Evening Update Monday 24 February 2020

Two suspected cases of the Coronavirus in the Alpes Maritimes have both tested negative for the virus. The two people, one from Beausoleil and the other from Cap d’Ail, had recently been to Lombardy in Italy, which is one of the areas affected by the virus. Authorities said that one other suspected case tested negative yesterday. The results mean that there continue to be no known cases of the coronavirus in the Alpes Martimes. The Prefecture and the Regional Health Authority have today presented their plan of action should there be confirmed cases of the virus on the Riviera. The Prefect, Bernard Gonzalez, said that there was no question of closing the Italian land border as that “didn’t make sense” given that it was also possible to travel by air from Italy to France. However, he also said that in the future progressive measures could be taken such as temperature checks at the border but these would be “difficult to set up”. He said that the University Hospital in Nice will have a special unit capable of detecting the virus and treating cases. The Health Authority is reminding people that in any case of doubt, people should not go to their doctor but dial 15.  A national coronavirus helpline has also been set up on 0800 130 000.

Meanwhile, a wide range of measures have been put in place in the Italian region of Liguria, which borders the Alpes Maritimes. An order has been made which, amongst other measures, suspends all public events, recreational and sports activities, schools of all levels and museums and libraries. However, local mayors are permitted to modify the order according to local needs and not all towns and cities have implemented the full range of measures.

The Alpes Maritimes has been placed on red alert for cypress pollen. The Var is also on red alert. The exceptionally mild winter has contributed to the high levels of cypress pollen, but some other types of pollen, such as ash and alder pollen, are still low.

The trial of former French Prime Minister Francois Fillon and his wife Penelope has been postponed because of industrial action by lawyers in Paris. The trial had begun this morning but reports say that it has now been delayed to Wednesday afternoon. The couple deny accusations of misusing more than €1m of state money to pay Madame Fillon for an allegedly non-existent role of parliamentary assistant.

Toulon-Hyères airport will be closed for 48 hours in early April to allow renovation work on the runways. The airport will be closed from just after the departure of Air France flight AF7501 on the 6th of April until the end of the day on the 8th of April.

Police in the Var have launched a missing persons appeal after 17 year old Hilel Lamqadden, who hasn’t been seen since leaving his home in Luc-en-Provence on Saturday. Described as thin with short black hair he was last seen wearing a black jacket dark trousers and white trainers. Anyone with any information can contact the Le Luc brigade on 04 94 500 500.

Two drivers have been stopped on the A7 motorway in the Vaucluse department after doing over 200 km per hour. One of the drivers, who is from Cannes and was driving a Range Rover, was apparently clocked at 205 km per hour. A driver of a BMW 3 Series was pulled over in the same area after being flashed at 203km per hour. Both had their licenses immediately suspended.



Global stock markets have declined today as investors worry about the potential impact of the coronavirus outbreak. In Italy, which has seen Europe's worst outbreak of the virus so far, Milan's stock market was down by almost 6% earlier today. Shares in airlines and travel firms have seen some of the biggest falls. This afternoon Easyjet shares were down by about 16%. Brent crude oil prices have also fallen heavily. In contrast, the price of gold hit its highest level in seven years.

Mastercard said it plans to recruit 1,500 more staff over the next three to five years at its global technology hub in Dublin. It plans to increase its staff to more than 2,000 people.

UK newspaper and digital publisher Reach Plc saw its revenue fall by 5.3% last year, on a like-for-like basis. That's compared with a fall of 6.6% in 2018. However, it said revenue from circulation was 'resilient' and that it had seen digital revenue grow 13.2%. The company owns over 150 brands including the Mirror, Express and Star.

UK Estate Agents Countrywide and LSL Property Services have said they are in talks over a possible merger which could create the UK's largest estate agency. Countrywide owns the Hamptons and Gascoigne-Pees brands while LSL owns Your Move and Reed Rains. The firms said that talks were ongoing, but there could be no certainty that an offer would ultimately be made.



Rugby Union…. Ospreys and Ulster's Pro14 trips to play in Italy at the weekend have been postponed because of the spread of coronavirus in Italy. Ospreys were due to play Zebre in Parma with Ulster's game against Benetton taking place in Treviso.

Football… Inter Milan are expected to play their home Europa League last-32 match against Ludogorets behind closed doors because of fears about the spread of coronavirus. Talks have been taking place between the club, Italian government officials and Uefa about Thursday's fixture.

Cycling... Australian rider Caleb Ewan has moved into the overall lead of the UAE Tour with victory on stage two. Four-time Tour de France champion Chris Froome lost time and was dropped by the peloton in the final 8km. Ewan takes over the race lead from Pascal Ackermann, who was dropped with Chris Froome.

Commonwealth Games… India will host the archery and shooting events at the 2022 Commonwealth Games, six months before the main event in Birmingham. The proposal was put forward by India who threatened to boycott the Games after shooting was excluded. Both events will take place in January 2022, with the main games from 27 July to 7 August.

Cricket… Australia survived a scare to beat Sri Lanka by five wickets and claim their first win of the Women's T20 World Cup. Australia were 123 for 5 wickets Sri Lanka were 122 for 6.



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