Evening Update Tuesday 2 June 2020

The StopCovid contact tracing app has been released for Android devices after a delay this afternoon. The app was due to be made available on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store from midday today but the release was delayed by what the government referred to as "a few adjustments" being made. The app was reportedly on the Google Play Store late this afternoon with it being expected to be on the Apple App Store shortly. If you're intending to download the app, you're reminded to only download it from the official Google Play or Apple App stores and not to confuse the official French government app with others of the same or similar names.

The long awaited re-opening of cafes and restaurants across France has begun today, subject to health protocols being in place. Private beaches have also started to reopen, although some restaurants and beaches are expected to delay their opening until this weekend or next week. This lunchtime, President Macron tweeted that the reopening of cafes, hotels and restaurants "marks the return of happy days!" He added that "in these difficult times, the state will continue to support this sector." Today also marks the end of the 100km restriction on travel from home and people are now free to travel across France.

A cluster of Covid-19 cases has emerged amongst seasonal agricultural workers in the Bouches-du-Rhone. Reports say that thirty positive cases were detected after about two hundred workers were tested for the virus.

The French government has announced increased funding for hospitals and clinics. Minister of Health Adrien Taquet said this afternoon that an additional 100 million euros will be addeded to a fund of 377 million euros announced in April.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the summer sales across France will begin on July 15 and will last for four weeks. The sales were previously scheduled to begin on June 24 but the minister said that the delay had been put in place at the request of small traders who needed more time to build up their businesses after being closed during lockdown.

One man as died and another has been seriously injured after a fight between two neighbours in Nice. The incident occurred in the Republique district yesterday afternoon. Reports say that both men had knife injuries to the head and one of the men died in hospital earlier today.

Firefighters attended an apartment fire in the west of Nice this morning. Smoke from the blaze could be seen over a wide area of the city. The fire, on avenue de Fabron, is not believed to have caused any injuries.

Two people have been injured after a fight broke out in Draguignan last night. Reports say that a large group of people had gathered in the Negadis district and thirteen firefighters, along with national police officers, intervened.

Two people have been treated in hospital after a head-on collision in the Var last night. Two cars collided on the RD 554 to the west of Hyeres. The injuries sustained by the two people are not thought to have been serious.

Shipping links between Marseille and Algeria have resumed after being suspended because of the pandemic. A ferry from Algiers was due to arrive in Marseille earlier today. It's the first ship to arrive in France from Algeria since 19 March. Air links between the two countries are also being gradually re-established.

Meteo France have a yellow weather warning for storms in the Var until 6pm and the Alpes Maritimes until 8pm this evening. Most of those storms are expected to be inland.

 

BUSINESS

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire has said that the government expects the economy to shrink by 11% this year. Estimates by INSEE, the French statistics agency, had previously put the figure at 8%. The minister described the pandemic as an "extremely violent shock" but said he expected the economy to rebound next year.

Employees at a Renault plant in the Val-de-Marne department have been on strike today. The factory was earmarked for closure in the company's reorganization plans which were announced last week. It is the only Renault plant to be closing out of the fourteen the company operates across France.

Two US private equity groups have been shortlisted as preferred bidders for Virgin Australia according to the airline's administrator. Bain Capital and Cyrus Capital Partners have moved forward to the next stage of bidding for the company, which went into administration last month with debts of almost 7 billion Australian Dollars.


SPORT

Motorsports.. Formula 1 have confirmed that the first race of the season will go ahead in Austria on July 5, which will be the first of eight races to be held in Europe. All races are being held behind closed doors without spectators. In a statement this morning, Formula 1 said that the season would begin across three consecutive weekends with two races being held in Austria on 5 and 12 July followed by a third in Hungary. After those races, there will be a two week break before two consecutive races in Britain and events in Spain, Belgium and Italy.

Rugby Union... The Professional Game Board has given provisional authorisation for Premiership and Championship Rugby clubs to move to Stage 1 of training, meaning that non-contact training can resume. Social distancing must also be observed. Before clubs can restart training they will need to provide a written declaration to Premiership Rugby and the RFU that they have met a number of key criteria regarding education and safety.

Football... Southampton manager Ralph Hasenhuttl has a signed a new four-year contract with the club. He was hired back in December 2018, replacing Mark Hughes. Assistant coach Richard Kitzbichler has also extended his contract.

 

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