Evening Update Friday 29 January 2021

A meeting of the French Health Defence Council is being held this evening. Reports say that the meeting will assess data on the impact of the 6pm curfew and will consider information on the coronavirus variants as well as reviewing feedback from various groups including pharmaceutical companies and psychologists.

The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has said that increased checks on compliance with coronavirus measures will be carried out in the coming days. Speaking to French media Bernard Gonzalez said that "everyone must play the game". He added that the vaccination rate in the department is currently higher than the national level but called for more doses of vaccines to be made available.

The Prefect of the Var has extended the obligation to wear a mask until February 16 and has also extended it to 9 additional municipalities. Masks will now have to be worn in public places in 79 municipalities in the Var and in all markets in the department. Non-compliance is punishable with a € 135 fine.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran this morning met a team of psychologists who support caregivers. He said that caregivers have been particularly exposed to stress and fatigue since the start of the pandemic and the government will strengthen the support it gives them. He said that 160 additional psychologists would be recruited across France.

In other news, figures released today show a large fall in road fatalities in France last year because of lower traffic during the health crisis. According to estimates from the National Interministerial Road Safety Observatory 2,550 people lost their lives on the roads of mainland France in 2020, which is 700 fewer deaths than the previous year.

Meteo France have a yellow warning for high winds in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes until 2am on Saturday morning.

Hundreds of job centres across France have been closed today as a mark of respect after the fatal shooting of a job centre employee in Valence yesterday. A human resources manager at a nearby business was also shot. The local prosecutor said that a suspect who is in custody is a 45 year old unemployed engineer from Nancy in eastern France.

New biofuel busses are being tested in Cannes as part of plans to develop more environmentally friendly transport. The first test was completed a few days ago and the next will begin on 3 February. Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard visited the Palm Bus depot in Cannes this morning. The aim is to gradually reduce CO₂ emissions from the transport network, until the fleet is completely equipped with electric and hydrogen vehicles by 2035, at the rate of 5 to 8 buses being acquired per year. The agglomeration is also planning to install a hydrogen production unit. The objectives are to reduce pollution from fossil fuels, reduce dependence on oil and improve air quality by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Police have been carrying out control operations on the roads of the Alpes Maritimes. One motorist was clocked doing 224 km/h resulting in the immediate immobilization and impoundment of their vehicle .


BUSINESS

The French economy contracted by 1.3% in the final quarter of 2020 compared to the previous quarter, which was better than many anlaysts had expected. It means that French GDP fell by 8.3% in 2020. Meanwhile, new figures show the Spanish economy grew by 0.4% in the quarter and the German economy by 0.1%.

The European Commission has published its contract with AstraZeneca for its Covid vaccine, with parts of it redacted. The contract, signed in August last year was for 300 million doses to be delivered after regulatory approval, with an option for 100 million more. However, reports quote EU sources as saying that say they now expect to get only about a quarter of the 100 million doses they were expecting to receive in the first quarter of this year. Speaking to German media, Commission President Ursula von der Layen said that AstraZeneca was obliged to use all four production plants named in the contract, including two in the UK, to fulfill its obligations.

 

SPORT

Cricket..Pakistan have beaten South Africa with a day to spare in the first Test. South Africa were bowled out for 245 with Nauman Ali taking 5-35 and Yasir Shah taking 4-79. The final Test starts next Thursday followed by three Twenty20s.

Football... Celtic have announced that chief executive Peter Lawwell has decided to retire after 17 years in the role. He'll leave at the end of June and will be replaced by Dominic McKay who is currently Chief Operating Officer at Scottish Rugby.

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

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