Evening Update 11 March

The government has announced a ban on visits to Maison de Retraite retirement homes in a measure to protect the elderly from the coronavirus. Older people are more susceptible to the bug with two thirds of deaths so far involving people over 75 years of age. This measure is exceptional and will be lifted as soon as the situation allows.

Authorities for the PACA region have announced a €12m aid package will be made available to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus downturn. They say businesses are at the front line, and they have put in place a decisive battle plan to help business protect the fabric of the regional economy.

President Macron has refused to postpone the first round of municipal elections this weekend. On Sunday French, and EU citizens living in France, go to the polls to vote on who becomes mayor and other key posts in the marie. However, the coronavirus is putting many voters off, with as many as 28% shunning the election for fear of catching the bug. Some towns have gone to extraordinary lengths to entice voters; including Montpellier who have ordered 320,000 pens to ensure voters can sign the register, while in Béziers, voters will ‘exceptionally’ be allowed to bring their own pens.

People has been warned against scams which are appearing such as fake sanitiser, medical tests, expired masks, and soaring prices for hand gel. Some private companies are offering fast Covid-19 tests for sale, mainly to elderly care homes. However only hospitals are authorised to perform tests and no other tests are genuine.

A 25 year old student has been fined 2,000 euro’s after having publicly insulted firefighters in the Principality of Monaco. The incident dates back to last June when the young man made a rude hand gesture towards the firemen.

BUSINESS

As SNCF announce it will allow free exchanges and refunds on tickets due to coronavirus, there has been a noticeable drop in passenger numbers at Nice Cote d’Azur and airports nationwide. The Union of French Airports report a 20% drop nationally since the start of March as passengers cancel or postpone travel plans.

The UK budget was announced today with a tax holiday announced for retail, leisure and hospitality firms, who will not pay any business rates in the coming year. It’s part of a package of measures to support the economy in the face of disruption from the coronavirus outbreak. Most of the ‘old reliables’ from alcohol to fuel remain untouched, except for an increase in cigarette prices and the abolishment of the tampon tax.

SPORT

Football - In Paris Kylian Mbappe, who was tested for coronavirus earlier this week, has been included in Paris St-Germain's squad for tonight's Champions League game against Borussia Dortmund. The game will be played behind closed doors.  Another game due to be played to an empty stadium tomorrow between Roma and Sevilla, could be called off, after Roma said they cannot travel, as their plane from Italy is not authorized to land in Spain.

Running - The Cannes Half Marathon, which was cancelled due to the coronavirus, will now be run on Sunday September 20th. The run will retain the same start time and the full three courses; half-marathon, 10k and 5k will all be held as normal. The re-scheduled date also serves as a perfect warm up event for the full Nice Cannes Marathon in November. Registrations are open now and anyone registered for the March run can re-register for free.

Formula 1 - The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is monitoring a situation where two members of the Hass team, and one from McLaren, have been placed in self-isolation while they wait for the result of tests. Formula 1 say it is taking a scientific approach to the news adding that the health and safety of fans, family and wider communities is always paramount. The season-opening Australian Grand Prix is scheduled to begin on Friday.

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