Evening Update Tuesday 13 April 2021

Johnson & Johnson has decided to delay the rollout of its Covid-19 vaccine in Europe. In a statement the company said it was "aware of an extremely rare disorder involving people with blood clots in combination with low platelets in a small number of individuals" who have received its  vaccine. The company said that the United States Centers for Disease Control and Food and Drug Administration are reviewing data involving six reported U.S. cases out of more than 6.8 million doses administered and said that "out of an abundance of caution, the CDC and FDA have recommended a pause" in the use of the vaccine. It said it has been reviewing these cases with European health authorities and had made the decision to "proactively delay the rollout" of its vaccine in Europe.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced the suspension of all flights between Brazil and France until further notice. Many French health professionals have recently voiced their concern regarding the possible spread of the Brazilian coronacirus variant, although the number of such cases in France is currently very low.

The French Ministry of Labour has said that certain businesses employing "recurrent seasonal workers" will be able to put them on short time work and benefit from government financial support. The ministry said that the arrangement will be in place until the end of June. Similar measures were put in place over the winter to support businesses and workers in ski resorts.

French Eduction Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer is isolating after being in contact with a member of his team who tested positive. Reports say that the minister himself tested negative last night but he is awaiting the results of a further test.

The first drive-in vaccination centre in France has opened near Montpellier in the Herault department. As from today, vaccinations are being administered to people while they are in their car. Facilities have been set up in the parking lot of a clinic in a suburb of the town.

Locally, the Cannes town hall has said that 1,184 law enforcement officers and teachers have now been vaccinated or have an appointment to be vaccinated. The town hall added that all residents 75 and over who wish to be vaccinated have now received at least their first dose. 74% of those aged over 70 have received a vaccination making Cannes the first ranked city in the Alpes-Maritimes for this age group, according to the town hall. The rate rises to 81% if residents of public nursing homes in Cannes are included. All registered Cannes residents aged 65 to 74 have also been offered an appointment.

Meanwhile, the Menton-Sablettes vaccination center has been increasing the number of people vaccinated and is now operational six days a week. To date, two-thirds of those aged 75 and over have received two injections of the vaccine. Almost 50% of Menton residents agaed 60 and over have received a first injection.

Nice deputy mayor Anthony Borre has given an update on the installation of emergency call points in Nice. Prior to the attack at the Notre Dame Basilica last year, 16 call points had been deployed at busy locations across the city. Follwing the attack, the decision was taken by mayor Christian Estrosi to also establish call points in front of every school. To date, 63 points are in service with a target of having 175 operational by this summer.

A new agreement has been signed ahead of the summer season to increase the resources available to rescuers off the coast of the Var. A partnership agreement was signed between CrossMed and the Var gendarmerie for the participation of the coastal nautical brigades of Le Lavandou and Roquebrune-sur-Argens for assistance and search and rescue at sea.

 

BUSINESS

The Office for National Statistics has said that the UK economy grew by 0.4% in February but the economy was still 7.8% smaller than a year earlier. Other figures from the ONS released today show that exports to the EU inceased by 46.6% in February, but that followed January's 42% fall partly caused by new post-Brexit trade regulations.

Defence contractor Babcock International has announced plans to cut 1,000 jobs. The company also said that a contract profitability and balance sheet review has identified impairments and charges totalling about £1.7 billion.

Retailer JD Sports has announced plans to open a new warehouse near Dublin because of Brexit related issues. Goods which the company imports into Britain from East Asia now incur tariffs when they are sent onward to its stores across Europe. In February company chairman Peter Cowgill told the BBC that Brexit had turned out to be "considerably worse" than he had feared and said that "all the spin that was put on it about being free trade and free movement has not been the reality."


SPORT

Tennis... Daniil Medvedev has withdrawn from the Monte Carlo Masters after testing positive for Covid-19 and has gone into isolation. He said that his "focus now is on recovery" and that he looks forward to getting back out on tour as soon and as safely as possible. Play at the tournament today includes those matches postponed because of the bad weather yesterday. French player Jeremy Chardy is though to the next round after defeating Alexander Bubik, as is compatriot Lucas Pouille who beat Guido Pella. British player Dan Evans beat Dusan Lajovic.

Rugby Union... Gregor Townsend, Steve Tandy, Robin McBryde and Neil Jenkins have all been named as coaches for the British and Irish Lions Tour. The first Test against South Africa is scheduled for 24 July and Warren Gatland is expected to name his playing squad next month.

Cricket... Jofra Archer is set to return to light training this week after having surgery on his hand. No decision has yet been made on when he can return to playing.

England womens team will play a one-off Test against India in June. A four-day match is scheduled to take place from 16-19 June, followed by three one-day internationals and three Twenty20 internationals. A limited-overs series against New Zealand is also planned for September.

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