Evening Update Friday 24 September 2021

Sante Publique France has said that the circulation of Covid-19 has decreased for the fifth consecutive week. The organization has released figures for the week of September 13 to 19 which show that the incidence rate was declining in all age groups. Nationally, it was 73 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is down 27% compared to the previous week. This corresponded to an average of 6,982 cases diagnosed per day. In mainland France, the incidence rate decreased in all regions and was less than 100 per 100 000 inhabitants, except in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Region where it was 152. At the hospital level, the decline in new admissions continued, with 2,527 new hospitalizations which was a fall of 28% and 636 new critical care admissions, which was down 32%.

President Emmanuel Macron has held a telephone conversation today with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson regarding the diplomatic row over the cancellation of the Australian submarine contract. The Elysees said that Johnson proposed to "re-establish" cooperation between France and the UK and pointing out areas in which the two countries have common interests. President Macron said that he was awaiting his proposals.

A special operation had begun to remove part of the remaining debris from the Roya valley, almost a year after Storm Alex devastated the area. Several wrecks of cars are being lifted by helicopter. The Deputy Prefect in charge of the reconstruction operation after the storms, Xavier Pelletier, was present at the airlift this morning.

Four tons of drugs have been seized in the western Mediterranean by French customs during an operation coordinated by the Maritime Prefecture from the Mediterranean Operations Centre in Toulon. It brings the total of drugs seizures in 2021 in France to 40.59 tonnes.

Former French government minister Paul Quiles has died at the age of 79. He held many political appointments in the 1980's and 1990's including in the departments of housing, tourism, defence and transport. Former President Francois Hollande paid tribute this afternoon saying that he was "a committed man who served the state with great competence".

Traffic restrictions will be in place in the centre of Nice this Sunday from 4 a.m. to 3 p.m. because of the Nice Half-Marathon. The following roads will all be closed to traffic - the Avenue Félix-Faure between rue Alberti and place Masséna, Avenue de Verdun in full, Rue Chauvain between rue Gioffredo and avenue Félix-Faure and the Allée de la Résistance et de la Déportation.



Economic sentiment in Germany has fallen according to a new survey. The ifo Business Climate Index fell from 99.6 in August to 98.8 in September, its third consecutive fall. Companies were less satisfied with their current business and more skeptical about the outlook in the next few months. Ifo said problems in the procurement of raw materials and intermediate products are slowing the German economy and "manufacturing is experiencing a bottleneck recession".

A survey by UK employers organisation the CBI has shown that stock levels in relation to expected sales fell to a record low for the sixth consecutive month for the distribution sector, with a further deterioration expected next month. The organization said that respondents to the survey said they do not expect the transport and production issues that are causing shortages in the UK to ease significantly until at least next year and, in some cases, beyond. It said that the government should take steps to relieve some of the pressure on the distribution sector such as by reviewing and updating the Shortage Occupation List, including adding HGV drivers.

China's central bank has announced that all transactions of crypto-currencies are illegal. It said that "virtual currency-related business activities are illegal financial activities." Trading crypto-currency was already banned in China, but had continued online through foreign exchanges.



Motorsports... Valtteri Bottas was fastest in first practice for the Russian Grand Prix this morning. Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton was second and Red Bull's Max Verstappen was third. Ferrari's Charles Leclerc was fourth. In second practice this afternoon Bottas and Hamilton once again took first and second places respectively, followed by Pierre Gasly in third and Lando Norris in fourth.

Football... The European Club Association has said that Fifa's propsed calendar changes would "lead to a direct and destructive impact on the club game". Fifa has proposed a men's World Cup every two years as part of an overhauled international match calendar. The ECA said that changes are needed to the calendar but it is unhappy with the plans and what it said is a lack of consultation.

In the Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Chelsea play Manchester City and Manchester United face Aston Villa, Everton play Norwich, Leeds play West Ham, Leicester face Burnley, Watford play Newcastle and Brentford play Liverpool.  On Sunday Southampton play Wolverhampton and Arsenal play Tottenham. There is one match on Monday, Crystal Palace play Brighton.

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