Evening Update Tuesday 27 April 2021

French Minister of Health Olivier Veran has said that no case of the Indian coronavirus variant has been detected in mainland France. Speaking this afternoon after visiting the Regional Health Agency for the Ile-de-France, he said that deliveries of vaccines had increased and had exceeded expectations, opening up new opportunities for eligible people to be vaccinated. He added that "the rule is that no dose of vaccine is thrown away" and he invited directors of vaccination centres to contact people for vaccination if necessary.

French Minister of Higher Education has said that the government is preparing for a 100% return to face to face teaching at universities from the start of the new academic year in September. Speaking on French television this morning Frederique Vidal said that health protocols are expected to be tested over the next few weeks. She said that if the health situation didn't permit 100% face to face teaching, a fallback of 50% would be considered.

President Macron is holding a meeting via videoconference this evening with a group of local mayors. Reports say that the meeting will discuss various matters including possible reopenings and the vaccination strategy.

The municipality of Antibes Juans-les-Pins has released details of coronavirus cases at the hosital in Antibes. For the period from April 19 to 25, there were 24 hospitalized patients including 7 in intensive care. There were no deaths in the period. The results of tests carried out at Fort Carré during the week were also published. Out of 1,567 tests performed on symptomatic subjects and priority contacts 5.6% were positive.

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened an investigation into a party held in a park in the 19th arrondissement of the city at the weekend. Videos show a large crowd gathering in the park despite coronavirus restrictions.

The number of Category A job seekers in France has fallen by 0.4% in the first quarter of the year. Category A jobseekers are unemployed and are required to look for a job. However, the figure is 6.3% higher than a year ago. The number of Category B and C jobseekers, who have a reduced activity, was slightly higer than the previous quarter and was 4.7% higher than at the same point in 2020.

The Elysee has said that President Macron will attend the funeral of the police officer killed in Rambouillet on the outskirts of Paris last week. The private funeral will be held on Thurday and a national tribute ceremony attended by Prime Minister Jean Castex is expected to be held on Friday.

Three people have been taken into custody in an anti-drugs operation in the Moulins district of Nice this morning. 10kg of cannabis resin, cocaine and two handguns were also seized in the raid carried out by the national police.

The municipal police in Nice have seized 26 abandoned cars in the Ariane district. Police have increased such operations across Nice resulting in an increase in the number of parking spaces available to the public.

A temporary blood donation facility has been set up in the Place Massena in Nice. Mayor Christian Estrosi has encouraged the public to donate blood as reserves have been depleted during the pandemic. The facility is open from 1 p.m. to 6.30 p.m. until 30 April, but an appointment must first be made because of sanitary measures in place.


BUSINESS

Energy company BP has reported a profit of $2.6 billion on a replacement cost basis for the first quarter of 2021. CEO Bernard Looney said that the quarter "demonstrates what we mean by performing while transforming". He said that the company had "delivered disciplined strategic progress" including building a high-quality offshore wind business and developing its electrification strategy.

Consumer confidence in Italy has risen in March compared to February according to a new survey. The poll by statistics agency ISTAT also showed rising confidence by businesses. The Italian government has eased some coronavirus restrictions this week.

Hotel and restaurant operator Whitbread has reported a full year fall in sales of 71.4% year-on-year reflecting the impact of coronavirus restrictions and the closure of its hotels and restaurants for substantial periods of the year. It recorded a loss of over one billion pounds for the year. However, it said that in the UK, over 92% of its hotels are currently open, adding that strong demand is expected for ‘staycations’ in UK tourist destinations throughout the summer. Whitbread owns brands including Premier Inn, Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.


SPORT

Football... Bayern Munich have announced that Julian Nagelsmann is joining the club as manager on a five-year deal from 1 July. He's currently with RB Leipzig.

The first Champions League semi-final is taking place this evening, with Real Madrid playing Chelsea.

Rugby Union...Joe Launchbury is set to miss this summer's British and Irish Lions tour of South Africa. He suffered a serious knee injury in Wasps' match against Bath which will require surgery.

Tennis... Wimbledon has announced plans to abandon its traditional rest day on the middle Sunday of the tournament as from 2022. The change will mean that the tournament will be played over 14 consecutive days. Organisers also said they are hoping to have a minimum of 25% capacity for spectators at this year's event.

Cricket... Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said that Australian cricketers who are competing in the Indian Premier League will not be prioritised for a return home. Australia has suspended direct flights from India because of the large number of Covid-19 cases in the country. Morrison said that the players "travelled there privately under those arrangements, this wasn't part of an Australia tour."

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