Evening Update Monday 15 March 2021

President Macron has announced that injections of the AstraZeneca vaccine are being suspended until tomorrow afternoon. He said that the suspension is being made as a precaution and he hopes vaccinations will resume quickly, "if the opinion of the EMA (European Medicines Agency) allows it". The move by the French government follows Germany's decision to suspend the AstraZeneca vaccine this afternoon. President Macron also said that decisions will have to be taken "in the coming days" to fight against the virus in France and that the government will be looking at the epedemic "city by city, territory by territory".

Firefighters in the Bouches-du-Rhone have suspended the administration of the AstraZeneca vaccine to their staff. The temporary measure is being taken as a precaution after a firefighter developed a heart problem last Friday, two days after receiving the vaccine. The fire department said that he is in hospital but his condition causes no concern. It said that the purpose of the suspension is to analyze the officer's medical file in conjunction with the hospital services and the pharmacovigilance system. It added that at this time, no link has been established and analyzes are expected in the coming days.

A leading French medical figure has warned that the coronavirus situation in the Ile-de-France region will become "out of control". Speaking to French media this morning, Bruno Riou, who is Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Sorbonne University and Crisis Medical Director of the Paris Public Hospitals, said that he regrets that confinement has not been put in place. He said that a week without confinement is not a "week gained" as some are saying, but that each week that passes without confinement "is a week lost for everyone".

In the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region, the weekly update from the Regional Health Agency released today showed that 1,468 people are hospitalised with the virus in the region, which is an increase of 33 on the previous week. 512 people are in intensive care, which is 28 more than last week.

The Velodrome stadium in Marseille has opened for coronavirus vaccine injections today. The stadium, which is home to the Olympique de Marseille football club and has hosted many top sporting events, will be able to vaccinate 1,000 people per day.

The Var Prefecture has reminded residents and visitors of the hightened risk of fire. The Prefecture said that the mistral is still blowing strongly in the Var, vegetation is already very dry and vigilance is required. Any use of fire is prohibited in the department when winds are above 40 km / h, in particular during brush clearing operations. The burning of green waste in the department is prohibited by prefectural decree at all times and exemptions are strictly regulated. Firefighters in the Alpes-Maritimes have also issued a warning that burnings of undergrowth are to be avoided because of the strong winds.

175 people died on the roads of mainland France in February 2021 against 220 in February 2020, which is a reduction of about 20%.  The National Interministerial Road Safety Observatory said that restrictions on travel and the reduction of commuting largely explain the lower number of road accidents.

In Monaco, the vehicle registration and licencing service is making appointments available online. The new service allows users to indicate the reason for their visit, select the day and time of the appointment according to availability and to receive a confirmation by e-mail as well as a reminder by SMS the day before the appointment. The website address is https://documents.gouv.mc/stc-rdv/


BUSINESS

China's industrial output grew by just over 35% in January and February compared to the same months last year. The latest release of Chinese economic data beat analysts expectations despite the comparison with early 2020 when most of China's factories were in lockdown, giving a lower figure. Industrial output was still up by 16.9% compared with the first two months of 2019.

Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has said that he expects the UK economy to recover this year but "it's not more than getting back to where we were pre-Covid". Speaking to the BBC this morning he added that the economic effects of coronavirus restrictions "appear over time to be reducing". Regarding economic recovery in the UK, he said that he is "more positive, but with a large dose of caution".

 

SPORT

Football... Aaron Ramsey has been named in the Wales squad for this month's World Cup qualifiers. Joe Allen returns to the squad for the first time since 2019 but David Brooks is not included because of an ankle injury. Wales start their World Cup campaign against Belgium on 24 March.

There’s one game in the English Premier League tonight. Wolves play Liverpool.

Sailing... Team New Zealand could be edging closer towards victory in the Americas Cup races off Auckland. After winning today's race, they are currently ahead by 5 to 3 in the best of 13 competition against Luna Rossa.

Motorsports.... Tributes have been paid to the legendary Formula 1 commentator Murray Walker who died over the weekend aged 97. Walker commentated for the BBC and later for ITV before retiring in 2001. Murray was generous enough to give Riviera Radio a great deal of his time at Monaco Grand Prix over the years with quips, comments and interviews, some of which you can hear on today's Full English Breakfast Show podcast.

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