putting all violence into perspective in relation to [violence] committed against the female population.”   

Meanwhile, in France, the High Council for Equality between Women and Men published its fifth annual report on the state of sexism and found an “alarming” situation, notably in the persistence of sexist stereotypes, violence against women and inequality. 

The study found that sexism is rampant in French workplaces, pointing to trends that women are forced to adopt “avoidance behaviours” to evade sexist remarks or situations. 52% of women polled said they don’t dress as they wish for fear of attracting unwanted attention and 80% said they’re frightened of being out alone at night.   

37% of French women interviewed said they had experienced a situation of non-consent and 14% having suffered an “imposed sexual act”, that is to say, a sexual assault or rape.  

The pervading attitudes of men in France perpetuates masculine stereotypes and harmful ways of thinking, according to the report, which followed up with statistics that 20% of 25 to 34-year-olds believe they have to brag about sexual exploits to friends in order to be respected. In the same age group, 23% think that they have to be violent to be respected. Less than half of men aged 15 to 34 think that pornographic content about women is a problem.  

The report found that the measures put in place to fight sexism are ineffective and that government or other authorities in charge don’t do enough. 147 women were murdered in 2022, and domestic violence shot up 21% between 2020 and 2021.  


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Photo source: Kyle Broad for Unsplash  


Brexit blues continue for EU-based Brits who cite travel as biggest issue

According to a new survey, British citizens living in the EU by and large plan to make the move permanent, despite travel being trickier and difficulty feeling heard politically.  

Brexit’s fallout continues for British citizens living and working in the European Union, says the latest study put out by Professor Tanja Bueltmann, a historian of migration and diaspora at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow.  

In her survey, which quizzed 1,139 British expat respondents, over three quarters said they have no plans to return to the UK, with 65.7% stating that Brexit was the key reason for making this decision.  

Some of those who would have considered a move back are now staying due the difficulties surrounding getting non-British family members into the UK under the strict new immigration rules.   

The biggest annoyance for survey-takers was travel and the continuing confusion surrounding the stamping of passports for those who are legal residents of an EU country. People with residency status are not meant to need a stamp, but border agents are still not clear on who needs one and when.  

Tying in with travel, the survey found that the loss of freedom of movement rights was another factor in decisions to stay permanently in the EU.   

Nearly 40% are planning to or have applied for citizenship in their adopted country, and another 28.6% considering it. A key reason stated for this is that many don’t feel represented politically in their new home, with 60% saying they feel unrepresented.  

A whopping 95.6% stated that they don’t trust the UK government, although less than half – 47.5% – trust the government in their host country. Trust in the EU, though, was considerably higher at 62%.  

Interestingly, eight in 10 Brits abroad say they feel European, compared to just under 70% saying they feel British.   

Professor Bueltmann says, “[The survey] demonstrates that Brexit impacts continue to evolve: this didn’t just stop because the transition period was over or a deadline for an application had been reached. Consequently, Brexit continues to shape the lives and experiences of British citizens in the EU/EEA and Switzerland in substantial, sometimes life-altering, ways.” 

Her concluding report recommended that the UK eases up on immigration for the families of UK citizens who would like to return, as well as offering British citizens voting rights for life to help anchor them more in their home nation.  


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Photo source: Rocco Dipoppa for Unsplash 


Louis Ducruet captains Barbagiuans to Fight AIDS Cup victory

Stars from the Principality and beyond gathered at the Stade Louis II for a memorable charity match on Monday, which saw the Barbagiuans win the Fight AIDS Cup for the first time. 

Charles Leclerc, Didier Deschamps, Claude Puel, Fernando Morientes, Sonny Anderson and many more sports personalities, each inextricably linked to the Principality, competed in the match, which raises funds for Princess Stéphanie’s charity, Fight AIDS Monaco.

Glimpses of the past glory of some of these iconic players were on full display in front of a crowd that contributed to the success of the event, now in its third edition. Goals weren’t in short supply, with fans witnessing five in total.

With the beginning of pre-season Formula One testing approaching, Leclerc’s cameo was only brief, and it was only after his departure that the goals began to flow.

Sonny Anderson’s header was cancelled out by a strike from Arsenal legend Robert Pires just seconds later. However, prolific AS Monaco striker Morientes struck early in the second half to re-establish the Barbagiuans lead.

Ludovic Giuly, who featured over 250 times for Les Monégasques, then gave the Barbagiuans, in search of their maiden victory in the competition, a two-goal cushion with a neat finish.

Cirque FC got a late consolation goal through Clarence Seedorf who, just like in last year’s memorable event, stood out with flashes of skill and composure, befitting of a player that was once one of the world’s best.

However, it was the Barbagiuans who lifted the trophy, with Ducruet being handed the trophy by Prince Albert II for the first time.

“It’s nice to come together and to have fun for a good cause so we’re very happy,” succinctly summarised goal-scorer Giuly after an event that once again offered an enthralling spectacle in the name of a charitable cause.


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Photo by Monaco Life

Covid latest: Three people in intensive care

Only 17 new cases of Covid were reported in Monaco in the week ending 22nd January, however the number of people in ICU with the virus has risen.

According to the government’s latest health figures, 708 PCR and antigen tests were conducted in Monaco last week on residents and non-residents. Of those, 6.2% came back positive, continuing a weeks-long downward trend.

The incidence rate has now fallen to 43, compared to 64 the previous week.

The number of severe Covid cases has also fallen, with eight people, including four residents, being cared for in the Princess Grace Hospital Centre. However, three people, including one resident, are in ICU. Nine people are being followed by the home monitoring service.


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Photo by Monaco Life