Evening Update Monday 26 October 2020

The president of the French Scientific Council, Jean-Francois Delfraissy has said that the number of new coronavirus cases in France could be 100,000 per day, which is about double the number of positive cases revealed by testing. Speaking in an interview this morning he said that they had been surprised by what he called the "brutality" of what had happened to coronavirus infections over the past ten days and that he expected the second wave to be worse than the first. He said that there were two ways to reduce the second wave - to extend curfew measures or to re-introduce confinement but on a less severe level than in March.  

In Monaco, the President of the National Council, Stephane Valeri, has tested positive for Covid-19. The Council said that he had taken a test this morning which proved to be positive but he has "few symptoms" and his condition does not cause any concern. He is undertaking the work of the Monaco National Council remotely from  home, in close collaboration with his main staff. Potential contact cases have been identified and will be tested within 24 hours.

A new coronavirus testing facility has opened at Marseille airport today. Antigen tests are being carried out on a voluntary basis with passengers receiving their results in about 20 minutes.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has said that proposed reforms of unemployment insurance will be delayed until 1 April 2021. The reforms, which have been heavily criticised by groups representing businesses, had already been postponed until January 1.

Reports say that the body of a person missing since storm Alex has been found in Lantosque.  Meanwhile, the mayor of Breil-sur-Roya, Sébastien Olharan, has said that the army is still needed in the area. The army airlift operation in the days following the storm is now being wound down. Some 4,000 local inhabitants are still deprived of road access and the mayor called for the re-establishment or maintenance of military, land and air resources, as long as populations remain landlocked. Alpes Maritimes Deputy Eric Ciotti has called on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to work with the Italian government to open the Tende tunnel and the railway line to Italy.

Work still continues to repair damage caused by the storm at the beginning of October. The Roya departmental road is still being repaired and work is still underway to fully restore mains drinking water, sanitation and waste disposal. In addition to staff of local governmental organisations, several hundred volunteers were working over the weekend to help clean up affected villages.

Various agricultural unions have started a fundraising effort to help farmers affected by the storm. It's estimated that 100 hectares of agricultural land in the valleys have suffered damage and many farm animals were lost in the floods. Agricultural buildings also suffered serious damage.

HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco has made an official visit to the Picasso Museum, formerly the Château Grimaldi, in Antibes. Antibes Mayor JeanLeonetti presented the Prince with four historical documents dating from around the 14th century attesting to the affiliation of the Seigneury of Antibes to the Maison Grimaldi. A commemorative plaque was also unveiled.



A closely watched survey of business confidence in Germany has been published, showing worse than expected figures. The Ifo business climate index fell to 92.7 in October from 93.2 in September. The index had risen for the previous five months.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has said that a coronavirus vaccine has produced an immune repsonse in eldely people as well as in young people. It also said that the vaccine, which is being developed in collaboration with scientists at Oxford University, has produced fewer adverse reactions in older adults.



Rugby Union...Jack Willis, Jacob Umaga and Dan Robson are amongst the 36 players named in the England squad for this autumn's matches. Jonny Hill has also been selected, but Joe Simmonds has been left out. England are set to play Italy on Saturday in the Six Nations, followed by four games in the Autumn Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, Ulster scrum-half John Cooney has been called up for the Ireland Six Nations Squad. Ireland are playing France this weekend.

Football...Two AC Milan players and three staff at the club have tested positive for Covid-19. The two players, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Jens Petter Hauge, both played in the match against Celtic last Thursday. The club said that they are asymptomatic.

West Brom player Ahmed Hegazi has joined Saudi Arabian club Al-Ittihad on loan until the end of the season after which he's expected to sign a permanent deal. He was part of West Brom's pomotion-winning side last season and appeared a total of 104 times for the club.

Cricket.... Ben Stokes has scored an unbeaten 107 for the Rajasthan Royals as they defeated Mumbai Indians by eight wickets in the Indian Premier League. Stokes dedicated the 107 runs to his father, Ged, who is suffering from cancer.


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