Evening Update Monday 18 January 2021

A new study has estimated that the British coronavirus variant accounts for 1.4% of all newly diagnosed coronavirus cases in France. The French National Institute of Health and Medical Research, INSERM, added that the variant could become "dominant" in France between late February and the middle of March. As regards the number of coronavirus patients in hospital, the organization said that new weekly hospitalization numbers could reach the same level as the peak of the first wave sometime between mid-February and early April, assuming no interventions are made. It said that these results support the need for strengthened social distancing measures and for accelerating the vaccination campaign to "face the threat" of the variant.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has been visiting several coronavirus vaccination centres across the Metropole Nice Cote d'Azur area today. Centres visited included those in La Trinite, Saint-André de la Roche, Saint Laurent-du-Var and Cagnes-sur-Mer. The mayor said that the municipalities of the Metropole are well organized to carry out the vaccination campaign. He once again invited residents of the Metropole to register on https://vaccincovid19.nice.fr/VC19/ to get their appointment as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, local elected officials in the Var visited a vaccination centre in Brignoles this morning. The centre is one of seven vaccination centres which have opened today in the Var, initially accepting people over 75 years old as well as vulnerable people at very high risk. The centres are located in Toulon, Brignoles, Draguignan, Frejus, Hyeres, Grimaud and La Seyne-sur-Mer. Details of how to make an appontment can be found on the website www.var.gouv.fr

As of today, a negative PCR test is mandatory to enter France for all travelers coming from a country outside the European Union. Such travellers will also have to undertake on their honor to respect a seven day quarantine and perform a further PCR test.

The RM 2565, which is the main access road to the Vésubie valley, will be reopened to all vehicles from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. between St Jean la Rivière and the Plan du Var. A provisional road had been created to allow traffic to be re-established during the cliff reinforcement work following Storm Alex. The full opening of the road will be effective from Wednesday January 27 at the end of the day.

A skiier has died in the Hautes-Alpes after falling into a deep crevasse. Local reports say that the 49 year old man was cross-country skiing with two companions when he apparently lost his balance. An investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances surrounding the incident.


BUSINESS

The Chinese economy grew by 6.5% in the final quarter of 2020 compared to the same period last year, according to official data. The economy grew by 2.3% for the whole of 2020, which was the weakest growth recorded by the Chinese economy for several decades.

A group of UK business leaders has written to the UK government calling for financial support for cross channel railway company Eurostar. In November last year Eurostar said that passenger numbers were down 95% since March. The company is 55% owned by the SNCF. The UK government sold its stake in 2015.

Samsung heir Lee Jae Yong has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison on bribery charges by a court in South Korea. He assumed leadership of Samsung after his father suffered a heart attack in 2014.


SPORT

Cricket.... It's been the penultimate day of the Fourth Australia against India Test. India need a further 324 runs to win after finishing the day on four for no loss at the Gabba in Brisbane. Steve Smith made 55 as the hosts were dismissed for 294.

Meanwhile, England have won the first Test against Sri Lanka by seven wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the series. Jonny Bairstow ended the match on an unbeaten 35 and Dan Lawrence on 21.

Football... Phil Neville has left his role as manager of the England women's team. Neville said that it's "been an honour to manage England". He's now expected to take over at David Beckham's Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.

Tennis... The International Tennis Federation has confirmed that it's considering several proposed changes to the Davis Cup Finals. Under the proposals, the finals would become an 11-day event with the 2021 edition set to take place from 25 November to 5 December. There would also be a change in the number of teams from 18 to 16 from 2022. The ITF board has already approved both proposals.  There will now be a period of consultation over the introduction of a multi-city format for the 2021 edition onwards.

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