Evening Update Thursday 23 December 2021

The French Scientific Council has said that there may be what it called "a possible disorganisation of society" from the beginning of January because of high levels of Covid-19. It said that it is expecting "hundreds of thousands" of cases per day in France in January. In a press conference today the Council said that the Omicron variant is already in the majority in the Ile-de-France and will become the majority throughout France by the New Year. It said that problems may arise because of a high number of absences from work and the number of contact cases being required to isolate under current rules. Olivier Guerin, a member of the Scientific Council, said that the "strategic sectors of society" are at risk, such as "food distribution, security, energy, transport, communications and health".

The SNCF has said that some regional train services are being cancelled. However, it said that the problems remain "local and marginal". A spokesperson said today that the evolution of the health situation may mean local adaptation of services because of Covid-19 cases and contact cases amongst staff or because of a reduced number of passengers due to teleworking.

The Monaco government has said that children in the Principality aged 5 to 11 at risk of severe forms of Covid-19 as well as those living in the entourage of an immunocompromised person can now be vaccinated. It follows a favorable opinion issued by the Monegasque National Vaccination Committee.

The Prefect of the Var has issued three temporary prohibition orders for the end of year celebrations. They incude a prohibition of the use of fireworks and pyrotechnics and a ban on the consumption of alcoholic beverages on public roads. Those prohibitions are in force from tonight, 23 December, at midnight, through until Sunday 2 January inclusive in all municipalities of the Var. The Prefect has also bannned the purchase and retail sale, collection or transport in any transportable container of combustible and corrosive products, fuel and flammable gases. That prohibition is in operation from Monday December 27 at 8:00 a.m. to Sunday January 2 inclusive. Full details can be found on the Prefecture's website www.var.gouv.fr

The Palace in Monaco has released a statement with an update on the health of HSH Princess Charlene. The statement said that the Princess is recuperating in a satisfactory and reassuring manner, although it may take a few more months before her health has reached a full recovery. It went on to say that she will be visited by H.S.H. Prince Albert II and their children during the Christmas holidays and once her health is strong enough, the Princess looks forward to spending time with the Monegasques. The Princely Couple requested that their privacy and family environment remain well respected during this period of convalescence.

1,800 kilos of Corsican clementines are being offered to fragile and isolated people in Cannes. The agricultural food bank of Corsica donated the fruit to the town of Cannes for charitable purposes. It will be distributed over the festive season to people monitored by the CCAS as well as other disadvantaged groups including the homeless.



UK car production fell by 28.7% in November according to the latest figures released today by trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. It was the fifth consecutive month of decline and represents the worst November performance since 1984 as UK car makers continue to deal with a worldwide shortage of semiconductors. The figures also reflect the loss of output arising from the closure of a UK car factory in the summer. SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said the problem was likely to affect the sector throughout next year and called for more government support. The organization also reported that British production of battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars took a record share of production, accounting for almost one third of all cars made in November.

Energy bills in the UK will rise by about 50% next year unless the government intervenes, according to a trade body. UK Energy said rising prices were now starting to hurt the economy. It said it was asking the Treasury to intervene and said that tax cuts and green levies would help the situation.



Football.. The Premier League has postponed two Boxing Day matches. They are Wolverhampton against Watford and Liverpool against Leeds United, both due to be played on Sunday at 12:30 UK time. The Premier League's board said that Leeds will not be able to fulfil their fixture this weekend due to the number of players with COVID-19, injuries and illness. The club’s training ground has also been closed. Watford continue to have an insufficient number of players to field a team after their match against Crystal Palace last Saturday was postponed following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Cricket.... Australia coach Justin Langer has suggested that bowler Mitchell Starc will play in a third Ashes Test in quick succession despite feeling twinges in his back during the second Test. Starc has bowled more than 75 overs in the series so far. The Third Test gets underway on Sunday.

Tennis... Andy Murray has been given a wildcard for the main draw at the Australian Open in January. Murray missed the tournament in January this year after testing positive for Covid-19.

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