Evening Update Tuesday 25 January 2022

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that nine million people could lose their vaccination pass on February 15 if they don't take action. The rules for the vaccination pass change on that date, with the time to have had a booster dose being reduced from seven months to four months after the last injection. The Health Minister said that there are "millions" of appointment slots available and those affected by the change shouldn't wait until the last moment.

The sale of Covid-19 antigen self-tests is being allowed  in large French retailers until mid-February. The sale of self-tests has been authorized outside pharmacies on an exceptional basis until February 15 by a decree published in the Official Journal today. The sale of such self-tests was until now limited to pharmacies.

Pfizer and BioNTech have initiated a study to evaluate an Omicron COVID-19 vaccine. The study involves up to 1,420 heathy adults from 18 to 55 years of age. CEO and Co-founder of BioNTech Professor Ugur Sahin said that "vaccines continue to offer strong protection against severe disease caused by Omicron. Yet emerging data indicate vaccine-induced protection against infection and mild to moderate disease wanes more rapidly than was observed with prior strains”. He said that the study is part of an approach to develop a variant-based vaccine that achieves a similar level of protection against Omicron as it did with earlier variants but with longer duration of protection.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex has announced help with rising fuel costs for certain people who drive as part of their work. He said that he has asked Economy Minister Bruno LeMaire to increase the "barème kilométrique" or mileage scale by 10%. The mileage scale applies to certain people who drive as part of their professional activity. The Prime Minister said that it will be increased "to better reflect" price increases. 

Three people have been charged in conection with the death of a man at Christmas in the Las Planas district of Nice. The three have reportedly been charged with offences including murder in an organized gang and weapons offences.

About twenty firefighters intervened to fight a house fire yesterday in Grasse. 17 people were evacuated from the building and no casualties were reported.

The Monaco government's statistics agency IMSEE has published its latest report on the real estate market in the Principality. It said that the price per square metre shows a clear increase in 2021 and for the first time exceeds the symbolic amount of €50,000 to approach €52,000. It has increased by nearly 75% in 10 years. As regards the diferent areas of Monaco, the most expensive area was Monte-Carlo with Fontvielle not far behind. The lowest priced area was the Jardin Exotique. IMSEE said that the number of transactions in Monaco-Ville was too low to be able to calculate the price per square metre.

 

BUSINESS

Consumer goods company Unilever has announced plans to cut 1,500 jobs as part of an overhaul of its management and structure. The company said that it is making changes to its organisational model to make it a simpler, more category-focused business. The job losses will not affect shopfloor jobs in factories. Unilever said that its operations will be organised around five distinct Business Groups: Beauty & Wellbeing, Personal Care, Home Care, Nutrition, and Ice Cream. Each Business Group will be fully responsible and accountable for their strategy, growth, and profit delivery globally.

In the UK, Royal Mail has announced plans to cut 700 management jobs as part of its business transformation programme. Regulator Ofcom has previously said that it was concerned about delays to deliveries. Royal Mail said that staff absence peaked at about 15,000 in early January due to Omicron but the situation is now improving.


SPORT

Tennis... Rafael Nadal is through to the Australian Open semi-finals after defeating Denis Shapovalov. After the match, Shapovalov said that he thought the Spanish player was given preferential treatment by umpires, which Nadal denied. Matteo Berrettini beat French player Gael Monfils in a hard fought match which lasted almost four hours. Ashleigh Barty will face Madison Keys in the womens semi-finals after defeating Jessica Pegula 6-2  6-0. Keys defeated French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova 6-3  6-2.

Football.... Manchester United have agreed a loan deal  for Anthony Martial with Sevilla. He'll move to the Spanish club for the rest of the season, subject to a medical. Reports say that there is no option to buy and no loan fee but Sevilla will cover his wages.

Fifa has sent its "deepest condolences" to families and friends of the victims of a crush outside a stadium at the Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon. At least eight people were killed and 38 injured as fans attempted to gain access to the stadium.

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