Evening Update 09 March

Public gatherings involving more than 1,000 people have been banned as French authorities work to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

President Macron has warned it’s inevitable that wider restrictions will come, including the closure of schools and suspension of public transport services. At that point restrictions will not be meant to contain the spread of the virus but to minimise its impact.

Two new cases reported in Cyprus today means the virus has now touched every country in the EU. In Ireland, the government has cancelled iconic St Patricks Day parades, UK supermarkets have put in place restrictions to prevent panic buying and the Pope has delivered his weekly blessing via video link. On the Riviera, events cancelled today include MIP TV, due to take place in Cannes at the end of the month.

So far, CoronaVirus has infected 1,209 people across France with a mortality rate of just under 2%. Across the Alpes-Maritimes, there are 21 known infections, five of those in the Var.

Two people are being treated for serious burns in hospital after a road rage incident this morning at Cagnes-sur-mer where a man sprayed a car with petrol and set it alight. The incident happened during the morning rush hour on Avenue de Grass just west of the train station at Cagnes-sur-mer.

A 9,000 person drop in the population of Nice is becoming an election issue, with politicians asking if the reason is due to the real estate market in the city. Left wing candidate Partick Allemand said housing has been the city’s number one problem for years with social housing in Nice only increasing by 2% under Christian Estrosi's two terms as mayor. The first round of voting for local elections takes place next week.

In Antibes/Juan-les-Pins, church goers can now donate during a collection using a contact-less bank card. One church in the area has equipped its collection plates with a card reader which is located at the bottom of the basket.

BUSINESS

Global stock markets have seen record falls today over worries about two issues; the coronavirus and a collapse in oil prices. All of Europes main indexs have lost between 8% and 9% in value today with some analysts referring to it as utter carnage.

The crash comes as the price of crude oil fell to near $30 a barrel. That’s its worst daily plunge since the build-up to the 1991 Gulf War. The drop is being blamed on Saudi Arabia’s price war with Russia, over a deal to curb output and help stabilise prices.

The price fall could see a saving for motorists of nearly €5 per tank of petrol.

The dive in stock market values over the past fortnight also reflects fears that measures to contain the coronavirus, such as factory shutdowns and restrictions on movement, could cripple global economic growth.

SPORT

Rugby - This Saturday’s Six Nations match between France and Ireland has become the latest victim of the coronavirus, as the French Sports Minister announced the game will be postponed until Halloween. It’s still not clear if the Wales Scotland game will go ahead as planned in Cardiff on Saturday.

Cycling - The opening and closing stages of this years Paris-Nice bike race will be held without public audiences.

Football - Champions League officials in Paris have said Wednesdays match between PSG and Borussia Dortmund will be played to an empty stadium. The French champions, trailing 2-1 from the first leg, will host the German side at Parc des Princes.

In line with yesterday’s announcement by the Minister of Health with regard to public gatherings, all games in the French top division are to be played with a maximum of 1,000 spectators, or ideally empty stadiums, up to 15th April. The move is also being adopted for Italian League games.

FIFA have also announced that World Cup qualifying matches throughout Asia will be postponed for a number of weeks.

Formula 1 - The season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne will go ahead as planned next weekend with fans in attendance. It follows the announcement that the Grand Prix in Bahrain is to be raced without spectators. Formula 1’s Race Director said we have to keep moving on through life while taking precautions.

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