Evening Update Wednesday 28 October 2020

President Macron is due to address the nation at 8.00pm this evening regarding coronavirus measures. He is expected to announce the reintroduction of a national lockdown but the details are not yet known. Some media reports have quoted government sources as saying that a four week confinement may be announced but not under the same conditions as the first confinement which started in March. Reports suggest that the President may announce that some schools and colleges may remain open and teleworking in businesses may be strengthened. A defence council meeting was held this morning, which was the second such meeting in two days. A government spokesperson said shortly afterwards that a decision on measures had been taken at the meeting but refused to be drawn on what those measures may be ahead of President Macron's address this evening.

The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has expressed his support for a second lockdown and has called for joint management of any confinement measures between the Prefects and local Mayors. In an interview with French television this morning he  said that there should be the fastest possible implementation of new measures. He added that those who will suffer the consequences of a reconfinement should not be left "by the wayside" and independent workers "should not be forgotten".

The Regional Health Agency for the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region has released it's daily coronavirus update. It said that 1,255 people are hospitalized with the virus. 304 people are in intensive care. The positive test rate is 18.3%.

A medical evacuation of patients has taken place between hospitals in Avignon and Brest in north-west France this afternoon. A French army plane was used to transfer the four patients to Brest from Avignon. The Director General of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Regional Health Agency and the Prefect of the Vaucluse department thanked the medical teams involved in the transfer.

In other news, the Nice Administrative Tribunal has cancelled the result of the municipal election in Saint Paul de Vence. The decision follows an investigation lasting several months which focussed on non-conforming signatures in the election in which only eight votes separated the two candidates.

The body of a former head of the French Territorial Intelligence Service has been found at her home near Gap in the Hautes-Alpes. Her 16 year old son has reportedly been detained by police in connection with the death and with drugs offences.

 

BUSINESS

Paris Charles de Gaulle has overtaken Heathrow as Europe’s largest airport. Heathrow said that Amsterdam Schiphol and Frankfurt are "close behind". Heathrow said that losses have widened to £1.5 billion in the first 9 months as passenger numbers in the third quarter remained down over 84%. Third quarter revenue fell 72% to £239 million.

BT has signed a contract for 5G equipment with Ericsson. The Swedish company's 5G antennas, base stations and other equipment will be used to upgrade the EE mobile network. BT said that in time it expected 50% of all its 5G traffic to be transmitted via Ericsson equipment. The arrangement is part of BT's continuing move away from equipment manufactured by Chinese company Huawei.

French statistics agency INSEE has reported a fall in consumer confidence. It's consumer confidence index fell to 94 in October from 95 in September. The long term average for the index is 100.

UK fashion retailer Next has reported an increase in total sales of 1.4% in the third quarter. Online sales rose by 23.1%. The company also upgraded its profit forecast for the full year to about 365 million pounds but the figure is still far less than the 750 million pound profit it made in the previous financial year.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... England scrum-half Willi Heinz is out of Saturday's match with Italy in Rome because of a leg injury. Meanwhile, Ireland have announced only one change to the side which will face France in Paris. Robbie Henshaw is replacing injured Garry Ringrose.

Football... There are 8 more ties in the European Champions League tonight including FK Krasnodar against Chelsea in Group E and Manchester United against RB Leipzig in Group H . Paris St Germain visit Istanbul Basaksehir also in Group H while French side Rennes visit Sevilla in Group E.

Motorsports...This weekends Formula 1 Grand Prix at Imola will be taking place without spectators. It had been hoped to allow 13,000 fans into the venue on Saturday and Sunday but the Italian government has announced a ban on spectators at the event because of rising coronavirus numbers.

Reports say that Saudi Arabia is on a draft calendar of Formula 1 races for next year. A total of 22 races are believed to be on the provisional schedule with the season starting in Australia in March.

 

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