Evening Update Thursday 31 December 2020

The French Ministry of the Interior has reminded people that even though it's New Year's Eve the curfew will still be in force from 8pm and that you can only leave home after that time for one of the reasons mentioned in the exceptional travel certificate. Checks will be carried out by police across France.

The Monaco government has said that access to the Principality will be closed from 7pm this evening with exceptions for Monaco residents, those with a hotel reservation or employees in the Principality with the required authorisation. The Monegasque government has also announced that as a precaution against the spread of Covid-19, from 7pm on Saturday 2 January access to restaurants in the Principality will be limited to people who live, work or are staying in a hotel in Monaco.

The Prefect of the Alpes Maritimes has said that he thinks a 6pm curfew will be introduced in the department from 2 January. Speaking to French media Bernard Gonzales said that the curfew time would be changed unless the rate of incidence of Covid-19 drops below 200 per 100,000 people by tomorrow evening. Data published by the Regional Health Agency yesterday for the week from 21 to 27 December showed a rate of 295 per 100,000 in the Alpes Maritimes. The Prefect suggested that a sufficient fall in the incidence rate was unlikely by tomorrow evening and he therefore didn't see how a 6pm curfew could be avoided.

The French National Academy of Medicine has said that the rollout of coronavirus vaccines in France is slower than in other European countries and has asked the government to speed up the vaccination programme. Figures released by the government yesterday morning showed that only 138 people in France had been vaccinated since the programme began on Sunday. Meanwhile, Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti has called for Minister of Health Oliver Veran to explain what he sees as delays in coronavirus vaccinations being carried out. He has also written to Olivier Veran to to ask that the medical and social establishments of the valleys of the Alpes Maritimes which suffered in Storm Alex "benefit as a priority" from the Covid-19 vaccine, saying that the virus "is actively circulating in these areas where compliance with barrier gestures is very complicated".

President Macron is scheduled to make a New Year's Eve address to the nation at 8pm this evening. The president is not expected to make any announcements regarding possible curfew changes or any lockdown, instead concentrating on bringing a message of hope and unity to the French people.

Police have carried out a control operation in the Ariane and Moulins areas of Nice resulting in forty fines for non-compliance with curfew measures and one administrative closure. The deputy mayor of Nice, Anthony Borre, expressed his thanks to memebers of the national and municipal police involved in the operation.

Meteo France have a yellow warning for storms in the Var and the Alpes Maritimes until 4pm tomorrow, Saturday, and there's a yellow warning for heavy rain and flooding in the Var from 1am to 4pm tomorrow. There's also a yellow warning for icy conditions in both departments from 4am to 4pm tomorrow.
There's a yellow avalanche warning in the Alpes Maritimes. You can find more details on the warnings at www.meteofrance.com

A man has been sentenced to four years in prison by a court in Marseille for injuring a police officer with his car earlier this week. The court heard that the member of the municipal police had been carrying out checks using a bicycle when he was dragged several metres by the car. The driver was found guilty of aggravated violence against a person holding public authority.


BUSINESS

The United States is imposing new import taxes on some French and German goods as part of a long-running trade dispute. The US Trade Representative said that tariffs would be levied on aircraft manufacturing parts along with certain non-sparkling wine, cognac and other grape brandies. The new tariffs are part of a 16-year dispute over state support provided to US plane maker Boeing and European rival Airbus.

New data has been released by the Chinese government which shows slightly slowing growth in both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors. The National Bureau of Statistics said that the manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index stood at 51.9 in December compared to 52.1 in November. The non-manufacturing index was 55.7, down from 56.4. However, a figure over 50 still indicates growth.


SPORT

Several well known figures from the sporting world have received honours in the Queen's New Year Honours list. Lewis Hamilton has received a knighthood. Rugby league player Rob Burrow is made an MBE for services to rugby and his awareness campaign since being diagnosed with motor neurone disease. Tennis player Anne Keoth-a-vong also becomes an MBE. Tottenham and Chelsea striker Jimmy Greaves and ex-Wolves midfielder Ron Flowers, who both played for England in the 1966 World Cup  receive MBEs.

Tennis... Andy Murray has pulled out of next week's ATP event in Delray Beach. He said that "given the increase in Covid rates and the transatlantic flights involved" he  wanted to minimize the risks ahead of the Australian Open.

Cricket... New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has achieved first place in the ICC Test batting rankings. He has scored 251 and 129 in two Tests this month. Virat Kohli remains second overall, while Steve Smith is in third place.

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