Evening Update Tuesday 26 October 2021

French Minister of Health Olivier Veran has announced that the governement has ordered 50,000 doses of a Covid-19 treatment. Speaking during a hearing in the senate today he said that the doses of Molnupiravir, manufactured by Merck, will be delivered at the end of November or the beginning of December. Merck said earlier this month that in tests the drug had reduced the risk of hospitalization or death by approximately 50 Percent compared to a placebo for patients with mild or moderate COVID-19.

In its weekly update released today the Regional Health Agency has said that in the PACA Region 275 people were hospitalized with Covid-19, which is down 4 on the previous week, 171 people were in intensive care, which is down 9, and 20 people lost their lives because of the virus.

A search is underway for a missing hiker in the hills above Monaco. The 80 year old man set off on a hike yesterday and hasn't been heard from since. Searches are concentrated in the area around Peille and Mont Agel. A helicopter, drones and a police dog team are reportedly involved in the search.

Two people have been injured in a shooting in Aubagne in the Bouches-du-Rhône. Investigations are continuing into the incident which occurred yesterday evening. One of the injured is in a serious condition in hospital in Marseille.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has expressed his "full support" for police officers who were fired upon whilst carrying out their duties in Lyon last night. The mayor stated that "to attack the police is to attack the Republic".

Two motorcyclists have been found to be doing 150 and 133 km per hour on a road in the Var, between the Dom Forest and Bormes-les-Mimosas. Another vehicle was doing 132 km per hour on a secondary road where the speed limit is 80. During a two hour control by police on the road yesterday 7 speeding tickets were issued including 3 licence withdrawals and one person was found to be driving under the influence of narcotics.

Leading players in the world of retail and e-commerce are meeting in Monaco for One-to-One Monaco which opened its doors today for 3 days of B to B meetings. The event is celebrating it's tenth anniversary this year.

 

BUSINESS

Heathrow Airport has had its first full quarter of passenger growth since 2019 in its third quarter as travel restrictions eased and testing requirements were simplified. However, passenger numbers in the quarter only recovered to 28% of pre-pandemic levels. The airport said that traffic is not expected to fully recover until at least 2026. Heathrow has lost £3.4bn cumulatively since the start of the pandemic and the airport said that it remains loss making today but added that it has £4.1bn of cash and has the financial strength to be able to continue until the market recovers.

Premier Inn owner Whitbread has said that pre-tax losses in the half year to 29 August fell from £724.7m last year to £19.3m. However, this was still well down on the profits of almost £220 million for the same period before the pandemic.  The company said that its operating environment during the summer and into autumn has been "challenging", largely as a result of high occupancy levels, supply chain issues and a tighter labour supply in the hospitality sector. Earlier this month the company announced a pay increase for its UK-based hourly-paid workers. The company said it was also recruiting 2,000 roles, including positions in housekeeping, reception and kitchens.

 

SPORT

Cricket.. South Africa have beaten West Indies by eight wickets in the T20 World Cup. It's the second consecutive heavy defeat suffered by the West Indies team, having being bowled out for just 55 by England a few days ago.

Football... US businessman Chris Kirchner has said he is interested in taking over Derby County. The club has been in administration since 22 September. In an open letter Kirchner said that he was impressed with the attitude of manager Wayne Rooney and the rest of the coaching staff and players, and plans to be at the club's game against Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.

Former Rangers, Everton and Scotland manager Walter Smith has died at the age of 73. His final season in charge at Rangers was in 2011.

Cycling...  The UK government has said that it plans to bid to host the 2026 Tour de France Grand Depart. Funding for the bid is expected to be announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in his budget tomorrow. The last Grand Depart in the UK was in Leeds in 2014.

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