The President of the Public Assistance Hospitals of Paris has said that he expects the English coronavirus variant to "gain the upper hand". Speaking to French media Professor Rémi Salomon said that in the Paris region the variant accounted for 15 to 20% of cases last week, up from 6% on 7 January and is growing exponentially. He added that the coronavirus measures in place at the moment will not be sufficient and called for a reconfinement incuding the closure of schools.
Increased police checks have been taking place in Nice to ensure compliance with coronavirus measures in shops. Checks include those on proper signeage, the distance between customers in queues and if the limits on the number of customers per square metre are being observed. Meanwhile, border police in the Alpes Maritimes have been carrying out controls. There were ️44 offences recorded for non-presentation of a PCR test. 618 people were checked at the airport with three fines issued for non-presentation of a PCR test and one non-medical admission.
A vaccination centre has opened at the Palais Nikaia in Nice. Deputy mayor Anthony Borre said that "even though the vaccine supply is insufficient", no appointments have been cancelled.
The Mayor of Antibes, Jean Leonetti, has given an update on covid-19 numbers in the municipality. To date, 2,175 vaccinations have been performed at the Antibes center but the mayor said that the campaign is currently hampered by the shortage of vaccines. The Antibes hospital has vaccinated 2,000 people, including nursing home residents and health workers over the age of 50. He said that Covid-19 had a low impact on the number of deaths with 887 being recorded in 2020 against 888 in 2018 and 2019. Since the start of the crisis, 30 deaths have been linked to Covid-19 in Antibes with an average age of 85.3 years.
A meeting has been held between Monaco government ministers including Minister of State HE Pierre Dartout and Secretary of State for European affairs in the French government Clément Beaune. The meeting was to discuss the draft association agreement between the European Union and Monaco which has been under negotiation since 2015. The meeting was an opportunity to take stock of the state of progress of the negotiations, the progress made in the draft agreement and the points remaining to be negotiated. The need to preserve Franco-Monegasque ties of friendship and cooperation was also discussed.
Initial estimates released today by EU statistics agency Eurostat suggest that the Eurozone economy contracted by 0.7% in the final quarter of last year from the previous quarter. For the whole of 2020 Eurozone GDP fell by an estimated 6.8%.
Energy company BP has reported a full year loss of $5.7 billion compared to a $10 billion profit in 2019. The company said the result was driven by lower oil and gas prices, significant exploration write-offs and refining margins and depressed demand. Chief Executive Bernard Looney described 2020 as being "a pivotal year for the company" as it launched a net zero ambition, set a new strategy to become an integrated energy company and created an offshore wind business in the US.
The Scotch Whisky Association has said that sales in the United States have fallen significantly as a result of tarrifs. The association said exports to the US have fallen by 35%, amounting to over half a billion pounds in lost exports. The tarriffs on imports into the US were initially introduced by former president Donald Trump in a dispute concerning state subsidies to the aerospace sector.
Rugby Union... This year's Six Nations tournament will go ahead as planned after the French sports minister said quarantine restrictions would be eased to allow it to take place. Organisers were awaiting confirmation that UK teams travelling to France and the French team re-entering France would be exempt from a seven-day quarantine requirement. Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu said matches would go ahead on schedule "in a bio-secure bubble, like the Tour de France".
Cricket... Australia have pulled out of their tour of South Africa. Cricket Australia said it had "no choice" but to postpone the series because of the health situation in South Africa. Australia had named their squad for the three test tour which was expected to take place this month and next month although the schedule hand't been confirmed.
Motorsports...Plans to build a new Formula 1 circuit in Rio de Janeiro have been abandoned. There had been opposition to the circuit, which was to have been built in a forest, on environmental grounds.
Tennis... Rafael Nadal has pulled out of Spain's opening ATP Cup tie in Australia with a lower back problem. However, Nadal said he hoped to play for Spain against Greece on Thursday. He's still expected to take part in the Australian Open which gets underway in Melbourne this coming Sunday.
Football.... The 71 year old president of Real Madrid, Florentino Perez, has tested positive for Covid-19 but currently has no symptoms, according to a statement from the club. Manager Zinedine Zidane tested positive last week.
There are four games in the Premier League tonight. Sheffield United play West Brom while Wolves play Arsenal, Manchester United host Southampton and Newcastle play Crystal Palace.