Evening Update Thursday 5 March 2020

The first case of the coronavirus has been announced in the Var. The regional health agency said that a 68-year-old woman living in Six-Fours-les-Plages had tested positive after returning from Milan and that her health is not a source of concern for the moment.

Two further cases of the coronavirus in the Alpes Maritimes have been announced this afternoon. The Prefecture said that the two people, aged 42 and 43 and living in Nice, had tested positive after returning from a trip to Mulhouse in north-east France. Three other people who had all recently returned from Mulhouse have tested positive in the Hautes-Alpes. The two latest cases mean that a total of 12 people so far have tested positive for the virus in the Alpes Maritimes. Only one case, that of an Italian national from Lombardy, remains worrying. A high school student in Aix-en-Provence has also been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Nationally, the French government has announced that two more people have died from the virus, taking the total number of deaths to six. There have been 92 news cases detected in the past 24 hours, which means that there are now a total of 377 cases of the virus throughout France. The mayor of Cannes, David Lisnard, said this afternoon that the impact of the coronavirus is "a real social and economic disaster". His remarks follow the cancellation or postponement of several major local events such as the MipTV television festival and the MIPIM real estate meeting. The mayor called for emergency funding to be put in place to help preserve jobs and support businesses.

Airline Corsair has announced special procedures to enable passengers to modify or postpone their flights. You should contact the airline for more information https://www.corsair.fr/en

In other news, a motorcyclist has been killed in a road accident in Cannes. The accident involving two cars and the motorcyclist occurred around 11pm on Wednesday evening. An investigation is underway to determine the circumstances of the accident. Two pedestrians and three motorcyclists have lost their lives since the start of the year in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Demonstrations have been taking place in Nice today against the government pension reforms and following the announcement that they are to pass through article 49.3 without a vote in parliament. Several hundred demonstrators gathered this morning at the Place Masséna. Line 1 of the tramway was briefly disrupted because of the march, but services are now back to normal.

22 people have been injured after a Strasbourg to Paris TGV derailed about thirty kilometers north of Strasbourg at 7.45 this morning. The driver, who was airlifted to hospital is in a serious condition but his life isn’t thought to be in danger. The other injuries are relatively minor. 348 passengers were on board the train, which was traveling at 270 km/h. SNCF has said that the train derailed after hitting a landslide which had obstructed part of the track.

A supervisor at a prison near Aix-en-Provence is thought to have taken his own life with his service weapon. The 25 year old’s body was discovered at 5am this morning. The Aix-en-Provence prosecutor has opened an investigation.

A small earthquake was reported in the arriere-pays early this morning near Lantosque in the Vésubie valley. The quake, measuring 1.6 on the Richter Scale, was sufficiently strong to wake up some local residents but no damage or injuries have been reported.

Despite the cancellation of the Lemon Festival in Menton, the traditional selling off of the fruit used in the festival will take place as normal this Saturday. Stalls will be set up at the main entrance to the Jardins Biovès from 9am on Saturday.



UK airline Flybe has gone into administration, putting 2,000 jobs at risk, after a bid for fresh financial support failed. The Exeter-based carrier said the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on demand for air travel was partly to blame for its collapse.

German airline Lufthansa has announced the suspension of all its flights to Israel until the 28th of March. The announcement follows the Israeli government’s statement yesterday saying that it was prohibiting access to nationals of several European countries because of the Coronavirus. The airline said that this had caused a significant drop in demand.

The International Monetary Fund has announced $50bn of support for countries hit by the coronavirus. The organisation also warned that the outbreak had already pushed this year's global economic growth below last year's levels.

UK retailer John Lewis has warned it could close shops as it launches a review of the business which it said would involve store closures "where necessary" as well as space reduction in existing stores. Profits at the partnership fell by 23% last year. This year annual staff bonuses have been set at 2% which is the lowest since 1953.



Rugby Union… England's Six Nations games against Italy on 14 and 15 March have been postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak. Organizers said that the men's, women's and under-20s contests will be played at "a later date" and that "Six Nations fully intends to complete all 15 games in all three championships when time allows."

Cricket… Australia are through to the Women's T20 World Cup final. They defeated South Africa by five runs and will be playing India in the final.

Football… The Spanish Ministry of Health has said that Valencia's Champions League match at home to Atalanta will be played behind closed doors in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus. The match was due to be played on 10 March. The health ministry said that it wanted to avoid "large gatherings of fans".

Arsenal have said that midfielder Lucas Torreira suffered a fractured ankle during Monday's FA Cup fifth round match against Portsmouth. He had to be stretchered off just before full time following a challenge by Portsmouth defender James Bolton. Arsenal say they are waiting for "further specialist reviews" of the injury.


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