Evening Update Monday 11 January 2021

A coronavirus vaccination centre has opened today at the Théâtre de Verdure in Nice. It's the first public vaccination centre in Nice outside hospitals. Centres at the palais Nikaïa and the Exhibition Center will open shortly. In each centre a pre-vaccination consultation by a doctor will take place, followed by the signing of a consent certificate. The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi said today that people over 75 "could be welcomed as early as Friday morning". Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor of Nice Anthony Borre said this morning that so far 32,000 people, including 16,000 elderly people, have registered on the Nice Covid-19 vaccination website. He said that until May the city will be able to vaccinate 50,000 people per week.

Several municipalities in the Alpes Maritimes are taking legal action to challenge the imposition of the 6pm curfew. A hearing was held before the Administrative Court in Nice today. The cities of Cannes, Grasse and Villeneuve-Loubet, as well as the Cannes Federation of Restauranteurs and Hoteliers, alledge that the curfew infringes several freedoms, has no time limit and applies to the whole of the department despite the level of coronavirus cases being at different levels at different localities within the department. 

A case of the British variant of Covid-19 has been detected in the Hautes-Alpes. The Regional Health Agency said that the person who tested positive for the variant is part of a French family residing in the United Kingdom who came to stay in France during the end of year holidays. The individual and his at-risk contact cases were placed in isolation. The new case comes after eight cases of the British variant were identified recently in Marseille. French media are also reporting that two people in Lille in northern France have tested positive for the variant.

Changes to coronavirus restrictions in Monaco are coming into force as of this evening. The curfew will now apply from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. New preventitive measures are also being introduced for catering establishments. As of today, restaurants in the Principality will be closed for evening service. Take-out will be prohibited after 7 p.m. but home deliveries will be tolerated until 9 p.m. Restaurants still remain open for lunch but access remains limited to people who can show that they reside in or work in Monaco.

A reminder that the curfew start time is being changed to 6pm in the Var as from tomorrow, Tuesday. A list of exemptions still applies. You can find further details of curfew exemptions and other information at var.gouv.fr

The first deputy mayor of Marseille, Michele Rubirola,  has suggested that a general reconfinement may be necessary. However, the town hall in Marseille has said that this is not the poition of the municipality. A French government spokesperson said on French television this morning that no general confinement is planned at this stage but the government is monitoring the situation.

In other news, traffic was severely disrupted by an accident on the A8 motorway in the Var at the height of this morning's rush hour. A car and a lorry collided near Roquebrune-sur-Argens leading to delays on the westbound carriageway. One person suffered slight injuries.


BUSINESS

Heathrow Airport has said that 22.1 million passengers travelled through the airport last year, which is down 72.7% on the previous year. It said that lockdowns and border closures led to a loss of 58.8 million passengers. Cargo volumes fell by 28.2%.

EasyJet has announced the signing of a new five-year term loan facility of $1.87 billion underwritten by a syndicate of banks and supported by a partial guarantee from UK Export Finance. The facility will be secured on aircraft.

Chinese search engine Baidu and car manufacturer Geely will be working together to produce electric vehicles. Geely is one of China’s largest carmakers and also owns Volvo and a stake in Daimler. Baidu will provide “intelligent driving capabilities”, while Geely will contribute design and manufacturing.


SPORT

Cricket...Australia have drawn with India in the third test, meaning that the series is still level at 1-1.  The fourth and final Test will be in Brisbane starting on 15 January.

Rugby Union... The Chief Executive of European Professional Club Rugby has said that European Cups will not be abandoned if the French government decides its clubs can't play their remaining pool fixtures. Speaking to the BBC, Vincent Gaillard said that in such an eventuality, he was confident the tournaments can be completed in April and May.

Football... The Celtic against Hibernian match is going ahead this evening as planned despite over a dozen Celtic players going into self-isolation. Christopher Jullien tested positive for Covid-19 after returning from the club's training camp in Dubai and 13 other players have been deemed to be close contacts. Manager Neil Lennon and assistant John Kennedy have also gone into isolation.

Golf.... The PGA of America has decided to cancel next year's PGA Championship event at the Trump National in Bedminster, New Jersey. The organization said that holding the event at the club "would be detrimental to the PGA of America brand and would put at risk the PGA's ability to deliver our many programmes and sustain the longevity of our mission." A representative for the Trump Organization said they were "incredibly disappointed" with the decision and they had "had a beautiful partnership with the PGA of America".

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