A student from Cannes has tested positive for Covid-19. This is the first case in the Alpes-Maritimes department. The 23-year-old woman tested positive for coronavirus at the Nice University Hospital. A fashion school student, she had recently returned from Milan. The Mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, said that, as of late morning, the state of health of the woman is satisfactory and is not causing concern. The mayor also announced that the Simone-Veil hospital in Cannes is going to be made into a "Level 2" health establishment which, amongst other improvements, will mean the establishment of isolation and infectious disease units. The teaching hospitals in Nice and Marseille will continue to be the region's "Level 1" hospitals. He added that since last Sunday a municipal crisis and anticipation cell had been set up in Cannes, bringing together municipal services and local health professionals, in permanent contact with the competent state services.
Meanwhile, the head of the pulmonology department at the Nice hospital has criticised the theft of protective face masks from the hospital. Professor Charles Hugo-Marquette said that because of theft, there are no more masks in the operating theatre at the Pasteur 1 hospital and staff are having to enter the room of flu patients without wearing masks. He called on both the public and professionals to act with reason. Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti said that he was "indignant" at the thefts and was very worried by the lack of resources. He called for central government to establish screening tests in Nice before next Tuesday. The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said today that testing will be available in Nice as from Monday.
Another event in our region has been postponed as a precautionary measure. The flower parade in Le Lavandou was due to take place on the 8th of March but has now been put back to the 12th of April. The carnival parade in Six-Fours-les-Plages, which was due to take place this Saturday has also been postponed to a later date.
Nationally, a case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Normandy this evening. A doctor at the Rouen University Hospital who had recently returned from Germany tested positive for the virus and is in confinement at home. According to reports, six people from local SNCF offices with whom the doctor recently had contact have also been confined. According to other reports, apparently confirmed by authorities, a worker at airports in the Paris area has also tested positive for the virus. He is reportedly an employee of an external services provider at the airports.
French Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said this morning that nationally there are about 2,000 students who have stayed at home because they have returned from high risk areas. He said that this figure was likely to increase next week.
French Minister of the Economy and Finance, Bruno Le Maire, has announced measures to help businesses and employees affected by the outbreak. He said that the coronavirus would be "considered a case of force majeure for companies" meaning that they would not face penalties for late delivery on public procurement contracts. As regards employees who have children who are confined at home, they will be able to go on sick leave immediately.
At an international level, The World Health Organization has this afternoon upgraded the global risk from the coronavirus from "high" to "very high", saying the continued increase in cases and countries affected was "clearly of concern". The head of the WHO said that more than 20 vaccines were currently being developed against the new coronavirus with the first results of tests expected in the next few weeks.
THE FRENCH GOVERNMENT HAS ISSUED A DEDICATED HELPLINE FOR CORONAVIRUS 0800 130 000. IN NICE MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC CAN CONTACT 04.97.13.56.00 - THE SERVICE IS AVAILABLE 7 DAYS A WEEK FROM 9AM TO 7PM
In other news, two people, aged 22 and 23, have died and one has been slightly injured in a serious road accident on the RD7 in Roquebrune sur Agens in the Var. The accident involving two vehicles occurred just before midnight last night. Emergency services from Frejus and Draguignan were deployed. The circumstances of the accident remain unknown as police open an investigation in the collision.
Stock markets across the globe are suffering their worst week since the global financial crisis of 2008 as fears over the impact of the coronavirus continue to grip investors. Markets in Europe have fallen sharply today. Shares in airlines have been especially hard-hit. British Airways owner IAG has warned that bookings in 2020 will be hit by the effects of coronavirus. The company said that as well as all China flights being suspended, there had been "a significant fall-off in demand in Italy". EasyJet is also cancelling some flights because of the virus and is looking into reducing costs. The Swiss government has announced that it is banning large public gatherings of more than 1,000 people until 15 March. As a result, the Geneva Motor Show has been cancelled. Two major theme parks in Japan, Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea, will be closed for two weeks as the Japanese government takes extra precautions to halt the spread of the virus. In an interview this morning, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that the coronavirus outbreak could lead to a downgrade of the UK's economic growth prospects.
In other business news, aerospace engineering firm Rolls-Royce Holdings has reported a pre-tax loss of £891m for the 12 months ended 31 December 2019. The company faced major costs in trying to solve problems with its Trent 1000 engine, eclipsing profits gained from record engine deliveries. The company wrote off £1.4bn in its full-year results, which off-set the fact that underlying core operating profit climbed 25%.
Football… The draw has been made for the last 16 of the Europa League. Manchester United have been drawn against Austrian league leaders LASK. Wolves will face Olympiakos, Rangers will face former winners Bayer Leverkusen. Five-time champions Sevilla face Roma and Inter Milan meet Getafe.
Newcastle manager Steve Bruce has said that the club has introduced a training ground handshake ban because of the coronavirus. Bruce said "there's a ritual that everybody shakes hands when we see each other every morning - we've stopped that on the advice of the doctor”. OGC Nice coach Patrick Vieira also said today that players are trying not to shake hands.
In the English Premier League this weekend Norwich play Leicester tonight. On Saturday Brighton play Crystal Palace Bournemouth host Chelsea Newcastle face Burnley West Ham play Southampton and Watford play Liverpool. On Sunday Everton play Manchester United and Spurs host Wolves. It’s the League Cup Final in England on Sunday. Aston Villa play Manchester City.
Cycling… Britain's Adam Yates has been declared the winner of the UAE Tour. The race was cancelled with two stages remaining after two Italian "staff members" tested positive for the coronavirus.
Cricket… Fast bowler Mark Wood has been ruled out of England's Test tour of Sri Lanka with a left side strain. He sustained the injury during the South Africa tour earlier this month.
England have beaten Pakistan by 42 runs to boost their Women's T20 World Cup semi-final hopes in Canberra. England now have back-to-back wins in Group B but remain second because leaders South Africa have a superior “net run-rate”.
Swimming… China's three-time Olympic champion Sun Yang has been banned for eight years for missing a doping test in September 2018. The length of the ban was because it was the swimmer’s second offence. He served a three-month suspension in 2014 for taking a prohibited stimulant.