What is the new Eris variant of Covid and is there cause for alarm?

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has identified the ‘Eris’ Covid strain a variant of interest as cases rise globally. Here’s what we know.

Known as EG.5 or Eris, it is a relative of the Omicron subvariant that made its rounds in 2022 and is has been detected worldwide including in China, the United States, the UK as well as in France, where there’s been an estimated 35% of new cases of this strain, according to the French Public Health Department (Santé Publique).


Whilst the WHO has judged the health risk as low, there have been jumps in the number of new Covid cases in France as well as a 26% rise in hospitalisations across all age groups of people suspected to have the Covid virus. The French levels are consistent with those being seen in the US and UK.

“Based on the available evidence, the public health risk posed by EG.5 is evaluated as low at the global level,” WHO said. “While EG.5 has shown increased prevalence, growth advantage, and immune escape properties, there have been no reported changes in disease severity to date.”

Scientists are saying that Eris seems to have a talent for evading antibodies, which has allowed it to proliferate. The timing is not ideal, as in a few weeks, people will be back to school and work after holidays and travel, the latter of which helps spread the disease faster.

Even so, as the risks are no higher, health care workers, who say the emergence of a new variant was no surprise, are just asking people to be careful and practice safety methods such as hand washing to help keep the virus from spreading as much as possible. They also stress that vaccinations are the best defence against this and future variants, and that people should consider boosters when they are available.

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Photo by Monaco Life

Pooches welcome: Dog-friendly summer beaches in the French Riviera and the Var

Looking for a beach to swim with Fido in the busy summer months? Here is what’s available in the region.

They aren’t called the dog days of summer for nothing. The extreme heat of the season affects everyone, including our four-legged friends who like a good cooling off like the rest of us.

One way to beat the heat is to take a nice cooling dip in the sea. The Alpes-Maritimes and the Var have several spots, all found on a website compiled just for them, that allow dogs to join in the fun. There are 37 in the Alpes-Maritimes and 15 in the Var, giving quite a bit of choice.


Hands down the most generous in the region for dog-friendly beaches is the Alpes-Maritimes, with a choice of seaside spots from Menton to Villeneuve-Loubet on the mainland, as well as a whopping 28 on the Îles de Lérins, there is no shortage of splashing sites welcoming pets.

There are four super close to Monaco. Menton has two. One is just after the Garavan port at the city limits with Italy and the other is at Casino Beach where a designated area for dogs has been established. There is also Piscine Beach in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin and Douaniers Beach in Cap d’Ail.

A little further down the coast in Villefranche-sue-Mer is Ange Gardien Beach (pictured above), Lanterne Beach in Nice near the airport, Hippodrome Beach in Cagnes-sur-Mer, Saint-Laurent-du-Var’s Port Beach and Vaugrenier Beach in Villeneuve-Loubet.

On the Îles de Lérins, Saint-Honroat has 10 places for pooches, and the Sainte-Marguerite has 18.

Tolerance is shown off-season in Beaulieu sur Mer and Théoule sur Mer.


The Var has a fair share as well, starting with Saint-Aygulf’s Esclamandes Beach, then La Gaillarde Beach in Les Issambres, Bonnegrace Beace in Six-Fours-les-PLages, Bregancon Beach in Bormes-les-Mimosas, the aptly named Dogs Beach in La Londe and in Bandol, Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer’s Port d’Alon Cove. The department’s undisputed winner for dog-friendly beaches is Ramatuelle, which boasts eight in all, though they enforce strict leash laws.

As with many of these swimming spots, people shouldn’t expect white sandy beaches… these are primarily rocky outcroppings or small pebbled beaches, but they’re still lovely areas and they are designated to ensure the comfort of all, so they won’t be filled with tourists and they won’t have people complaining about any inconveniences, so both you and your dog can frolic without fear of retribution!

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Photo of Plage Ange Gardien in Villefranche-sur-Mer by Monaco Life