Evening Update Monday 22 February 2021

The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has announced lockdown restrictions over the next two weekends affecting much of the department. At a press conference today Bernard Gonzalez said that for the next two weekends there will be a lockdown in coastal urban municipalities of the Alpes Maritmes stretching from Menton to Theoule-sur-Mer, which will affect almost 90% of the population of the department. The measures will be in force from Friday at 6pm until Monday at 6am. During that time outings will be permitted for a limited number of reasons, similar to those in force during the confinement last March. They include excercising for one hour within 5km of home, visits to a doctor, walking pets and shopping for food. A completed certificate must be filled out. It's the first time a weekend confinement has been introduced in mainland France.

Several other measures were announced by the Prefect today in an effort to stem the spread of the virus. These measures include the closure of stores of over 5,000 square metres for 15 days as from tomorrow, except food stores and pharmacies, although click and collect and home delivery will still be permitted. Stores over 400 square metres will have to allow fifteen square metres per customer instead of the current ten square metres. Wearing a mask will be compulsory in all "high traffic areas" throughout the entire department. Controls at airports and the Italian border will be reinforced. Covid-19 tests will be carried out on random flights arriving at Nice and Cannes Mandelieu airports.

Also at the press conference, the director of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur Regional Health Agency said that the incidence rate is 588 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the Alpes-Maritimes, which he said is three times higher than the national average, and intensive care beds at the CHU in Nice are nearly 90% occupied. 4,500 extra doses of vaccine are being delivered to the department today. Vaccination will be opened to those aged 50 to 64 with comorbidities.

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, and the President of the South Region, Renaud Muselier, have both expressed their support for the new measures.

The municipality of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has published its weekly update on Covid-19 cases at the hospital in Antibes. For the period from February 15 to 21, there were 35 hospitalized patients of which 6 were in intensive care. There was one death, of a patient aged 89 years old. The municipality also published the results of tests carried out at the Fort Carré testing centre last week. Out of 2,308 tests performed on symptomatic subjects and priority contacts, 7.63% were positive.

French pharmaceutical company Sanofi has announced that it's to help Johnson & Johnson manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine. Subject to regulatory approvals being received, Sanofi will give Johnson & Johnson access to its manufacturing plant in the Rhone department for vaccine manufacture and the filling of vials at a rate of about 12 million doses per month. The arrangement is expected to begin in the third quarter of this year.

Motorway operator VINCI Autoroutes has today signed a co-financing agreement with the French state and the South Region for 13 projects, for an estimated amount of nearly 460 million euros. The investment programme covers 13 major operations on the road and motorway network in the South region. The projects aim to make journeys in the region easier, particularly between home and work, and to reduce CO² emissions by eliminating recurring congestion points and by promoting the use of public transport on motorways.
 

BUSINESS

Boeing has recommended the grounding of 128 of its 777 aircraft after a plane suffered an engine failure over Denver in the United States on Saturday. Parts of the engine fell to the ground but no injuries were reported. The plane returned to Denver airport safely. United Airlines and Japan's two main airlines are amongst the airlines which have said they will ground planes using the same engines as those used in the affected plane. Meanwhile, an invstigation has been opened in the Netherlands after pieces of an engine fell from a Boeing 747 which had just taken off from Maastricht airport.

German business confidence rose sharply in February according to a widely watched survey. The ifo Business Climate Inex rose to 92.4 in February, which was higher than many economists had expected.

Pub and restaurants group Mitchells & Butlers has announced that it has launched a fundraising of 350 million pounds. None of the Group's sites in the UK have been open since 30 December last year because of covid lockdown measures.  All of the group's German businesses were closed at the start of November 2020. The group said it had a cash balance of £113 million as at 16 January and was burning through cash at an estimated rate of between £30 million and £35 million per four-week period since the beginning of this year. The company operates brands including All Bar One and Harvester.

 

SPORT

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said that outdoor sports including football, golf and tennis will be allowed to resume in England from 29 March. Leisure centres, gyms and swimming pools can open from 12 April. However, the plans are subject to tests regarding vaccines, infection rates and new coronavirus variants being met.

Rugby Union... The captain of France, Charles Ollivon, has tested positive for coronavirus and will miss Sunday's Six Nations game against Scotland. Four other players in the French team have also tested positive.

Cricket.... New Zealand have beaten Australia by 53 runs in the opening Twenty20. Devon Conway scored an unbeaten 99 off 59 balls. New Zealand scored 184-5, Australia were bowled out for 131.

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