Evening Update Tuesday 10 August 2021

The French Minister of Overseas Territories has described the health situation in Martinique and Guadeloupe as "extremely serious". Sebastien Lecornu said that the French territories in the West Indies are facing an incidence level never seen before in France. The minister is travelling to Guadeloupe today and will then go on to Martinique. 240 caregivers and 70 firefighters are leaving from Paris on two specially chartered planes for the islands this evening and Health Minister Olivier Veran is expected to travel to the region later this week. The Health Minister has issued an urgent call for caregivers who wish to help to step forward. According to the government's Covid-19 dashboard, as at 6 August Guadeloupe had an incidence rate of 1,747.3 per 100,000 people, a rise of 127.5% in seven days. For Martinique, the figure stood at 1,165.7, a rise of 8% in seven days. Vaccination rates in the islands are low compared to mainland France.

A meeting of the Health Defence Council is scheduled to take place tomorrow morning. President Macron will be chairing the meeting via video link from Fort Bregancon in the Var where he is currently on holiday.

Olivier Veran has said that 45 million first vaccinations have been carried out in France. 80% of adults have now received a vaccine, rising to 86% of those aged 50 and over. He said that 82% of fragile people and 88% of liberal caregivers have received a vaccine dose.

The municipality of Antibes Juan-les-Pins has released figures for the number of people being treated for Covid-19 at the hospital in Antibes. For the period from August 2 to 9, there were 16 hospitalized patients, 6 in intensive care and there was one death of a patient who was 93 years old. The figures for tests performed in the week at the Fort Carre testing centre were also released. Out of 2,578 tests performed, 12.64% were positive. There were only 3 positive people in the over 65 age group.

Meteo France have issued a yellow warning for heat for both the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes until at least 4pm tomorrow afternoon. Meteo France say that very hot weather will affect the south-east of the country and the Rhône valley from tomorrow and may last until the end of the week. Nighttime temperatures will not drop below 21 to 22 ° C and highs will be around 35 to 38 ° C. Locally temperatures may reach or exceed 40 ° C in the interior of Provence. Thursday is expected to be the hottest day of the heatwave.

Firefighters from the navy base in Toulon intervened to fight a fire on a boat off Bandol yesterday afternoon. All passengers were evacuated from the 15 metre vessel and nobody was injured. However, the boat was completely destroyed by the fire and sank at a depth of 12 metres. Measures have been put in place to control any pollution from the site.

The body of a missing British hiker has been found in the Pyrenees. 37 year old Esther Dingley went missing last November while hiking in the mountains. A bone fragment was found last month and her body has now been discovered by her partner, Daniel Colegate. An investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding her death, but reports say that the most likely explanation appears to be an accident.

 

BUSINESS

Shops in the UK are contiunuing to see a rise in vacancy rates according to the British Retail Consortium. Chief Executive Helen Dickinson said that many shops and local communities "have been battered by the pandemic", with many high streets in need of further investment. However, July continued to see strong sales, although she said that growth has started to slow and the lifting of restrictions did not bring the anticipated in-store boost. Online sales remained strong, with fashion outlets in particular seeing a bounce back to pre-pandemic levels.

The UK’s used car market grew 108.6% in the second quarter of this year according to the latest figures from trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders. The number of vehicles changing hands was up 6.6% on 2019 pre-pandemic levels, the best second quarter performance ever for the UK used car market. The organization said that the increase tracks the UK's gradual emergence from lockdown, as businesses reopened, demand for personal mobility increased and stock shortages in the new car market forced some consumers to turn to used models.

International Hotels Group has reported an operating profit of 138 million dollars for the half year to 30 June, up from a loss of 233 million dollars in the same period last year. CEO Keith Barr said that trading improved significantly during the first half of 2021, with travel demand returning strongly as vaccines roll out, restrictions ease, and economic activity rebuilds. The company said that recovery was most advanced in Greater China and there was continued improvement in the Americas. IHG owns brands including Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.

 

SPORT

Football... Lionel Messi has arrived in Paris by plane from Barcelona this afternoon. Reports say he has signed a two year deal with Paris Saint-Germain. The club said this evening that a press conference will take place in the auditorium of the Parc des Princes tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m.  

John Stones has signed a new five-year deal with Manchester City. His contract was due to end next year but he will now stay with the club until 2026. He originally joined Manchester City from Everton in August 2016.

Cricket... Moeen Ali has been included in the England squad for the second Test against India. He last played Test cricket in February.

The ICC is bidding to have cricket included as an Olympic sport. It said that its main aim is to be added to the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. Cricket has featured as an Olympic sport once before, at the Paris games in 1900.

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