Evening Update Thursday 10 December 2020

A press conference has been held in Paris at which French Prime Minister Jean Castex along with Health Minister Olivier Veran and Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin gave an update on coronavirus measures from 15 December.

Jean Castex said that the prevelance of the virus is currently 107 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, which is below Germany, Italy and Switzerland. He said that the situation in France is probably the best for six weeks but this improvement had stalled for a week and that "we are on a kind of plateau". The number of new infections is no longer reducing and has increased slightly for a few days. He said that "the game is far from won".

Olivier Veran said that there will be even more hospital patients on 15 December than there were in mid-May at the time of deconfinement. He added that tonight there have been about 14,000 new cases of the virus in 24 hours.

Jean Castex said that the target of getting below 5,000 new cases per day by 15 December will not be reached.

He said that containment can be lifted on 15 December subject to certain provisions:

A curfew will be in place from 8pm as from December 15. The curfew will not apply on the evening of 24 December but it will be in place on 31 December. He said that people should stay at home on New Years Eve and follow the recommendation of a limit of six adults. He also drew attention to the six adults limit for Christmas and added that if you are with an elderly person or someone vulnerable to the virus you should limit your interactions for the previous five days and stay at home as much as possible.

Bars and restaurants will remain closed.

People will be asked to continue teleworking whenever possible.

He said that estabishments receiving the public which the government had envisaged possibly reopening on December 15 (such as cinemas, museums and theatres) must remain closed for a further three weeks. As regards sports stadiums, they must remain closed to the public but that decision will be reviewed on 7 January.

There will be no travel ban at Christmas. From 15 December there will no longer be the requirement for a certificate for travel between 6am and 8pm. Travel will be prohibited between 8pm and 6am subject to certain exceptions.

The Prime Minister said that there will be no compulsory isolation for people who have the virus but each such person will be offered a visit from a multi-disciplinary team.

As regards testing for the virus before the holidays, Olivier Veran said that a negative test does not mean that you are not a carrier of the virus and tests should not be considered "a totem of immunity".

 

Two French government ministers have commented on preparations for the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December. The French Secretary of State for European affairs Clement Beaune and Olivier Dussopt the Deputy Minister in charge of Public Accounts were visiting the Eurostar terminal at the Gare du Nord in Paris this morning. Clement Beaune said that "whatever happens, on 1 January we will be in a different universe" whether there is an agreement or not, but France was ready. M. Dussopt said that from 1 January, Britain becomes a "third country" which means "air and border police checks" and a change in the conditions for the passage of goods. He added that the Gare du Nord will be reviewing its signage on the evening of 31 December to welcome passengers and guide them properly.

The French government has launched an investigation after the release of two men suspected of involvement in the attack in Nice in July 2016. The two cousins from Albania were released after a procedural error.

The French privacy regulator has announced the imposition of large fines on Google and Amazon for breach of data protection legislation. The CNIL sanctioned Google LLC and Google Ireland Limited with a total fine of 100 million euros, in particular for having deposited advertising cookies on the computers of users of the google.fr search engine without prior consent or satisfactory information. The CNIL also fined Amazon Europe Core 35 million euros for similar infractions regarding the amazon.fr website.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin has been in the Savoie department today to visit the CRS Alpes after the helicopter crash on Tuesday. The crash claimed the lives of five people, including two CRS officers. He offered his condolences to the families of the victims, to their colleagues from CRS Alpes and SAF, as well as to all of Savoie.

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has called for a carbon tax on international transport. Speaking at the Zero Carbon Forum today he said that the problem of heavy goods vehicles "is major" and that "we cannot allow cars to be reduced" and at the same time continue with the situation regarding heavy goods vehicles. He said that Nice wishes to be more autonomous in terms of energy. He added that he is against European or State centrality, where everyone is told: "this is how it should be done". He said he is "the mayor of motorists, cyclists, public transport users, pedestrians" and didn't want what he called "punitive ecology".

 

BUSINESS

The EU has today published contingency measures to prepare for a possible “no-deal” Brexit scenario. The European Commission said that they were putting forward a set of what they called "targeted contingency measures" ensuring basic reciprocal air and road connectivity between the EU and the UK, as well as allowing for the possibility of reciprocal fishing access by EU and UK vessels to each other's waters. The Commission said that the aim of the measures is to cater for a period during which no agreement is in place. They will end after a fixed period if no agreement enters into force.

The UK economy grew by 0.4% in October 2020, the sixth consecutive monthly increase, although growth has slowed in recent months. The Office for National Statistics said that October 2020 GDP was 23.4% higher than its recent low point in April. However, it remains 7.9% below the levels seen in February 2020, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Holiday company Tui has reported full year revenues down by 58% compared to the previous year. The company recorded a loss of 3 billion euros and said that it doesn't expect bookings to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2022.

The UK has signed a free trade deal with Singapore. The agreement largely mirrors an existing deal between Singapore and the European Union.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend has signed a contract extension. The two year extension means that he will lead the team at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.

Cricket... It's been announced that England will play four Tests in India starting on 5 February next year. They will be followed by five Twenty20s and three one-day internationals.

Hobart Hurricanes have beaten Sydney Sixers by 16 runs in the opening game of the Big Bash League. Hobart Hurricanes scored 178-8 and Sydney Sixers 162-6.

Athletics... Next year's World Athletics Indoor Championships have been postponed because of the pandemic. The event was originally scheduled for March this year but the date was changed to 2021. The cancellation of the 2021 event means that the next  Championships will now be held in Belgrade in 2022 followed by Nanjing in China in 2023.

Football... The final group games in the Europa League are being played tonight with Spurs against Royal Antwerp in Group J. Arsenal face Dundalk away in Group B while Leicester play AEK Athens in Group G. Rangers visit Lech Posnan in Group D while Celtic host Lille. Nice are away at Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

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