Evening Update Thursday 29 July 2021

Clement Beaune, the French Secretary of State for European Affairs, has said that changes to England's quarantine requirements are "discriminatory". The UK government announced yesterday that arrivals in England from the EU and US who had been fully vaccinated would not have to quarantine, but the change in rules doesn't apply to travellers from France. Speaking on LCI television this morning he said it was "excessive and incomprehensible". The UK justified the measure by saying that France had not been included in the changes because of the Beta variant being present in France but Clement Beaune said that the variant is less than 5% of cases in France and is mainly in the overseas territories. He added that he hoped the decision would be reviewed as soon as possible.

Two more French departments have made the wearing of masks outdoors mandatory. The prefect of the Vaucleuse announced the measure as part of a range of changes taking effect from today. Bertrand Gaume said that the Covid-19 epidemic has been resuming in the Vaucluse at an accelerated pace for several days and that "faced with this worrying epidemic dynamic" general measures to fight against the spread of the virus are necessary. The prefect of the Haute-Savoie also announced new measures including complusory mask wearing outdoors from today until at least 31 August.

The number of covid tests performed in France between 19 and 25 July increased by 50% from the previous week, with 3.6 million tests being carried out. People in the 26-40 age range took 75% more tests, according to the figures from the health and social ministries research and statistics directorate. The increase in testing is believed to be because a health pass is now required to access places of leasure and culture accomodating more than 50 people.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has visited the Allianz Riviera stadium where a vaccination drive has been held today. Eight hundred vaccinations slots were open to those who had pre-registered. The mayor said that with the Delta variant, the incidence rate is advancing rapidly. He said that vaccination "remains our only solution to get us out of this situation and we must do everything to reach 80% vaccination before the start of the school year".

The Cannes town hall is setting up a new telephone system aimed at supporting, advising and reassuring vulnerable and isolated people who want to be vaccinated but require more information. The town hall said that nearly five million patients with serious illnesses with co-morbidities have still not received a first injection in France, which is the main cause of the potential strain on the hospital system. As from next Monday, August 2, health professionals can be reached on 04 92 99 86 01 from Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Pre-registration for a vaccination appointment can also be done at the same time.

 

BUSINESS

The number of people on furlough in the UK has fallen to its lowest level since start of pandemic. Almost three million people have moved off the furlough scheme since March as the economy began to bounce back and businesses reopened, according to new statistics published to day by the UK treasury. Fewer than two million people now remaining on furlough.

Energy company Royal Dutch Shell has reported higher profits for the three months to the end of June as oil prices rose and coronavirus restrictions were eased. CEO Ben van Beurden said that the company is stepping up its shareholder distributions, increasing dividends and starting share buybacks, while "continuing to invest for the future of energy". The company raised its dividend and also said that it's launching $2 billion of share buybacks, which is targeted to be completed by the end of this year.

Drinks maker Diageo has reported operating profit up by 74.6% for the year ended 30 June. Organic net sales growth was 16.0% The company's brands, which include Johnny Walker and Guinness, benefitted from the reopening of restaurants and bars, particularly in North America.

 

SPORT

Olympics.... Caeleb Dressel has won gold in the men's 100m freestyle swimming. He also set a new Olympic record. Australia's Zac Stubblety-Cook also set a new Olympic record and won gold in the men's 200m breaststroke. Arno Kamminga of the Netherlands won silver and Finland's Matti Mattsson took bronze.

The New Zealand womens team defeated Great Britain  26-21 in the pool round of the rugby sevens.

Novak Djokovic has beaten Kei Nishikori to reach the men's tennis singles semi-finals. The final score was 6-2 6-0.

Three members of the Australian athletics team are isolating after close contact with American pole vaulter Sam Kendricks, who has tested positive for Covid-19.

The sports director of the German Cycling Union has been sent home from the Olympics after making racist comments. Patrick Moster was caught making the remarks on German television during the men's road time trial.

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