Evening Update Thursday 16 April 2020

The French Navy has confirmed that 668 people on board the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle have tested positive for coronavirus. In total, 31 crew members are in hospital, including one in intensive care. The figure for those infected is likely to rise as 30% of the test results have yet to be announced. The ship is currently in Toulon, having returned early from excercises in the Atlantic because of the coronavirus oubreak.

The Town Hall in Cannes has announced that 3 traditional markets will reopen this Saturday, the 18th of April. They are the Forville, Gambetta and La Bocca food markets. The markets will be accessible to the public every day from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will feature a limited number of stands. The town hall has published a list of measures which have been put in place to protect merchants and shoppers. They include a barrier around the edge of the market to leave only one entrance and one exit, a minimum spacing between stands of two meters, a marking on the ground in front of each stand delimiting the distance to be respected between the stalls and clients and also between the clients themselves, the taking of the temperature of each customer by means of an infrared thermometer at the entrance and the installation of a table provided with hydro-alcoholic gel with systematic hand disinfection in the presence of a municipal official.

More staff at the police station in Cannes have tested positive for the coronavirus. Eleven new cases were announced today after recent screening tests. The central commisssioner was one of the people who tested positive for the virus. The new cases, all of which were asymptomatic, bring the total number of positive tests at the police station to 34. Unions are calling for the station to be closed for 14 days to limit the spread of the virus.

A man is in police custody after allegedly trying to push his wife off a fourth floor balcony. According to authorities, the incident took place in Nice on Wednesday evening. The man, in his forties, was taken into police custody whilst his wife was taken to the Pasteur 2 hospital along with their child  just one month old. Authorities said that 3 other children were present in the apartment at the time.

Local deputy Alexandra Valetta-Ardisson has written to French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to ask that tourist sites be reopened from 11 May. The Cote d'Azur tourism sector has been badly affected by the pandemic. She said that it was imerative such sites reopen and restauranteurs, hoteliers and tourism professionals should be trusted to  "apply the necessary sanitary precautions".

The Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard has launched a new scheme to help local traders whilst also helping carers and those in need. The program, details of which can be found on the VilleCannes Twitter page, is asking members of the public for donations. The Mayor said that the donations will be used to buy products to distribute to mobilized personnel and to isolated or fragile people. For example, the money could be used to buy books, flowers, catering services, pastries and clothes intended for nursing staff, cashiers, residents, and people in social difficulty. The mayor said the first concrete example was the use of a donation to place a large order of chocolates with 10 traders, which was then distributed to the residents and staff of care homes over the Easter period.

The French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner has this afternoon been giving figures on police checks on the confinement rules. In an appearance before the Senate fact finding committe on the pandemic, he said that 12.6 million checks had been made by police to enforce the confinement rules. Of those, 762,106 had resulted in a fine. He added that 100,000 police and gendarmes were permanently engaged in checking compliance with containment measures.

EDF has announced that it will not levy late payment penalties until September 1. Any reduction or interuption in gas or electricity as a result of late payment will also be suspended until September 1. EDF said it was implementing unprecedented measures to help all of its customers at this time.

The French Culture Minister has said that certain "small festivals" could be held from the 11th of May. In an interview today, Franck Riester said that the priority will be the safety of spectators, artists and technicians. He said he was working with his colleagues in government on a plan to support the arts and culture sector, which he hoped would be prepared in the next 15 days with a view to announcing it as soon as possible.

The City of Nice has announced that it is renewing its municipal decrees until the end of confinement. As a reminder, the mayor, Christian Estrosi has continued the following measures. Sporting activities outdoors are limited to 6am to midday and from 6pm to 8pm. Hypermarkets are closed on Sundays, the closure of open-air markets, access to the Promenade des Anglais is prohibited, Airbnb-type rental activities are banned (except accommodation already occupied as part of confinement). In addition, the curfew from now will be at 8 p.m in certain districts of the city (compared with 10 p.m. which concerns all municipalities with more than 10,000 inhabitants) through until 5 a.m.

 

BUSINESS

Figures released this afternoon by the US Labor Department show that 5.2 million people filed jobless claims last week. The new numbers mean that 22 million have filed new claims since the lockdown period began in the United States in March.

The Office for National Statistics in the UK has published data showing a big rise in prices charged by online retailers for some products. Prices for what the ONS refers to as "High Demand Products" rose by 4.4% over the past 4 weeks. The biggest rises were seen for pet food and rice. The ONS has also published data for the 23 March - 5 April showing that about 25% of all UK businesses have suspended trading. Of those that were still trading, an average 21% of employees had been put on temporary leave.

EasyJet has said that it expects to report a pre-tax loss of between £360m and £380m for the first half of its financial year. The company grounded all its planes on 23 March. It said it had a cash balance of around £3.3bn.

UK housebuilder Barratt has said that it is putting about 85% of it's workforce on temporary leave and its management are taking a pay cut. Nevertheless, the company said it did complete on 1,349 homes in the last 3 weeks.

Nissan has said that it will be producing 100,000 visors per week for NHS staff at it's car plant in Sunderland. A specially equipped production line at the plant has already produced over 70,000 visors.


SPORT

Cricket... The Indian Premier League 2020 season has been suspended until further notice due to the coronavirus pandemic. A statement from the League said that the Governing Council of the BCCI has decided that the IPL 2020 Season will be suspended until further notice due to the evolving global health concerns regarding COVID-19 and lockdown measures implemented by the Government of India. It said that that "the IPL 2020 season will only commence when it is safe and appropriate to do so".

Cricket Australia has announced it will put the majority of its staff on temporary leave and reduced pay starting on the 27th of April and going through until the end of its financial year on the 30 June. A skeleton staff, however, will be retained.

Football...Premier League clubs are holding a meeting tomorrow to discuss the remainder of the season. Reports say they will discuss the possibility of putting a deadline of June 30 on the current season.  Club owners and management are looking at how to avoid potentially difficult contractual situations with many players' current contracts expiring on 30 June. However, putting a deadline on the season is fraught with problems, particularly surrounding relegation and promotion.

 

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