Evening Update Thursday 3 February 2022

The number of Covid-19 tests being carried out in France has declined over the past two weeks according to new figures from the Health Ministry. It said that the decline in particular was in those aged under 66. Between January 24 and 30, about 9.29 million PCR and antigen tests were performed compared to just over 10.66 million the previous week. With the fifth wave at the beginning of November, the volume of tests increased sharply until reaching a peak of more than 2 million validated tests on January 10.

The Monaco government has released figures for the number of Covid-19 patients being treated in hospital. As of yesterday evening, 81 people were being cared for at the Princess Grace Hospital. 80 people, including 59 residents, are hospitalized and one patent is being treated in intensive care. 286 people were being monitored by the Home Monitoring Centre, which medically supports patients with few symptoms, who are asked to confine themselves to their homes.

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has launched a new digital healthcare platform. Mon Espace Sante is an online service which allows health documents to be stored in one place securely. Healthcare professionals can also send information to patients securely. They can also send documents that you can add to your medical file. Olivier Veran said that 25 years after the appearance of the carte vitale, the new service "is a new revolution". More details are available on the wesbite  http://monespacesante.fr

President Macron has collected the required 500 sponsorships for the Presidential election, even though he has not yet announced his candidacy. Presidential candidates must collect 500 sponsorships before 4 March in order to be able to run in the election.

For the first time, a QR code will appear on the card which will be sent to everyone registered on the French electoral lists for the presidential and legislative elections. The QR code refers users to the website www.elections.interieur.gouv.fr allowing access to procedures related to the elections.

One person has been shot dead and another injured in Marseille in what is believed to be a settling of accounts between drug traffickers. The 18 year old died at the scene of the attack in the 14th arrondissment in the north of the city. It's the third such death in Marseille since the beginning of the year.

An informal meeting of EU ministers responsible for justice and home affairs has begun today in Lille in northern France. Organized as part the French Presidency of the EU Council, the two day meeting is discussing matters including crisis management and radicalisation as well as the fight against hate crimes, which includes a meeting with digital technology companies.

 

BUSINESS

The Bank of England has raised interest rates to 0.5% from 0.25%. The rise was widely expected after recent rises in inflation. The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee voted 5-4 to raise rates to 0.5%, with four members voting for a rise to 0.75%. It voted unanimously to begin to reduce the amount of quantative easing. In its inflation forecast, the Bank said that it expected inflation to peak at about 7.25% in April.

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank announced today that it has left its key interest rates unchanged.

UK energy regulator Ofgem has announced an increase in its energy price cap by 54% from April 1. The cap restricts how much suppliers are able to charge consumers in Great Britain and tracks wholesale energy and other costs. Ofgem said that those on default tariffs paying by direct debit will typically see an increase of £693 per year.The increase is driven by a record rise in global gas prices over the last 6 months, with wholesale prices quadrupling in the last year.

UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced measures to help address the rise in energy prices, including a refund in council tax and a discount on energy bills which will need to be repaid over a five year period. The Chancellor said that Northern Ireland, which has its own system, will get separate aid to help with energy costs.

 

SPORT

Rugby Union... Jonny Gray has been named in the Scotland side for their Six Nations opener against England on Saturday. Stuart Hogg captains the side. Grant Gilchrist, Finn Russell and brothers Matt and Zander Fagerson are all included.

In other Six Nations news, Mack Hansen is to make his Ireland debut in their match against Wales.

Cricket... Australia have retained the Women's Ashes after beating England by 27 runs in the first one-day international in Canberra. Australia were 205-9 after 50 overs. England were 178 all out after 45 overs.

Olympics... Boxing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon have not been included on the initial programme for the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles. However, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing have been included. The changes follow the approval by the International Olympic Committe of a programme of 28 sports for Los Angeles, with what it called "a strong focus on youth" sports.

 

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