Evening Update Tuesday 4 May 2021

French health minister Olivier Veran has said that he "sincerely hopes" that the wearing of face masks will no longer be mandatory this summer. Speaking to French media this morning he said that he can't give a date at the moment but hopes that enough people will have been vaccinated by the summer to make it possible. The obligation to wear a mask outside in the Alpes Maritimes region is already being eased as from today. It is now no longer obligatory to wear a mask in urban green spaces such as parks, gardens and landscaped areas, along waterways and on the coast including beaches, or at the edges of water bodies such as ponds and lakes in the department.

The Prefect of Var has congratulated all the teams mobilized on vaccine administration in the department after a vaccination target was reached for the month of April. In April more than 200,000 people in the Var received an injection against Covid-19. So far, a total of 400,000 people have received a first injection in the Var.

Further details have been released regarding the Monaco Grand Prix later this month. 7,500 spectators will be permitted to attend on the day of the race, Sunday 23 May, which is 40% of capacity. The same number will be allowed each day on Thursday 20th and Saturday 22nd. On Friday 21 May, spectator numbers will be limited to 3,000 people in two tribunes. Tickets will be free of charge for the Friday.

The 4th edition of the Monaco E-Prix is being held in the Principality this Saturday, May 8. Tickets will be free of charge for the E-Prix but will be limited to residents, school pupils, students and employees of the Principality, as well as to people staying in a hotel in Monaco and to people who have an invitation issued by the Automobile Club de Monaco. Capacity will be limited to 6,500 people seated in the stands, which is one third capacity. Physical distancing, the wearing of masks and hand hygiene will be mandatory. Ticket collection points will be located on the Promenade Honoré II as well as at the Monaco Tourist Office on Boulevard des Moulins, which will both be open on Friday May 7 (9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.) and Saturday May 8 (6:30 a.m. - end of the event).

The French National Police have warned residents of St Raphael to beware of criminals posing as police officers. Two men in civilian clothes have been showing a police identity card and claiming to be investigating burglaries. The National Police advise people to check all identity cards carefully and to call 17 if in doubt.

Elected officials across France have paid triute to the work of firefighters on International Firefighters Day, which takes place on 4 May each year. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin expressed his thanks to France's 253,000 volunteer, professional and military firefighters. Locally, Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said that he salutes "the heroism of the firefighters who risk their lives for us every day". Alpes Maritimes deputy Eric Ciotti said that he is thinking today of Bruno and Loïc, two firefighters who lost their lives during Storm Alex.

 

BUSINESS

Net mortgage borrowing in the UK was the highest in March since comparable records began in April 1993. According to data released today by the Bank of England, there were 82,700 Mortgage approvals for house purchase in March, which is lower than the recent peak of 103,100 in November 2020, but higher than in February 2020. The data also showed that individuals continued making net repayments of consumer credit such as credit cards while households continued depositing significant amounts, with an additional £16.2 billion placed on deposit with financial institutions in March.

Meanwhile, new figures released by research company IHS Markit have pointed to a near-record expansion in the UK manufacturing sector, with growth driven by stronger output and new order volumes. However, it said that inflationary pressures continue to build amid material shortages.

Pandora, one of the world's largest jewellery companies, has said that it will switch to selling only laboratory made diamonds and will no longer sell mined diamonds. Pandora's chief executive, Alexander Lacik, told the BBC that the change was part of a broader sustainability drive. The company said that it aims to make diamond jewellery accessible to a wider audience. Pandora Brilliance, its first lab-created diamond collection, is initially being introduced in the UK with a global launch in other key markets expected in 2022.

 

SPORT

Football... Jose Mourinho has been appointed manager of Roma from the start of next season. He'll replace Paulo Fonseca, who is leaving at the end of this season. Mourinho has signed a three-year deal with the club.

Uefa's executive committee has confirmed that teams taking part in this summer's European Championship will be allowed to select a 26 player squad instead of the usual 23. The change has been made to reduce the pressure on players after a disrupted club season because of the pandemic and to help clubs in their selection of players if outbreaks occur during the tournament.

Manchester City will be bidding to reach the Champions League final tonight when they play Paris Saint Germain in the second leg of the semi-final. City lead 2-1 from the first leg. Kickoff is at 9 pm.

Cricket.... The Indian Premier League has been suspended after an increase in coronavirus cases among players. In a statement, the league said it had unanimously decided to postpone the season after an emergency meeting. It said that the decision was taken keeping the safety, health and wellbeing of all stakeholders in mind.

 

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