The French Ministry of Health has said that only about one quarter of the AstraZeneca vaccines that it has received have actually been used. The Ministry said that as of last Sunday evening, only 24 to 25 per cent of stocks had been consumed, compared to almost 70 per cent on average of all the vaccines available. However, it added that consumption should increase after a distribution to GPs last Thursday and yesterday's announcement by Health Minister Olivier Veran that the AstraZeneca vaccine will be available to people aged 65 to 75 years of age who also have comorbidities.
The French High Authority of Health has said that staff at pharmacies should be allowed to adminsiter all coronavirus vaccines. Until now, pharmacies have only been allowed to administer the AstraZeneca vaccine. President of the South Region, Renaud Muselier welcomed the decision and said that French regions have been asking for this "essential reinforcement" since January 6. He pointed out that there is on average one pharmacy for every 3,100 inhabitants in France. The High Authority of Health also recommended that nurses and midwives be allowed to administer all coronavirus vaccines. The new recommendations still have to be be approved by the government before coming into force.
Two intensive care patients have been transferred by helicopter today from the hospital in Dunkerque to Le Havre hospital in Normandy. Seventy nine transfers of intensive care patients have already taken place in February from the Dunkerque hospital to other establishments in the region, but today's transfers are the first of intensive care patients transferred to establishments outside the region. The Regional Health Agency said that today's transfers come at a time when the resuscitation and critical care services in the region are not currently completely saturated, in order to anticipate any future difficulties in the care of patients. The incidence rate of the virus in the Dunkerque area has now risen to over 1,000 people per 100,000 of the population.
The Prefect of the Var has reminded employees who are teleworking that there's a toll-free number available which is dedicated to supporting employees who feel particularly isolated or have difficulty carrying out their activity by teleworking. The number is a national number, available throughout France, not just in the Var. It's 0 800 130 000. It's free and anonymous.
In Menton, the "Eating on the go" scheme is being extended and expanded. As of March 8, 21 chalets will now be welcoming participating restaurateurs serving food from the collection of chalets on the seafront from Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
An operation got underway near St Tropez this morning to remove a yacht which has been stranded on rocks since May 2019. Local elected officials including mayor Sylvie Siri were present to see the start of the operation which included the implementation of anti-pollution prevention measures around the wreckage.
Volvo Cars has said that it will sell only electric vehicles by 2030. The company's chief technology officer, Henrik Green, said that "there is no long-term future for cars with an internal combustion engine." Volvo is also planning to invest heavily in online sales and simplifying its products.
Annual inflation in the Eurozone is expected to be 0.9% in February, a stable figure compared to January, according to a flash estimate from Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union. Eurostat said that food, alcohol & tobacco are expected to have the highest annual rate in February but energy costs are expected to have fallen.
The number of people without jobs in Germany has risen slightly in February. 2.75 million people were out of work. The unemployment rate was 6%.
Football.... UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has given his backing for the UK and Republic of Ireland to launch a joint bid to host the 2030 World Cup. A feasibility study is looking into the possibility of bidding. The formal process begins next year. The football associations of England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland say they are "delighted" with the government's commitment.
Former Liverpool and Scotland forward Ian St John has died at the age of 82. He later enjoyed a successful career as a TV pundit, teaming up with Jimmy Greaves to host the popular 'Saint and Greavsie' show which ran until 1992. Liverpool said that they are "deeply saddened" by the loss of a "true Anfield legend".
Rugby Union....Ireland captain Johnny Sexton has agreed a one year contract extension with the Irish Rugby Football Union. The 35 year old took on the Ireland captaincy in January 2020 and the new deal will take him to the end of the 2021-22 season.