Evening Update Monday 15 February 2021

The Covid 19 incidence rate across the Alpes-Maritimes is at a record level 495 people per 100,000 inhabitants. If that number breaches 500, it will trigger an EU recommendation to ban all access to the region. Nationally, the incidence rate across France is just 193 per hundred thousand, while the numbers of new hospitalizations and admissions to intensive care are dropping.

In an increasing stand-off between Monaco and France over travel protocols, French visitors will now require a negative PCR Covid test of less than 72 hours to enter the Principality. The row stems from a French restriction, where Monaco residents can only travel freely within 30km of Monaco. The Princes Governement say this is insufficient and French citizens outside of the Alpes-Maritimes will be subject to the same requirements as any other international visitors.

The Education Ministry has updated Covid protocols where British variants of the virus will now be classed as ‘a normal case’. Currently three cases of the virus are required to close a class. However immediate closure still applies where any single student is declared infected with the Brazilian or South African variants.

Amazon have announced the opening of a new fulfilment centre at Carros, just north of Nice. The centre, due to open by the summer, will allow Amazon to offer next day, or even same-day deliveriers, across the Cote d’Azur.

France’s Finance Minister has warned Marine Le Pen could win next year's presidential election. He said next year could prove to be a difficult election campaign due to many movements of anger across the country. Recent polls show support for Marine Le Pen at 26 per cent, narrowly ahead of President Macron on 24 per cent.

Google has been fined over one million euro for refusing to class French hotel accommodation by its official rating, instead basing hotel stars on Google reviews. Google’s search engines have now been corrected to show the official Atout France rating which is based on 250 different items.

BUSINESS NEWS

Mario Draghi’s appointment as Italy’s new prime minister is already causing stock markets to surge. The former European Central Bank president was called upon to serve as Italy’s new leader and rescue its turbulent economy. Over the weekend he presented his new cabinet, which is made up mostly of politicians from across different parties. Analysts have become more bullish on Italian government bonds, while Italy’s main share index has soared more than 7% since the start of the month.

Sterling has hit its highest level against the dollar in nearly three years, amid rising optimism about an end to lockdown in the UK. This afternoon, sterling surged past $1.39 while also hitting a nine-month high against the euro at around €1.14

Meanwhile a breakthrough past $50,000 is looking elusive for BitCoin today. The cryptocurrency was tantalisingly close at $49,000 over the weekend but Asian trade earlier today has seen that drop to $45,000. Despite recent institutional investment, many bears consider Bitcoin will prove to be one of the largest financial bubbles of recent times.

SPORT NEWS

Tennis - World #1 Ashleigh Barty only needed 71 minutes to defeat American Shelby Rogers and move into the Australian Open quarter-finals. Barty, who is aiming to become the first Australian to win the women's singles since 1978, triumphed 6-3 6-4.  

Former champion Rafael Nadal and fourth seed Daniil Medvedev both cruised into the mens quarter-finals today.   No.2 seed Nadal gained a routine 6-3 6-4 6-2 win over Italy's 16th seed Fabio Fognini in Melbourne

In Monaco, organisers of the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters have confirmed this years tournament will go ahead but will be played behind closed doors. Matches from the competition will be shown on Eurosport TV.

Skiing - Italians are reacting angrily today, to last nights decision by the national govenment to keep ski resorts closed until March 5th. Mayors across the Lombardy region denounced the late timing of the announcment saying it’s a clear signal of disinterest and mistreatment of the mountain, of the people and families who live and work there, and of the entire winter tourist system that has Alpine skiing as its backbone.

Formula 1 - Red Bull will continue to use Honda's engines despite the Japanese company quiting the sport at the end of this season. Red Bull has concluded a deal to buy Honda's engine technology and will run the engines until 2024. The move is aimed at giving Red Bull flexibility and independence before the introduction of a new engine into Formula 1 in 2025.

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