Evening Update Friday 27 March 2020

The French Prime Minister, Edouard Phillipe, has announced the extension of the confinement period in France until at least April 15th. He said that "it is clear that we are still at the beginning of the epidemic wave". "The same rules continue to apply" during this extension of the period of confinement.

The drive-in collection point for health professionals to collect protective equipment has started operation at the Palais des Expositions in Nice. A kit including 12 FFP2 masks, 10 surgical masks and two bottles of hydro-alcoholic gel is being distributed to doctors during the course of today. Nurses will be able to collect their supplies tomorrow.

A drive-in coronavirus testing facility is due to be operational in Menton from Monday. The drive-in facility complements the existing testing laboratory in Menton. Screening is prescribed by a doctor who sends the testing prescription directly to the laboratory who then get in touch with the patient.

The French Prime minister has warned this morning that France is settling into a crisis that will last. Edouard Philippe warned today against the evolution of the epidemic of coronavirus in the days to come. He said that "The epidemic wave that is sweeping the east of France..is arriving in the Ile-de-France..We are settling into a crisis that will last, in a health situation that will not improve quickly".

Monte-Carlo Fashion Week has been postponed due to the coronavirus. The event was due to take place from the 14-16 of May.

Since this morning, the ZOU bus service has set up a line between the port of Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Monaco, Menton in both directions.This line will be operational from Monday to Sunday, every half hour from 6:00 a.m. to 8:10 p.m. in the direction of Menton to Beaulieu and from 6.30 am to 8.10 pm in the direction of Beaulieu to Menton. In the Principality, in the direction of Beaulieu Monaco, this bus will serve the stops of line 100: Cemetery; Place d'Armes (Serravalle); Princess Antoinette (station); Monte-Carlo tourism; Place des Moulins; Saint Roman. In the direction of Monaco Beaulieu, the stops served are: Saint Roman; Place des Moulins; MonteCarlo casino; Place Sainte Dévote; Parade.

Biot has become the latest municipality on the Riviera to carry out street disinfection. The disinfection of public places near shops will start at 6am on Monday. Meanwhile the Monaco government has added Monaco Monte Carlo railway station to the areas that are being disinfected in the Principality.

The Monaco government has set up a "Home Patient Monitoring Center". Highly symptomatic patients with covid-19 continue to be hospitalized but the aim of the new centre is to offer help to those people with few symptoms who have been advised to stay at home while being medically monitored. The unit, which makes direct contact with the patients concerned, is responsible for ensuring their comfort and responding to requests for medical and logistical help. The teams in the unit are made up of staff from the Health Action Department, doctors, social workers, Monegasque Red Cross volunteers, medical secretaries from the Princess Grace Hospital and psychologists. The "Home Patient Monitoring Center" is currently caring for 47 patients. Taxis in Monaco are also offering to transport patients for medical appointments free of charge.

The municipality of Le Cannet has set up a service to support local businesses, crafts people and traders during the pandemic. Professionals at the municipality's finance department are available to help businsses by offering decision support and to provide someone to listen to and offer help with business problems and point businesses in the direction of the most appropriate economic support. More information is available on 04.92.18.20.00

The police in Grasse have carried out a total of 6,500 checks so far on vehicles and pedestrians to enforce the confinement measures. There were 350 infractions for not having an exit certificate or having an incomplete certificate, 70 for a "non-compliant" certificate and 20 for breaches of the curfew.

The French Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, Jean-Yves Le Drian, has said that about 30,000 French nationals are still waiting to be repatriated. In an interview with French media today he said that 100,000 had already returned to France and he hoped the rest would be back "in 4 or 5 days". He mentioned the particular case of French nationals in Australia, many of whom are on a holiday work programme and may be lacking in money beause they've been working in bars and restaurnats which have now closed. He said an arrangement was being made with Air France and Qatar Airways which would enable them to return to France at reasonable cost.


BUSINESS


China has revealed a large fall in factory profits for the first two months of this year. The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics said that factory profits had fallen by 38.3% year-on-year because of the coronavirus outbreak disrupting production.

Aviation Services company John Menzies says that it has laid off  over 17,500 staff worldwide in response to a “dramatic fall” in business. The company, which used to be well known for newspaper distribution in the UK, now has a business that includes airport cargo and luggage handling as well as aircraft refuelling.

Car production in the UK is expected to hit its lowest level this year since the financial crisis. Industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, has forecast that output will fall by 18% to 1.1 million vehicles in total this year.

Shares in UK fashion retailer Next have fallen earlier today after it suspended its online sales operation.  The company said that it had "listened very carefully to its colleagues working in Warehousing and Distribution Operations to fulfil Online orders" and it was clear that many felt they should be "at home in the current climate".

 

SPORT

The England and Wales Cricket Board has said that it's looking at the possibility of setting up coronavirus checkpoints and isolation units at grounds in order to resume games behind closed doors. English cricket has shut down until at least 28 May but the ECB is looking at playing internationals with no fans. England's Test series with West Indies is due to start at The Oval on 4 June.

In American Football news, the 2020 NFL draft is to go ahead as scheduled but players, fans and media will not be present because of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be held from 23-25 April in a television studio, with players interviewed via video conference. The draft was due to take place in Las Vegas. The NFL had already cancelled all public events.

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