The French Ministry of Health has released new figures on the coronavirus outbreak. Two further patients have died since yesterday, meaning that nine people in France have now lost their lives as a result of the virus. 154 new cases have been detected, bringing the total number of cases so far to 577 since the end of January.
Three local hospitals have been given the go ahead to treat coronavirus patients. As from today the Arnault Tzanck Institute in Saint Laurent du Var and the hospitals in Antibes and Grasse have been elevated to “Level 2” status. The three hospitals are now able to test patients for the virus and to treat positive cases.
The Departmental Council of the Alpes Maritimes has announced the release of 5 million euros to support the local economy. The department has also given 100,000 euros to the Institut Pasteur to help research into the coronavirus.
A conference scheduled to take place at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco this weekend has been postponed because of the coronavirus. The Monaco Anime Game International Conference, which attract several thousand attendees, has been rescheduled to February next year. The 48th Salon des Antiquaires, which was due to take place in Antibes next month, has been postponed until June.
French Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer said today that "around 150 schools" are still closed nationally, mostly in the Oise and Morbihan departments. About 45,000 students and just over 3,000 teachers are affected by the closures.
The decree restricting the price of hydro-alcoholic gels in France has come into force today. It limits the price to 2 euros for 50 ml bottles, 3 euros for 100 ml, 5 euros for 300 ml and 15 euros for a litre.
In other news, Police in the Var are warning residents to be on their guard about hoax phone calls in connection with the coronavirus outbreak. Authorities say that they’ve received a number of calls from worried residents who say that they’ve been contacted by someone purporting to represent the government who wants to come to their home to check the water supply for signs of the virus. Police say that any such calls should be terminated immediately and that there is no problem with the water anywhere in the department. Anyone who receives such a call is asked to report it by calling 04 94 39 03 34.
Several airlines including Easyjet and Air France have warned of possible disruption to services owing to industrial action by air traffic controllers from now until the 8th of March. Passengers are advised to check with their airline before setting out on their journey. The strike is the latest in a series of protests over the government’s proposed pension reforms.
Global stock markets have fallen as investors continue to worry about the economic effects of the coronavirus. Positive pay and unemployment data from the US failed to buoy Wall Street when the US market opened. US employers added 273,000 jobs in February, significantly beating expectations, while the jobless rate fell back to near a 50-year low of 3.5%.
Reports in South Korea say that Samsung will temporarily move some of its smartphone production to Vietnam, after shutting down a local factory following a positive coronavirus test. From the end of March the plant in Vietnam will manufacture up to 200,000 smartphones a month which will then be shipped to South Korea.
In the UK, Virgin Media has said that a database containing the personal details of 900,000 people was left unsecured and accessible online for 10 months. It said that the information was accessed "on at least one occasion" by an unknown user. The database contained phone numbers, home and email addresses but apparently did not include passwords or financial details.
Cycling… The Milan to San Remo cycle race has been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. The race is one of the sport's five 'monument' classics and was scheduled for 21 March. The Tirreno-Adriatico and Il Giro di Sicilia have also been cancelled.
Rugby Union… Duncan Weir has been named on the Scotland bench for the match against France. Nick Haining replaces Magnus Bradbury at number eight. Fraser Brown has been chosen ahead of Stuart McInally.
Football... Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson has been ruled out of their Champions League match against Atletico Madrid with a hip injury. He’ll also miss Saturday's game against Bournemouth and is in doubt for derby at Everton on 16 March.
Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson has signed a one-year contract extension that will see him remain at the club until the end of the 20-21 season. The 72-year-old took charge in the 2017-18 season. Palace are currently in 12th place in the Premier League.
In the English Premier League this weekend, on Saturday Liverpool play Bournemouth, Arsenal host West Ham, Crystal Palace play Watford, Sheffield United face Norwich, Southampton play Newcastle, Wolves play Brighton and Burnley play Spurs. On Sunday Chelsea play Everton and Manchester United play Manchester City. Leicester play Aston Villa on Monday.