Evening Update Friday 26 February 2021

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has announced several new measures aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus. He announced the closure of the south pavement of the Promenade des Anglais, the Quai des Etats-Unis, Boulevard Franck Pilatte, the coastal path and beaches. He also said that he is closing the non-food markets of Nice whose areas and configurations do not allow the regulation of flows and are located in the districts of Moulins, Charles Ehrmann, Bon Voyage and Ariane, which have been hard hit by the epidemic. The mayor said that the virus "is plunging our department into an alarming situation" and he called on the people of Nice to fully respect government measures and more specifically the confinement this weekend. He added that "while these decisions may be questionable, we must implement them with the hope of returning to normal life soon".

The lockdown in many parts of the Alpes-Maritimes started at 6pm this evening and will finish on Monday at 6am. Essential shopping is allowed and a number of other stores including garden centres, car hire firms and tobacconists will be open. Exercise is permitted for one hour no more than 5 kilometres from your home and the walking of pets is allowed. People can also attend medical appointments. A completed certificate is needed for all outings. Full details of the restrictions and permitted activities can be found on the website of the Alpes-Maritimes Prefecture, www.https://www.alpes-maritimes.gouv.fr

Three further Covid-19 patients been moved from Nice to another area of France because of the saturation of local hospital facilities. Reports say that three people were flown by medical plane from Nice to Brest in north-east France this morning.

The Regional Health Agency of the Provence Alpes Cotes d'Azur has said that as of tomorrow, pharmacists will be able to dispense AstraZeneca vaccines to physicians so that they can vaccinate their eligible patient population gradually, as and when supplies are available. The agency said today that in the PACA region, 211,113 people have received at least a first dose of a vaccine and 97,941 people have received both doses, as of February 22.

The Monaco government is reminding residents that after leaving on vacation, they must carry out an RT-PCR test again upon their return. The governemnt said that each holiday period has in recent months been followed by a rebound of the epidemic. For further information, you can call the Covid19 Call Center on Monaco 92 05 55 00, 7 days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

In the Var, 4 new centres and 4 new vaccination lines have been opened today meaning that over 30,000 new slots will be open for making appointments. You can get details of how to book an appointment on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has described a suggestion by the Paris City Hall that a three week strict lockdown should be put in place for the capital as "nonsense". This morning government spokesperson Gabrial Attal said that he heard "very few, if any, scientists say that in three weeks we can defeat the virus and reopen everything".

A level 2 air quality alert has been triggered in the Alpes-Maritimes following pollution from the sand cloud crossing from the Sahara desert. The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has reminded drivers that all speed limits above 70 km per hour have therefore been lowered by 20 km per hour. There's also a total ban on open air burning and the prefect says that you're advised to avoid intense physical or sports activities, avoid high traffic areas during rush hour and if you are undergoing medical treatment or if you have any unusual symptoms and discomfort, to contact your pharmacist or doctor.


BUSINESS

Airline operator IAG, which owns British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling and Iberia has posted a record loss for 2020 due to Covid disruption. The company had an operating loss of €7.4bn last year after the pandemic grounded many of its flights. It is calling  for digital health passes to be introduced.

The family investment company of French businessman Bernard Arnault and a private equity business have acquired a majority stake in German footwear maker Birkenstock. The company said that it is entering the strategic partnership after carefully examining all options and the expansion of the company's shareholders is the next logical step for the company to facilitate further growth in markets such as China and India.


SPORT

Football...Jordan Henderson has been ruled out for up to 10 weeks because of injury. The Liverpool captain and England player suffred a groin injury in last weekend's match against Everton. He's had surgery and will miss three England World Cup qualifiers but is expected to return this season.

The draw has been made for the last 16 in the Europa League. Manchester United will be playing AC Milan, Arsenal have been drawn against Olympiakos, Tottenham are against Dinamo Zagreb while Rangers have been drawn against Slavia Prague. The matches are scheduled to take place on 11 and 18 March.

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

Rugby Union..The third round of the 6 Nations is being played this weekend but Sunday’s game between France and Scotland has been postponed. Wales can secure the Triple Crown if they beat England in Cardiff tomorrow. Kick off is at 5.45 our time. Italy host Ireland at 3.15. There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership tonight . Sale play Exeter. In the Guinness Pro 14 Benetton play Connacht. Cardiff Blues play Munster and Ulster play Ospreys.

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