Evening Update Thursday 16 December 2021

The French government has announced that it is reinstating compelling reasons for travel to and from the United Kingdom and is also increasing the requirement for departure and arrival testing on trips to and from the UK as well as introducing quarantine requirements. As from this Saturday morning, 18 December at midnight, there will be an obligation to have a compelling reason to go to or come from the United Kingdom, for vaccinated as well as unvaccinated people. This will not allow travel for tourist or professional reasons.

However, in order to enter France compelling reasons will not apply to French nationals or their spouse and children. It will also not apply to several other categories of people including British nationals and family members who are beneficiaries of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, various third country nationals who hold a residence permit or long-stay French or European visa and have their main residence in France, and EU citizens and their families who have their main residence in France. The full list, for both arrivals in and departures from France to the UK can be found at https://www.gouvernement.fr/sites/default/files/contenu/piece-jointe/2021/12/liste_des_motifs_imperieux_-_royaume-uni_-_16.12.2021.pdf

There will also be a need for vaccinated and unvaccinated people to initially present a negative test (RT-PCR or antigen) of less than 24 hours.

The government said that there will be an obligation for all travellers from the United Kingdom to register, prior to their trip, on a digital platform incuding the address of their stay in France. There is an obligation to isolate on arrival in France in the place of their choice for all travelers, unvaccinated as well as vaccinated. This isolation obligation can be lifted from 48 hours, subject to being able to present a negative test (RT-PCR or antigen).

Controls will be organized to ensure the proper implementation of these measures.

See the French government's statement at https://www.gouvernement.fr/les-nouvelles-regles-pour-les-deplacements-entre-le-royaume-uni-et-la-france

In other news, the Prefect of the Var has triggered the level 1 alert procedure relating to air pollution for today, December 16. Various health and behavioral recommendations have therefore been issued, such as to reduce and postpone intense physical and sporting activities. People who are vulnerable or sensitive to air pollution are recommended to avoid travel on major roads and their surroundings during peak periods. The extensive list of recommendations can be found on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

SNCF have said this afternoon that train traffic will be "almost normal" on Saturday and Sunday in the south-east of France but TGV services are expected to be disrupted tomorrow, Friday. It follows the lifting of strike action by rail unions.

An incident at Saint Laurent-du-Var station caused the interruption of trains between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Nice in both directions early this afternoon. Services are now returning to normal.

An operation has taken place in Nice to control courier deliverers about whom a large number of complaints have been received by local authorities. It was a joint operation invoving the Municipal Police, the National Police, URSSAF and customs. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has recently issued a decree to regulate the activity of a category of couriers, mainly two-wheelers, which cause nuisance and  various offences. Deputy Mayor Anthony Borre said that the control operation had resulted in the detection of 12 licence defaults, 3 cases of identity theft and 3 offences for concealed work.

The number of people who lost their lives on French roads in November has fallen by 14% compared to November 2019, and by 18% compared to the average for the months of November in 2015-2019. Other road accident indicators are down compared to November 2019, but up compared to November 2020, which was an atypical month because of the pandemic.

The French government has extend agreements concerning the taxation of frontier and cross-border workers, concluded with Germany, Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg and Switzerland in the context of the fight against the spread of Covid-19. The agreements are extended until March 31, 2022. The French tax authorities concluded agreements in March and July 2020 with their counterparts in neighboring countries to neutralize the impact of the health crisis on frontier or cross-border workers . The government said that "the exceptional measures are justified by an unprecedented health context with an unprecedented impact on the mobility of people".

 

BUSINESS

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to 0.25% from 0.1%. The bank's monetary Policy Committe voted for the rise by 8 votes to 1.

The head of a major UK hospitality business has said that "thousands and thousands" of pubs will collapse in January because of lost Christmas trading. Speaking to the BBC's Today programme Patrick Dardis of Youngs Pubs said that many Christmas bookings are being cancelled. Several UK business organizations are calling on the UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak to provide financial help to businesses facing disruption because of rapidly increasing coronavirus numbers.

The UK Office for National Statistics has published the results of a survey which suggests a decline in UK business confidence. In early December 7% of businesses reported no confidence or low confidence that they would survive the next 3 months, which is up from a figure of 4% in early October. The transportation and storage industry reported the highest percentage at 14%. The ONS also said that 13% of businesses reported they had no cash reserves, which is the highest percentage reported since June 2020 when the question was first asked.

Meanwhile a survey from research firm IHS/Markit showed a sharp slowdown in UK private sector growth in December as the Omicron variant hit spending on consumer services. It also said that growth at Eurozone companies had slowed to a nine month low.

 

SPORT

Football... Leicester City's game against Tottenham this evening has been postponed because of Covid-19 cases in the Leicester squad. Meanwhile, the manager of Premier League side Brentford has called for all this weekend's Premier League fixtures and the League Cup ties next week to be postponed because of Covid-19. Thomas Frank said that "Covid cases are going through the roof at all Premier League clubs". Brentford have 13 cases of the virus among players and staff.

Motorsports... Mercedes have decided not to pursue their appeal against the result of the Formula1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Governing body the FIA has announced plans to conduct a "detailed analysis" of the end of the race in which Red Bull's Max Verstappen overtook Lewis Hamilton's Mercedes on the last lap. Mercedes said they would "hold the FIA accountable".

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