Evening Update Friday 22 January 2021

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that the government has ordered enough vaccines to protect all French people before the end of August, which he said is 137 million doses delivered at a rate that will "accelerate month after month". He stated that the goal would be achieved "if all the vaccines ordered are authorized by the health authorities and if the laboratories respect their commitments", adding that "health authorities will soon tell us if all types of vaccines are suitable for all people. Vaccination of the most vulnerable could otherwise continue until the summer".

Locally, the mayor of Antibes Jean Leonetti has said that "we are not sure we can vaccinate people who have made an appointment." He said that there is "no fairness or transparency in the management of the dose shortage" and that "the health situation is simple: more Covid-19 patients in hospital and not enough doses of vaccine".

The President of the Alpes-Maritime department has welcomed the newly announced requirement for many travellers from elsewhere in Europe to have had a negative PCR coronavirus test before entering France. Speaking to French media Charles Ange-Ginesy said that the announcement is overdue and the measures are needed "for better control". Details of the measures will be clarified in a decree which is expected to be passed tomorrow.

Meanwhile, French tourism minister Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne has urged "caution" regarding departures for winter vacations. Speaking on French television, he said that "indicators are going up" and the government will "take a closer look" in a few days time.

The Monaco government has launched a new internet health portal. Monaco Santé allows Monegasques, residents and visitors to discover the Principality's healthcare offer and access information related to health such has health news, a directory of contact details for all Monaco health professionals and  establishments together with online appointment booking. More details are available at  https://www.monacosante.mc

Meteo France have a yellow warning for high waves and coastal flooding for the Var and the Alpes Maritimes until 8pm this evening. There's also a yellow warning for high winds - that's in force through until 8am tomorrow morning in the Var and from midnight to 8am in the Alpes Maritimes. There are also yellow warnings for snow and icy conditions as well as avalanches in the Alpes Maritimes. You can get full details at www.meteofrance.com

The prefect of the Alpes Maritime has drawn attention to the fact that there's a yellow avalanche warning with a level 4 out of 5 risk in the Mercantour. You should stay informed and stay vigilant if you're in mountainous areas.

Minister of the Armed Forces Florence Parly has been in the Var today. She visited the French army's civil security instruction and intervention unit in Brignoles, where she heard about the resources deployed during Storm Alex and attended demonstrations of equipment used to fight forest fires. 600 rescuers on permanent standby are based at the unit, which has specialized equipment and detachments to intervene in any natural or technological disaster.

Several local elected officials, including Alpes Maritimes Deputy Eric Ciotti, were present this morning at the opening of a key access road damaged during Storm Alex. The route de la Mescla serves the Tinée and Var valleys. The original road as well as the protective structures were all washed away by the storm. The  reopening of the road now makes it possible to take the RM6202 to local villages and will help to remove congestion at the crossroads of the two valleys.

Over one hundred students at two schools in the Var have been taken ill. Local reports say that students at a middle school and a primary school in Bresse-sur-Issole became ill last week. It's thought that a gastoenteritis type virus may have been to blame, making students ill for about four hours before they recovered. Both schools have been closed for disinfection.

Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi made a late night visit to inspect construction work in the Andre Liautaud tunnel in Nice last night. The 2.7km long tunnel which runs through the centre of Nice is undergoing nightime work until mid 2022 to create or rearrange ten emergency exits and replace lighting, ventilation and fire safety equipment. A total of 81 million euros is being spent to improve the tunnel and the Malraux and Cap Estel tunnels in Èze.


BUSINESS

UK government borrowing hit £34.1bn last month, which is the highest December figure since comparable records began in 1993. Borrowing for this financial year has now reached just over 270 billion pounds, which is about 212 billion more than a year ago.

John Lewis has said that it's going to repay a loan to the UK government before it's due. The 300 million pound coronavirus support loan is due in March but the retailer said it has sufficient liquidity to repay the loan early despite the closure of many of its stores for several months last year because of the pandemic.

 

SPORT

Tennis... Andy Murray will miss the Australian Open after what he called a "workable quarantine" solution couldn't be found. Murray intended to fly out to Melbourne last week but wasn't allowed to travel on a charter flight after a positive test for Covid-19.

Football... Real Madrid have said that coach Zinedine Zidane has tested positive for COVID-19. The club made the announcement this afternoon without giving any further details.

Mat Ryan has joined Arsenal on loan from Brighton until the end of the season. The Australian goalkeeper joined the south coast club from Valencia in 2017.

It’s FA Cup 4th round weekend with the action getting underway tonight with non-league Chorley taking on Wolves of the Premier League. Ties over the weekend include Cheltenham against Premier League giants Manchester City tomorrow and Manchester United against Liverpool on Sunday. There’s one game in the Premier League tomorrow. Aston Villa play Newcastle.

Cricket... it's been the first day of the Sri Lanka against England second Test. At the end of play for the day, Sri Lanka were 229-4 with England yet to bat. Angelo Mathews was 107 not out.

Sydney Thunder have recorded the highest Big Bash League total ever in their game against Sydney Sixers. Alex Hales hit 110 to take the team to 232-5. The previous highest total record was held by Hobart Hurricanes who scored 223-8 against Melbourne Renegades in 2017.

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