Evening Update Friday 18 March 2022

The French High Authority for Health has said that although the Covid-19 epidemic has fallen sharply since the beginning of February, it now seems to be stagnating or even starting to rise again, in particular with the spread of BA.2, a new sub-variant of Omicron. It said that the latest modeling data from the Institut Pasteur indicates that a new peak in cases could occur soon, although lower than that of January. The Authority said that it proposes to make it possible to administer a second booster dose to people aged 65 and over who so wish, either those at very high risk of a severe form of the disease or those who are polypathological. It added that this would be discussed as part of a medical decision shared with the healthcare team, taking into account the individual medical situation. The Authority said it recommends in the event of a second booster to preferably respect an interval of at least 6 months with the first booster.

The Monaco government has announced the death of an 85-year-old resident who tested positive for Covid-19. Since the start of the health crisis, 54 residents have now died after being infected with the virus. The Prince's Government sent its most sincere condolences to the families and loved ones of the deceased person and assured them of its full support. As at yesterday evening, seven people were receiving treatment for Covid-19 at the Princess Grace Hospital. There were no patients being treated in intensive care.

The French National Assembly has announced that the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky will address deputies by video link next Wednesday. It follows recent addresses he has made to the House of Commons in London and the US Congress in Washington, DC.

A second solidarity restaurant for Ukrainian refugees has opened today in Nice. The restaurant, on rue d'Alger is being operated by the CCAS and the Federation of Alpes-Maritimes Students Associations and will be able to serve one hundred people per day. From Monday, the town hall is also setting up French lessons in Saint-Roch, with 3 groups receiving 120 hours of tuition to enable them to integrate into the school system with basic French.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has been in Corsica today on the final day of his visit to the island. Corican nationalists presented the minister with a document last night which they say puts in writing commitments made by the French governemnt in recent days. It covers matters such as the start of possible autonomy for Corisica and establishing the circumstances of the attack on Corsican nationalist Yvan Colonna in prison earlier this month. However, staff of the Interior Ministry have reportedly said this afternoon that the document is still under discussion.

An excercise to respond to a simulated security incident took place at the judicial court in Draguignan this morning. Parking and traffic were prohibited in the area while the exercise was in progress and a simulated crisis centre was in operation at the prefecture. Authorites said that the area was returned to normal around lunchtime.

CAP3000 in St Laurent-du-Var has been voted the "Best Shopping Centre” in the world. The award was made by a jury at the MIPIM real estate convention which has been taking place in Cannes this week and recognises its extension completed in 2021 which opened the centre to the sea. Felipe Goncalves, Managing Director of CAP3000, said that the award is also recognition "of the visionary character of CAP3000 since its creation in 1969: always one step ahead of consumer expectations and needs, of retail trends and developments".

The local cross-border commission for Franco-Monegasque cooperation met for the tenth time earlier this week. The commission's purpose is to deal with neighborhood issues between Monaco, France and the local authorities neighbouring Monaco. The committee discussed matters including housing for working people, transport and traffic issues, social affairs and health and the supply and management of drinking water and waste.



Unions have strongly criticized P & O Ferries' decison to dismiss 800 employees and replace them with contract workers, saying that it marked a "dark day" in the shipping industry. The RMT union said it was one of the "most shameful acts in the history of British industrial relations". P&O said it was a "tough" decision but it would "not be a viable business" without the changes.

The Bank of Russia has left it's key interest rate at 20%. It said that indicators are showing a deterioration of the country's economy with businesses in many industries reporting production and logistics difficulties.



Motorsports... Pierre Gasly was fastest in first practice at the Bahrain Grand Prix ths afternoon.  Charles Leclerc was in second place and Carlos Sainz was third, ahead of Mercedes' George Russell and Red Bull's Max Verstappen. Lewis Hamilton was seventh, behind Aston Martin's Lance Stroll.

Cricket... Mark Wood has been ruled out of the remainder of the West Indies tour and t