Evening Update Monday 30 March 2020

The Alpes-Maritimes departmental council has announced the distribution of 10,000 masks to the national police. Police unions last week threatened to suspend checks on exit certificates if they weren't adequately protected from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, the Mayor of Antibes, Jean Léonetti has said that delivery of protective masks from central government is still awaited, 3 weeks after the crisis started. He said that that the municipality itself has already distributed 29,250 FFP2 masks and 1,780 surgical masks, as well as 200 liters of hydro-alcoholic gel.

More event cancellations have been announced this afternoon. The 14th edition of the Etoiles de Mougins gourmet event which was to be held on June 13 and 14 is being postponed to June 2021, taking into account the consequences of the Coronavirus epidemic. The decision was taken by Richard Galy, the Mayor of Mougins, after consultating those involved in the organization of the event. It's also been announced that the Paris Motor Show, which was due to take place in October has been canceled "in its current form".

An Air France plane from China, carrying 5.5 million medical masks, landed in Paris yesterday. The plane had almost 100 tonnes of medical equipment on board. Other flights are expected in the coming days to bring protective equipment.

It's reported that a facility to house homeless people during the pandemic is preparing to open in Nice. The facility, on Mont Chauve in the Falicon district was previously a holiday centre.

Corsica Ferries have issued a press release to explain why it's ferries are still running during the period of confinement. The comany says that has chosen to maintain a minimum service to keep supplies to Corsica open and remain avalable for the use of security services. The ferries are shipping foodstuffs and medical material and take passangers for "duly documented" reasons including the transportation of security and essential health personnel and for the assistance of vulnerable people.

A telephone helpline has been launched in Nice. A psychological support unit opened this morning "to help those who may find it difficult to get through this period of worry and doubt". The helpline is open from Monday to Friday, 9 am to 8 pm, on 04.97.13.50.03
Meteo France have a Yellow weather warning in operation for thunderstorms in the Alpes Maritimes and the Var until 8pm this evening.

The mayor of Vallauris-Golfe-Juan has said that she wants to see the opening of a coronavirus testing facility. Michelle Salucki says that she has written to the Regional Health Agency and the Alpes-Maritimes prefecture asking for such a facility to be put in place.

In other news, a man has died after being shot in Toulon this afternoon. Initial reports suggest that a neighbour opened fire on the man in an alleyway. A suspect is being held at Toulon police station.
 


BUSINESS

EasyJet has announced that it's now grounded its entire fleet of aircraft and said it can't give a date for when services will restart. The airline said it had made the move due to the "unprecedented travel restrictions" imposed by governments globally due to the virus pandemic. It had already cancelled most flights but had been running rescue flights to repatriate British citizens stranded abroad.

The price of oil fell once again earlier today, to lits lowest level since 2002. Commenting on the recent fall in oil prices, Goldman Sachs has said that Covid-19 is causing “the largest economic shock of our lifetimes”.

There has been a large fall in economic confidence in the European Union according to a widely watched survey.  The European Commission survey recorded its largest one month fall since it began in 1985. The Commission said that, importantly, in many countries the vast majority of survey responses were collected before strict containment measures were enacted to combat the spread of the virus.

Cruise operator Cunard has suspended all cruises until May 15th. The company had originally suspended sailings until April 11 but said it was extending the suspensions as a preventative measure.

Shares in many european banks fell earlier today after the European Central Bank told Euro area banks to freeze dividend payments and share buybacks. The move was announced by the ECB on Friday night.


SPORT

The new dates for the postponed Tokyo Olympics have been announced. TheGames will start on July 23, 2021. The closing ceremony will take place on August 8. The Paralympic Games will now take place between 24 August and 5 September 2021.

Rugby Union... Ireland's game against the Wallabies in Australia this July is "highly unlikely" to go ahead, while England's home match against the same opponents in November is also under threat. Rugby Australia chief executive Raelene Castle said the side's home games against Ireland and Fiji in July were "highly unlikely" to happen. Castle added that November's fixtures, including those against England and Ireland may also be sacrificed to complete Super Rugby and the Rugby Championship.

Formula 1... Red Bull motorsport boss Helmut Marko has said that the team has started producing ventilators for the British government. Red Bull is part of the wider effort among UK-based F1 teams to produce ventilators to increase capacity in the NHS. Marko said "This is the big plus of Formula 1, that you can react to the greatest technological challenges in the shortest possible time and also have the necessary speed in production." He also said that for Red Bull if current plans for the season go ahead, the loss of revenue from fewer races was not that big a blow as they would save more money by running the cars less. Meanwhile, the Mercedes Formula 1 team has helped to build a breathing aid that can help keep coronavirus patients out of intensive care. Mercedes worked with University College London engineers and clinicians at UCLH to build the device, which delivers oxygen to the lungs without needing a ventilator.

Football... England captain Harry Kane says the Premier League season should be scrapped if it can't be completed by the end of June. All elite football in England is suspended until at least 30 April because of the pandemic.

League One club Bolton have placed a number of staff on furlough, while senior management have taken a "significant pay reduction". Bolton suffered severe financial difficulties last summer before a takeover, and started the new season with a 12-point deduction.

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