Evening Update Monday 25 May 2020

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has promised a change in "daily life" in hospitals in the next few months. He was speaking at the beginning of a video conference between government, unions and caregivers this afternoon. The meeting marks the beginning of a seven week consultation period which aims to improve the working conditions of caregivers, their pay and the care of patients.

The Prime Minister said that the government wouldn't respond to the current crisis with "half-measures" but with "strong, rapid and accepted choices". He said that there had to be an end to the decline in hospital budgets and a "vast investment aid plan" would be launched. Caregivers would receive a significant increase in salary and a discussion regarding working hours is not out of the question. He said that obstacles to change had been removed by the coronavirus crisis, most strikingly in the use of telemedicine and called for the extended use of telemedicine to be examined. He also called for changes to be made in the organisation of the French health system and for better use of data and digital.

French Secretary of State for Tourism Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has said that the government is "working on an enlargement" of the 100km travel zone. Government minister Elisabeth Borne said last night that travel restrictions would be clarified during the course of this week. More details on other deconfinement measures are also expected later in the week, including the re-opening of restaurants in France. Reports suggest that a reopening date of 2 June is being considered for departments in Green Zones with a possible social separation distance of one metre instead of two. However, the government has made no official announcement as yet and has said that reopening will only be allowed if health indicators are favourable.

The Director General of Public Health France, Genevieve Chene, has said that circulation of the virus in France "remains low". Speaking to French television this morning she added that "the first wave is over, that's for sure".

The Prefect of the Var has made an order prohibiting a planned protest in front of the Prefecture. A demonstration was being organized on social media to express dissatisfaction with the government's handling of the crisis. Under deconfinement measures, public gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. Meanwhile reports say that unions have called for demonstrations to be held in the Var tomorrow to protest at lack of resources in hospitals.

A football match watched by several hundred spectators was held in Strasbourg over the weekend, in apparent breach measures prohibiting gatherings of more than ten people in public spaces. According to local reports, 300 to 400 people were present at the match in a stadium in Strasbourg. Local police were said to be aware of the gathering but as yet no fines have been issued.

The French government has announced that people arriving in France from the UK will have to self-isolate for 14 days from June 8th. The move follows the announcement by Priti Patel, the UK Home Secretary, that new quarantine measures would apply from 8th June. France has said it would impose reciprocal measures for any European country enforcing a quarantine.

 

BUSINESS

A court in Germany has ruled against Volkswagen in a case brought by a car purchaser in a further blow to the company in the so-called "dielselgate" scandal. The decision by Germany's highest civil court is expected to pave the way for claims by thousand of other VW owners in Germany to bring similar claims against the company.

A widely watched survey of German businesses has shown an increase in optimism over the next six months. The increase in optimism was recorded across all business sectors. However the survey, by the Ifo Institute, said that many German companies are still pessimistic about their business.

The UK government has indicated that it's prepared to provide "last resort" financial assistance to some UK businesses affected by the coronavirus crisis. The Treasury said such support could be made available if a firm's failure would "disproportionately harm the UK economy". The UK government has already put in place various initiatives to help companies during the pandemic but concern is growing that some big firms are still in difficulties even after making use of those schemes. The treasury said it was putting in place what it called "sensible contingency planning" and any support given would be on terms that "protect the taxpayer".


SPORT

Tennis... The French Tennis Feeration, the FFP, has announced 35 million euros of aid for the sport. According to reports, 60% of the aid will go to tennis clubs, with the remainder being distributed to players.

Football... La Liga chief Javier Tebas has said that he hopes the season can restart on 11 June with the mach between Real Betis and Sevilla. The local derby would be the first match to take place in Spain since 12 March. Limited training restarted last week and over the weekend Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez gave the go ahead for the country's top two divisions to resume from 8 June.

Basketball...The remainder of the Euroleague season has been cancelled. Play was suspended with only six days of the season left and organizers said that all options had been considered before making the decision to cancel the rest of the season.

Cycling.... British cyclist Elynor Backstedt has been injured after a crash during training. The Welsh Team Trek-Segafredo cyclist suffered a fracture of the tibia and a decision on surgery is expected to be made sometime today.

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