Evening Update Tuesday 5 January 2021

The French Health Minister has said that 300 coronavirus vaccination centres across France will have supplies of the vaccine by next week, with the figure rising to 500 to 600 by the end of January. Speaking this morning Olivier Veran said that the levels of coronavirus injections in France would be brought up to those seen in neighbouring countries. He said that authorities are planning to vaccinate everyone over the age of 75 who is not in a nursing home by the end of January. Speaking this afternoon Prime Minster Jean Castex dismissed the controversy surrounding delays in the vaccine rollout saying that it "helps absolutely no one and brings no solution". Jean Castex and Olivier Veran are expected to announce further details of vaccine deployment on Thursday. The Minister of Health also revealed this morning that so far France had seen about one dozen actual or suspected cases of the new coronavirus variant which has recently become widespread in the UK.

Weekly coronavirus figures for the hospital in Antibes have been released. In the week from December 28 to January 3 there were 33 hospitalized patients including 4 in intensive care. There were 4 deaths of patients, aged from 75 to 90 years old.

One person has been arrested in connection with the firing of gunshots in the Moulins area of Nice. The deputy mayor of Nice, Anthony Borre, said that images had been recovered from the municipality's cameras which would be made available to investigators.

Jean Castex has been in Toulon today for the signing of the first State-Region Future Contract. The regional economic stimulus agreement is worth 5.1 billion euros and covers projects in the South Region from 2021-2027. Elected officials from throughout the region were present for the signing, including Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi and the President of the South Region Renauld Muselier. The funds will be directed to many areas of economic activity including energy transition and air quality, sustainable mobility, waste, urban renewal, innovation, tourism, health, heritage and culture. Christian Estrosi said that 2 billion euros is allocated to the Nice Cote d'Azur Metropolis and there is 800 million euros for Nice.

 A court in Draguignan has sentenced two people to prison for drug smuggling. The Moroccan and Spanish nationals were stopped by customs officers at the Capitou toll booths on the A8 near Frejus on December 30.  195 kilogrammes of canabis resin and several thousand euros in cash were discovered by the officers.

The French Interior Ministry has reminded people of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning during cold weather. The ministry says that the gas is invisible, odorless, non-irritating and is very difficult to detect. It says that steps to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning include following the instructions for the use of heating equipment and having such equipment regularly checked and serviced by a professional.

 

BUSINESS

The UK government has unveiled support measures for businesses after new lockdown measures were announced for England and Scotland yesterday. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that a grant of up to 9,000 pounds would be given to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The measures will cost the government 4 billion pounds. A further 594 million pounds will be available to support businesses not covered by the new measures.

UK fashion retailer Next has said that sales gained in its online business compensated for almost all those lost in its retail stores in the nine weeks to 26 December. It said that the number of active online customers has grown significantly during the year and, as at 26 December, its online customer base was up 24% on last year. In its trading statement released today Next said that overall full price sales in the nine weeks to 26 December were down 1.1% on last year and much better than the expected drop of 8% it forecast in October.


SPORT

Cricket... South Africa have beaten Sri Lanka in three days in the second Test. South Africa won by 10 wickets to take the series 2-0. Sri Lanka's next opponents are England with the two-Test series beginning on 14 January.

Meanwhile, the England squad have been re-tested for coronavirus in Sri Lanka after Moeen Ali returned a positive test yesterday. All players and staff in the touring party have had a lateral flow test and PCR test with results expected early tomorrow.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson has scored a double century on the third day of the second Test against Pakistan. The New Zealand captain scored 238 from 364 balls. Pakistan trail New Zealand by 354 runs with 9 wickets remaining.

Football... Forty English Premier League players and club staff have tested positive for coronavirus over a one week period. The Premier League said that between 28 and 31 December there were 28 new positive tests and 12 more were found between 1 and 3 January. The previous high was 18 positive test results in the week from 21 to 27 December. The League said that it  continues to have confidence in its Covid-19 protocols.

Charlton Athletic have signed Ronnie Schwartz from Danish club FC Midtjylland on a two and a half year contract.

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