Evening Update Friday 24 April 2020

French Minister of the Economy Bruno Le Maire has said that a decision on the re-opening of bars, restaurants and cafes will be taken at the end of May. He was speaking after a tele-conference between President Macron and representatives of the hotel and catering sector this morning. The minister also said that a range of financial measures to help businesses in the sector will be increased at the request of the President. Meanwhile the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has estimated that hotels and restaurants in the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolis have lost about 600 million euros because of the pandemic. He said that businesses generally in the Metropolis had lost 2.5 billion euros.

A French Navy spokesperson has given an update today on the condition of the crew of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier in Toulon. 120 crew members who had tested positive for the virus have been declared cured and have been released from hospital or confinement. Twelve sailors are still in hospital, including two in intensive care. Crew who had tested negative or were asymptomatic are coming to the end of their confinement and will be released at the rate of up to one hundred per day as from Monday.

A resident of Cannes has been given a 3 month prison sentence for repeated breaches of the confinement measures. The man in his thirties had been fined 15 times by police for breach of the measures.

A French court has rejected an appeal by online retailer Amazon against an earlier decision which restricted it to delivering only essential products. The Court of Appeal of Versaille also said that it would impose a fine of 100,000 euros for every delivery that did not meet its requirements. However, the appeal court did extend the list of permitted goods the company can deliver by adding categories including products for pets and  technology products. Amazon said it was considering the court's decision. The original legal action arose from complaints by French unions that Amazon was not doing enough to protect its employees from the coronavirus.

The French government has decided to restrict the sale of nicotine substitute products. Sales are being limited at both online and high street stores. The move comes after suggestions this week that nicotine may have a protective effect against the coronavirus. French researchers are planning to test the possible protective effects of nicotine patches but have stressed that they are not encouraging people to take up smoking.

New research suggests that over 60,000 lives may have been saved in France by the first month of confinement measures. The study by the EHESP public health school says that in the absence of control measures, French health services would have been overwhelmed and almost 62,000 deaths would have occurred across France in hospitals alone. It said that 23% of the population would have caught the virus if there had been no control measures in place.

Another concert cancellation on the Riviera has been announced. Celine Dion was due to perform on Casino Square in Monaco on 18 July. The Canadian singer has cancelled a large part of her summer tour of Europe because of the pandemic, including the event in Monaco. If you have tickets, you'll be able to get a refund.

In other news, firefighters have brought a fire in undergrowth in the Var under control this afternoon. The fire, which reports say was intended to be a controlled burn of vegitation near Seillans, apparently go out of hand. 1,500 square metres of vegitation were consumed by the blaze.



A new study has said that about 1 million people in Germany may loose their jobs as a resuly of the coronavirus pandemic. The study by the Institute for Empoyment Research said that some of those jobs would be regained as the economy recovered, but it still predicted that unemployment will rise by just over half a million by the end of this year. It also predicted a fall in German GDP of 8.4% this year.

Japanese car manufacturer Mitsubishi has announced a reduction in executive pay and has cancelled its dividend. The company said it expects losses of about 240 million US dollars for its financial year that ended in March.

The UK government has said that it will provide financial support for a number of regional public transport systems which face losses becasue of the virus pandemic. The government is providing funds to several light rail operators in the north and midlands of England as well as ferry services between Britain and Northern Ireland and various transport services affecting the Isle of Wight and the Scilly Isles. The announcement comes as Transport for London said it has decided to fulough 7,000 staff.

American Express has announced that net income in the first quarter fell by 76%. The fall was largely the result of lower spending by its customers and increased credit provisions.



Cricket.. The start of the English cricket season has been delayed until at least 1 July. The ECB says it will look to schedule all international cricket between July and the end of September. It's planning to meet next Wednesday to discuss what to do about The Hundred, which is scheduled to start on the 17 July. England's test series against the West Indies is also being postponed.

Football.. England women's manager Phil Neville has confirmed his departure. He'll leave his role in July next year. He had been expected to lead the team during the Olympic Games and the Women's Euros but both events have been postponed.

The Italian Football Federation has announced the extension of the Serie A season until 2 August. There are 12 full rounds and four outstanding fixtures still to play and the league has said that it's committed to finishing the season. Play has been suspended since 9 March.

And the Games of the Small States of Europe, due to be held in Andorra next year have been postponed. It's thought that they will be rescheduled to 2025. Monaco is one of the participant nations in the games and is scheduled to be the host nation in 2027.


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