Evening Update Friday 15 January 2021

Vaccine company Pfizer has said this afternoon that supplies of its vaccine delivered to the European Union will be temporarily reduced from the end of January to the beginning of February. The company said that the reduction is because of modifications to its manufacturing process which will then permit an increased number of doses to be made available to patients at the end of February and March. The health ministers of six EU member states have reportedly sent a joint letter to Pfizer this evening expressing their concern about the reductions, calling them "unacceptable".

A French government spokesperson has said that coronavirus controls on large stores will be strengthened. The move follows concerns that some stores may not be respecting rules regulating the number of customers allowed inside. Current protocols say that a space of eight square metres must be allocated per customer and shops which have a surface area of over 400 square metres must also have a person on the door to regulate the number of customers entering.

The French Ministry of Labour said today that an initial payment of 900 euros per month for November and December will be paid to certain precarious, seasonal or intermittent workers from 5 February. The payments, which will be made to about 400,000 people, were first announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex in November.

The Monaco government has announced plans to pay employees who are not attending work because they are awaiting completion of PCR testing. The measure takes effect from today until February 15. When an employee or civil servant of the Principality is prescribed a work stoppage providing for absence from work pending the completion of a PCR screening test, he or she will receive a daily allowance from the first day of absence from work. There was previously a waiting period of three days. These allowances guarantee the employee 50% of their remuneration, which may be topped up by the employer.

Several thousand homes in north-east France have been left without power today after heavy snowfall overnight. Utility company Enedis told local media that 12,000 homes were still without power at midday today and it's expected to take until tomorrow to fully restore elecricity supplies. SNCF said that their workers had been mobilized continuously since yesterday to clear railway lines which had been cluttered with trees and branches brought down by the weight of the snow. Meanwhile, Meteo France have this afternoon issued orange level alerts for ice and snow tomorrow in thirteen departments in northern France, including several in the Paris region.

A flood prevention programme for the Cannes area has been signed. David Lisnard, mayor of Cannes and president of the agglomeration Cannes-Lérins and Charles Ange Ginesy, president of the Department of the Alpes-Maritimes signed the agreement. The plan will make flood prevention works possible this year including the demolition of buildings in the Impasse Nouvelle, and a feasibility study on the Provençal valley and the Roquebillière / Devens sectors. By 2026, other key programmes will be carried out in Cannes including hydraulic installations at La Frayère, studies for the development of the Foux valley downstream and the continuation of free diagnostics offered to residents whose properties are vulnerable to flooding.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi took a ride in a new autonomous electric vehicle this morning. According to the mayor, the Milla Pod is the first vehicle in the world which travels on an open road at more than 30km / h in autonomous mode. He said that soon a first step will be taken towards testing an autonomous shuttle in the Carros / Le Broc industrial zone.

 

BUSINESS

Figures released by the UK Office for National Statistics today show that the UK economy contracted by 2.6% in November. The fall in GDP came after six consecutive months of expansion as new lockdown measures were introduced. November's figure meant that the UK economy is still 8.5% smaller than its pre-pandemic peak.

Thousands of small businesses in the UK are set to receive insurance payouts covering losses from the first national lockdown following a landmark court ruling. The Supreme Court found in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies. The ruling could cost the insurance sector hundreds of millions of pounds.

Retail sales in the United States fell for the third month in a row in December. However, retail sales are 2.6% higher than the figure in February, largely because of an increase in online sales during the pandemic.

 

SPORT

Cricket... Joe Root has scored 168 in a rain affected second day of the First Test against Sri Lanka. England finished the day on 320-4, a lead of 185 runs.

Motorsports... Organisers of the Dakar Rally have announced the death of French rider Pierre Cherpin five days after a crash. Cherpin died from his injuries during a medical repatriation flight taking him back to France from Saudi Arabia where he had initially received treatment after the accident.

Football... The French League 1 match between Lorient and Dijon has been postponed becasue of coronavirus cases at Lorient. The match had been due to take place this Sunday.

In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Wolves play West Brom. Leeds host Brighton. West Ham play Burnley. Fulham play Chelsea and Leicester host Southampton. On Sunday Sheffield United play Spurs. Liverpool host Manchester United and Manchester City play Crystal Palace. Arsenal play Newcastle on Monday.

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