Evening Update Friday 11 February 2022

The French government has announced that the wearing of a mask will no longer be mandatory in places subject to the vaccination pass as from 28 February. However, it will still be required on public transport and in closed spaces not subject to the vaccination pass.

French education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer has announced changes in the health protocol for schools. The changes come into effect as from the end of the winter holidays in each respective region of France. The health protocol in primary schools changes from level 3 to level 2. Secondary schools and colleges remain at level 2. Wearing a mask outdoors at school will no longer be required as long as physical distancing can be maintained. Wearing a mask will still be mandatory indoors for staff and for students aged 6 and over. The minister also said that fewer self tests will be required for contact cases as from February 28.

Health minister Olivier Veran has said that the conditions for lifting the vaccine pass could be met by the spring. Speaking to French media this morning, he said that the requirement for the pass would be reduced when appropriate intensive care levels had been reached and when the incidence rate allows it, providing there is no new variant. Government spokesperson Gabrial Attal mentioned yesterday that the end of the vaccination pass may occur at the end of March or beginning of April. Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed this afternoon that such a time period is "within our reach" but he said he couldn't give a deadline, adding that the opinion of scientific authorities is awaited.

The Monaco government has said that 53 people are being cared for at the Princess Grace hospital as of yesterday evening. 52 people, including 46 residents, are hospitalized and one patient is being treated in intensive care. 171 people were being monitored by the Home Monitoring Centre which medically supports patients with few symptoms, who are asked to confine themselves to their homes.

The Nice Carnival is getting underway this evening and runs until Saturday February 26. A wide range of changes are being put in place on public transport, including on bus lines circulating on the Promenade des Anglais and in the city centre as well as on tram line 1. You can get more details on the Lignes d'Azur website https://www.lignesdazur.com/perturbation/186

A long running fire in Marseille has finally been fully extinguished. The blaze at a recycling plant began at Christmas and authorities have been working to completely extinguish it ever since. The prefecture said that drone surveillance had confirmed that the affected area was no longer burning. The entire environmental impact of the incident will be the subject of a detailed pollution analysis of water, air and soil.

VINCI Autoroutes is continuing works to modernize the  signs and traffic flow on the A8 motorway in the area just before the Monaco junction, between the exit of the Borne Romaine tunnel and the Monaco interchange at junction 56. The works are taking place from this coming Monday until the beginning of March in the direction towards Italy and will take place at night to limit disruption to traffic.

A new pedestrianised street has been inaugurated by the mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi. Rue Raoul Bosio, in Nice old town runs between Rue Alexandre Mari and the Quai des Etats-Unis. The mayor said that it is a step forward in renovating the old town and strengthening the economic attractiveness of the area.

 

BUSINESS

UK GDP rose by 7.5% in 2021 according to the Office for National Statistics. It's the fastest growth since the Second World War. However, it follows a 9.4% fall in 2020 resulting from the initial impact of the pandemic and public health restrictions. The ONS said that it's monthly estimates published today show that GDP fell by 0.2% in December 2021 with the Omicron variant affecting the retailing and hospitality sectors in particular.

Heathrow airport has said that the year has been off to a slow start as travel restrictions flatten confidence and demand. The airport said that while bookings for outbound tourism are recovering, inbound tourism and business travel remain weak. It is maintaining its forecast for the year at just over half of pre-pandemic levels on the basis that strong demand for outbound summer holidays can offset a weaker start to the year. It urged the UK government to support the sustainable recovery of travel and trade by "outlining a playbook for managing future variants" and seeking international harmonisation of travel rules.


SPORT

Motorsports... Bahrain is set to host Grand Prix races until at least 2036 after the country signed an extended contract with Formula 1. Bahrain is hosting the first Grand Prix of the 2022 season on 20 March.

Rugby Union...It's the second weekend of the 6 Nations Championship. France play Ireland in Paris tomorrow and Wales host Scotland in Cardiff . Six changes have been made by England from the squad which played Scotland when they take on Italy on Sunday in Rome.

There are two games in the Gallagher English Premiership tonight. Bristol play London Irish and Leicester play Northampton while in the United Rugby Championship Leinster host Edinburgh and Glasgow play Munster.

Football... In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Manchester United play Southampton, Brentford host Crystal Palace, Everton play Leeds, it's Watford against Brighton and Norwich play Manchester City. On Sunday, Burnley play Liverpool, it's Newcastle against Aston Villa, Spurs play Wolves and Leicester play West Ham.

 

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