Evening Update Thursday 2 December 2021

Three further cases of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus have been detected in France. The first case was in Reunion but the three latest cases are the first in mainland France. The first was detected in the Seine-et-Marne department in the Ile-de-France region where an unvaccinated man tested positive for the variant. The second was in the Haut-Rhin department in the Grand Est region where a fully vaccinated woman tested positive. The third case, a woman who had travelled from South Africa on November 25, was announced this afternoon in the Vendee.

Hospitals in Strasbourg have announce that they are implementing their so-called "white plan" in the face of rising Covid-19 cases. The hospitals said that the announcement does not mean an immediate and large recall of health workers but makes it possible to adapt or reorganize all the hospitals' activities. It said that the number of COVID patients hospitalized locally had doubled in the space of 15 days and equals the peak reached in May 2021.

The mayor Cannes, David Lisnard, has sent an open letter to Health Minister Olivier Veran regarding supply restrictions on vaccines. Writing in his capacity as President of the Association of Mayors in France, he said that he has been alerted by mayors to supply restrictions in Pfizer vaccines, and that vaccination centres in some towns are being advised to only open new vaccination windows with Moderna vaccines. He said that such a situation will "pose a real problem of acceptability" and a drop in requests for vaccination. He said that, as the Moderna vaccine is excluded for certain age groups, he believes it will not be possible to cover all third doses with the Moderna vaccine. He added that to guarantee the success of the 3rd dose vaccination campaign, it seems essential to the mayors to guarantee the administration of the same vaccine as people received for their previous injections and to provide the vaccination centres with the same quantities of Pfizer vaccines as before.

Alpes-Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti is one of two candidates who have made it through to the run-off to decide who will represent the Republican party in next year's presidential election. President of the Ile-de-France region Valerie Pecresse and Eric Ciotti will now compete in the second vote of the party which will take place tomorrow and Saturday. The three candidates who were eliminated in the first round today, including former Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, have all expressed their support for Valerie Pecresse. The result is expected to be announced on Saturday afternoon.

Nice mayor Christian Estrosi has expressed his support for Karl Olive, the Mayor of Poissy in the Yvelines department, who received a death threat from a person who tried to attack him at his home last night and in front of his town hall this morning. The individual was apprehended by police. Christian Estrosi said that, faced with the increase in attacks against elected officials, law enforcement "must be firm to protect the Republic".

Retirees, including many from our region, have staged a demonstration in Paris this afternoon. They are demanding an increase in the level of pension payments because of an erosion of purchasing power by high rates of inflation.

The Monaco government has strongly recommended that residents receive a flu vaccination. It said that it's important to do everything to limit as much as possible the combined effects of the two viruses, the Covid-19 virus and the seasonal influenza virus, circulating at the same time. The government said that vaccination against seasonal flu is fully compatible with the vaccine against Covid-19. Everyone residing in Monaco can obtain the flu vaccine in a dispensary in the Principality. They can then have it administered by the pharmacist, attending physician or a private nurse.

 

BUSINESS

Plans to expand one of the UK's major airports have been approved. London Luton is currently the UK's fifth busiest airport and has a capacity of 18 million passengers per year. Under plans approved by the local council, which owns the airport, capacity will be increased by one million passengers per year.

The unemployment rate in the Eurozone has fallen to its lowest level since the spring of 2020. The EU's statistics office Eurostat said that the unemployment rate in the bloc was 7.3% in October, down from 7.4% in September.

 

SPORT

Cricket... Ben Stokes has made his first appearance for England after taking a break to protect his mental wellbeing. He took two wickets on the third day of England's four day warm-up match against the England Lions, the previous two days having been washed out because of rain. Stokes took 2 for 31 from 10 overs.

Alex Carey is set to make his Test debut after being added to the squad for the first Ashes Test against England in Brisbane. The wicketkeeper replaces Tim Paine. Carey said that he was "incredibly humbled by this opportunity".

Rugby Union... Scarlets have called on European tournament organisers to reconsider their position on rescheduling matches. The club are due to play at Bristol in the Heineken Champions Cup on 11 December which is one day after players end 10-days quarantine in Belfast after returning from South Africa.

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