Evening Update Monday 20 December 2021

The French High Authority of Health has said that it is in favour of opening vaccination, without obligation, to children from 5 to 11 years old. It also recommended that such a vaccination should not be a condition of obtaining a health pass. It said that priority should be given to children under 12 attending school. The Authority had already recommended, on 30 November, the vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 or living in the presence of immunocompromised people.

The European Medicines Agency has recommended granting a conditional marketing authorisation for Novavax’s COVID-19 vaccine for people from 18 years of age. The vaccine is the fifth recommended in the EU for preventing COVID-19. The EMA said that the results of two studies show an efficacy of around 90%. The original strain of SARS-CoV-2 and some variants of concern such as Alpha and Beta were the most common viral strains circulating when the studies were ongoing. However, it said that "there is currently limited data" on the efficacy of the vaccine against other variants of concern, including Omicron.

The Monaco government's statistics office IMSEE has published new data on the Covid-19 pandemic. It said that as of December 1, the incidence rate for residents who were not fully vaccinated reached 681.0 compared to just 178.6 for those fully vaccinated. As at yesterday evening, 18 people were being taken care of at the Princesse Grace Hospital. 12 people, including 6 residents, were hospitalized. 6 other patients, including 2 residents, were being treated in intensive care. It added that the de-correlation between hospitalizations and active resident cases has never been stronger since the start of the epidemic.

The Prefect of the Var has issued a reminder that until 7 January, wearing a mask is compulsory for anyone 11 years of age and over in all public places, in car parks, open-air pedestrian access and circulation to all shopping centres and shopping areas in the 153 municipalities of the department. Wearing a mask remains compulsory indoors in closed places such as professional premises, shops, transport and in any meeting place, including establishments subject to the health pass. The requirement doesn't apply to areas of nature such as beaches and forests or people practicing a sport and users of two-wheelers. The full details can be found on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

A complaint has been filed against the Maritime Prefect of the Channel and the North Sea and against UK coastguard authorities alleging manslaughter and the failure to provide assistance. The complaint, filed by an organization which supports migrants and the homeless, is in respect of the sinking of a migrant boat in the Channel on 24 November in which at least 27 people lost their lives. The organization says that according to the testimonies of two survivors, distress calls were made to French and English rescue services without them intervening.

The French government Diplomatic Service has launched an updated app giving travel advice for 191 countries. The app includes such information as customs details, safety advice, entry and stay conditions, and health information relating to Covid-19. The "Conseils Aux Voyageurs" app is available in the Apple App Store for Apple devices and in the Google Play store for Android. The information is also available on the Diplomatic Service website https://www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/conseils-aux-voyageurs/


BUSINESS

The World Economic Forum has announced that it is postponing its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, in the light of continued uncertainty over the Omicron outbreak. The gathering was scheduled to take place between 17-21 January and is now planned for early next summer. Participants will instead join a series of online sessions bringing together global leaders.

easyJet and engineering firm Rolls-Royce have confirmed they will be working together on research into industry-wide sustainability solutions for commercial aircraft. The study, which will start in January and run for up to two years, will seek to explore alternative energy and power solutions, including low carbon and zero-emission technologies, and their application for aircraft.

Footfall in central London's main shopping area is significantly down in the last week compared to pre-pandemic 2019 levels. The New West End company which represents several hundred retailers in the area around Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street said that footfall in the area in the week from 13 to 19 December was 29% below pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

The chief executive of UK pub operator Greene King says that bookings have been "decimated" amid the rapid spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. He said the country was in lockdown "in all but name" due to government messaging regarding reduced social contact and called on the government for urgent help for the sector.

 

SPORT

Cricket... Australia have taken a 2-0 lead in the Ashes series after defeating England by 275 runs in the Second Test. The tour now moves on to Melbourne for the third Test, which starts in the early hours of 26 December French time.

Football... Premier League clubs have decided to keep the fixture list over the festive period intact despite the rise in Covid-19 cases. Clubs held a meeting today to discuss the situation. No vote was held meaning that two rounds of fixtures are still in place across five days from 26 December. Clubs have been advised that if they have 13 fit players, plus a goalkeeper, they should fulfil their games.

Tottenham are out of the Europa Conference League after Uefa ruled that they must forfeit their final match against Rennes. The match on 9 December was called off following a Covid outbreak at Spurs. Uefa's disciplinary body awarded Rennes a 3-0 win meaning that Spurs finish in third place. The club said that it was  disappointed by the ruling.

Tennis... Rafael Nadal has tested positive for Covid-19 after returning to Spain from the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi. Nadal said he had experienced some "unpleasant moments" but hopes to improve "little by little".

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