Evening Update Monday 20 April 2020

Residents of Nice can now register for free protective masks online. After registering you'll receive an e-mail indicating the day and the place of collection of your mask. The website address is  www.masques.nice.fr  Residents can also register by phone on 04.97.13.56.00. Lines are open from 9am to 7pm, 7 days a week. Isolated, fragile and disabled people will have masks delivered directly to their homes.

In Cannes, distribution to fragile and isolated people followed by the CCAS as well as traders started last week. All Cannes homes will have a kit delivered to their home by La Poste between 20 and 22 April. From 23 April, additional masks will be available for collection from distribution points for certain residents. You can get more details at the website www.cannes.com

Following Prime Minister Edouard Philippe's address yesterday, French government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye has confirmed that the government's deconfinement plan will be announced before the end of this month but has said that patience is needed because the government needs time to prepare the plan.

A special fund has been announced to help liberal health practitioners in the Alpes Maritimes. The department will reimburse up to 1,000 euros in respect of certain equipment bought during the confinement period.

Lawyers in Nice and Marseille have begun legal proceedings to ensure lawyers are adequately protected from the coronavirus. The president of the Nice Bar Association said that it wasn't acceptable that the State does not ensure "a minimum of health security" when lawyers meet their clients who are in custody.

Two men are being sought by police after threatening to give the coronavirus to a shop assistant. The incident happened at a tabacconist's shop in Cagnes sur Mer yesterday morning. One man said he had the virus and threatened to cough on the sales assistant while his accomplice stole cigarettes.
Passangers have today been disembarking from a cruise ship in Marseille. According to local reports, the Magnifica has over 1,700 passangers on board, but none have contracted the coronavirus.

1.2 tonnes of Cannabis have been seized in a single operation by authorities in the Alpes Maritimes. The haul was found in a Spanish truck travelling towards Italy when it was stopped by authorities at the La Turbie toll booths on the A8 motorway. The driver has been charged with drugs related offences and placed in pre-trial detention.

 

BUSINESS

US oil prices fell heavily earlier today to levels last seen in the late 1990's. The US benchmark West Texas Intermediate fell by over 25% on concerns that oil storage facilities could soon become full.

The UK government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme began operation today. It said that 67,000 claims were made in the first 30 minutes.The scheme aims to keep staff on the payroll despite not working due to coronavirus. Meanwhile, the UK government has launched a scheme to help venture capital backed businesses which have so far been excluded from other government measures aimed at helping businesses during the pandemic. A total of 1.25 billion pounds is being made available under the scheme.

A survey of UK households which measures perception of their financial wellbeing has fallen to its lowest level since it began in 2009. Expectations of financial wellbeing in the future also fell sharply.

Sir Richard Branson has writen an open letter to all Virgin group employees. He said that the businesses are operating in "many of the hardest hit sectors, including aviation, leisure, hotels and cruises", and they are doing all they can "to keep those businesses afloat" during the crisis. Speaking about Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, he said that apart from his home there, the rest of the island is run as a business, and his team will raise as much money against the island and other Virgin assets as possible to save as many jobs as possible around the Group.

 

SPORT

Twickenham Stadium is being used as a drive-in testing centre for NHS and other key workers. The annoucement was made by RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney. Premiership football side Brighton and Hove Albion have also announced that their stadium will be used as a testing facility.

The UK government has been talking to organizers of major sporting events about the timeframe for the possible staging of events. Speaking to the BBC, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said that they had talked to the Premier League and others but had been "clear...that the Government will not consent to events taking place" unless they can be sure it is safe to do so.

In cricket news, South Africa’s limited-overs tour of Sri Lanka in June has been postponed.

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