Evening Update Tuesday 1 December 2020

President Macron has said that a general public vaccination programme will take place "between April and June" after the vaccination of the most vulnerable groups. Speaking during a press conference with the Belgian Prime Minister this afternoon, President Macron said that the first wave of vaccinations, which will "not be a general public campaign" will take place as soon as possible after approvals had been received, "between the end of December and the beginning of January." He said that this first wave will be conducted with "first-generation" vaccines "on which we have little perspective and whose storage and logistical conditions are quite complex". Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that elderly people in nursing homes will be vaccinated as a priority and that he will give details of the government's vaccines strategy from this Thursday.

The French Minister of Transport has said that people will be able to take the train or plane as soon as confinement is lifted. Speaking in an interview on French television this morning Jean-Baptiste Djebbare said that "100% of trains" would be available and that tickets would be exchangeable or refundable until the day of departure. He added that he expects the supply of plane tickets to be tripled compared to the confinement period.

The Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean has announced measures to reduce confinement at sea. By a decree dated 30 November, pleasure and water sports activities are authorized subject to compliance with government measures. There is no longer a specific certificate at sea - the certificate is the same as that used on land.  Nautical events remain prohibited, unless their terms are compatible with the provisions of a previously announced decree, in particular a maximum of 6 people during gatherings. Previously authorized activities, including all professional activities remain authorized. Access to ports and to the Mediterranean coast remains subject to authorizations taken locally by the competent territorial authorities. After several weeks of inactivity for crews and boaters, and therefore a period without checking and routine maintenance of the equipment, the Maritime Prefecture recommends several steps before any sea trip, including checking the condition of the boat and safety equipment. The Prefecture also points out that it is essential to have a means of communication with a charged battery to reach CROSS Med if necessary (on 196 from any telephone or channel 16 by VHF). You can find the full text of the decree at https://www.premar-mediterranee.gouv.fr/communiques-presse/mesures-d-allegement-du-confinement-en-mer

The municipality of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has released its weekly update concerning the number of patients with Covid-19 in the hospital in Antibes. In the period from 23 to 29 November there were 58 hospitalized patients including 7 in intensive care. There were 7 deaths of patients aged 68-95 years old. They also published the results of Covid-19 tests carried out at Fort Carré on symptomatic subjects and priority contacts. 1,397 people were tested of whom 5.87% were positive.

Meteo France have Yellow warnings for storms in both the Var and the Alpes Maritimes until about 10pm this evening.

Police in Marseille have opened an investigation after the discovery of a man's body in the stairwell of an apartment block. Reports say that he had been attacked by several individuals in the apartment complex in the 15th arrondissement.

The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes is reminding residents of Nice and Antibes that new sirens have been installed and will be operational during the monthly siren test at 12.15 tomorrow. Eight of the new sirens are in Nice and one in Antibes.

An investigation has been opened after fire damaged a television and radio transmission site to the north of Marseille. Services from the site at the Massif de l'Etoile have been interrupted after the fire began in the early hours of this morning. Reports say that arson is suspected as the cause of the fire.

The CCAS of Menton is appealing for donations of toys for children from families in difficulty in the town. Because of Covid-19 there will be no chalet this year and only new toys are being accepted. Donations of toys can be left at the CCAS at 4 Promenade Maréchal Leclerc in Menton from December 7 to 18.

 

BUSINESS

In the UK, administrators say they have "regretfully concluded" that they should start winding down department store operator Debenhams, while continuing to seek offers for all or parts of the business. The news was given to employees this morning. Debenhams fell into administration for the second time in April. The joint administrator said that the economic landscape is "extremely challenging and, coupled with the uncertainty facing the UK retail industry, a viable deal could not be reached." The news comes just hours after Topshop owner Arcadia went into administration.

The UK government has confirmed a loan of 825 million pounds to London for Crossrail. Transport for London said that the loan would permit work to continue on the project. Crossrail announced earlier this year that it was putting back its opening date from 2021 to 2022 and required more funding. Crossrail says that it plans to start intensive operational testing at the earliest opportunity in 2021.

Six million pieces of personnel protection equipment have been seized at Felixtowe in the UK. Suffolk County Council said 5.9 million products failed to comply with UK safety standards, which was more than half the items checked between 1 April and 30 September. It said that nearly all hand sanitiser consignments did not comply.

 

SPORT

Motorsports... Lewis Hamilton has tested positive for coronavirus. In a statement Mercedes said that "apart from mild symptoms, he is otherwise fit and well" but he'll now miss this weekend's Sakhir Grand Prix in Bahrain. Mercedes said a replacement will be named in due course.

Rugby Union... Billy Burns and James Lowe have been ruled out of playing in Ireland's game against Scotland this weekend becuse of injury. However, Johnny Sexton and Robbie Henshaw have both returned to training.

Sailing....  Vendee Globe competitor Kevin Escoffier has been rescued after abandoning his yacht and going into a raft. He was rescued by fellow French competitor Jean Le Cam off the Cape of Good Hope in the early hours of this morning. Race organisers said that Escoffier is "safe and sound". He was in third place in the race up to the point he had to abandon his yacht.

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