Evening Update Wednesday 1 April 2020

The French Minister of Labor, Muriel Pénicaud, has announced that partial unemployment had been requested by 337,000 companies for 3.6 million employees, as of yesterday evening. No cost was given by the minister, but reports suggest that it may be about 11 billion euros over the course of 3 months.

The French government has ordered one billion protective masks. A shipment of 12 million masks is expected to arrive during the course of today, following an earlier delivery on Monday.

Two new coronavirus testing centres have opened in Nice, bringing the total number of such centres in Nice to four. A prescription is require to access the testing facilities.

The Monaco government has announced the creation of an anonymous telephone support line to help Monegasques and residents during the confinement period. The service aims to offer comfort in the face of concerns and worries related to the epidemic. Callers will be able to share, in confidence, their concerns and their difficulties. Callers can speak either to Monegasque Red Cross volunteers trained in listening, or to a psychologists or, if necessary, to a doctor. The service is accessible by calling Monaco 92 05 55 00 every day from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The Monaco government has announced the resumption of construction work at the Larvotto beach. The government said that the decision to re-start works had been carefully considered. It said that special measures will be taken to optimize the safety and health conditions of all those who are going to be working on the site. They include the appointment of a "security auditor" who will verify that appropriate measures, such as the wearing of masks and gloves and separation between workers, are being complied with.

The town of La Garde in the Var has become the latest area of the Riviera to introduce a curfew. The town hall in La Garde said that the curfew would be in operation from 10pm to 5am, except for certain permitted exceptions. It will statrt tomorrow, Thursday April 2nd and will run until April 15th.

The City of Nice has recalled certain gels handed out to liberal nurses on Saturday which have been found to be ineffective. The gels, apparently donated by a wellwisher, were found to kill bacteria but not viruses. The city is replacing them with approved products.

Another Riviera event has been postponed. The Just'Rosé festival in Sanary in the Var announced today that it was postponing this year's festival which would have taken place from May 8 to 10. Alternative dates are currently under consideration. The first edition of the Vésubie marathon, which was to be held on Saturday May 23, has also been postponed, with organizers saying the next event will be held in May 2021.

The French government this morning announced the establishment of a service voucher system for 60,000 homeless people left completely destitute in full confinement, for a total amount of 15 million euros. The vouchers will allow them to have access to basic necessities.

In other news, an inquiry is underway after the body of a man was found in his home in Grasse. It's believed at this stage that the man may have been attacked by his Rotweiller dog.



New research by accountants in the UK suggests that between 800,000 and a million firms in the UK may have to close soon because of the Coronavirus crisis. It says that almost a fifth of all small and medium-sized businesses in the UK are unlikely to get the cash they need to survive the next four weeks, in spite of unprecedented support from the UK government.

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire has called for the establishment of a common EU fund to help economic recovery. In an interview with the Financial Times he said that the fund should be limited to a duration of five or ten years.

New Zealand’s finance minister, Grant Robertson, has said that the country faces an economic shock “a quantum greater” than that of the global financial crisis. He also predicted that unemployment figures may exceed those of the financial crisis.

Shares in the big UK banks fell earlier today after they agreed to cancel dividend payments. The Bank of England welcomed the decision to suspend the payments to shareholders and also urged the banks not to pay bonuses to senior staff.

A widely watched survey of purchasing managers in the Eurozone has shown a sharp contraction in March and recorded its lowest reading since 2012. The figure recorded for France showed and 86 month low. A similar survey of UK manufactuers also showed contraction.


Tennis....Wimbledon has been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July. The entire grass-court season has been abandoned and there will be no professional tennis anywhere in the world until at least 13 July. it's the first time Wimbledon has been cancelled since the Second World War.  

Football...All Champions League and Europa League matches have been suspended "until further notice" by Uefa because of the coronavirus pandemic. All national team games scheduled for June have also been postponed, including play-off matches for Euro 2020, which has been moved to 2021, and qualifying matches for the Women's Euro 2021. The decision follows a videoconference meeting of Uefa's member associations earlier today.

Premier League clubs and players have faced criticism from politicians for not sacrificing their salaries during the crisis. Julian Knight, the chair of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport committee condemned the actions of some Premier League clubs, who have put non-playing staff on temporary leave. Tottenham, Newcastle and Norwich have opted to access the UK government’s job retention scheme during the pandemic. Knight said that it "exposes the crazy economics in English football and the moral vacuum at its centre.” mayor of London Sadiq Khan told the BBC that top-flight players should be the ones to “carry the burden”.

Motorsports...Silverstone and Formula 1 say they will decide by the end of this month whether the British Grand Prix can be held as planned on 17-19 July. In a joint statement Silverstone and F1 said they were "in close dialogue" on the feasibility of going ahead on the original date.



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