Evening Update Wednesday 1 December 2021

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has said that a negative Covid-19 test of less than 48 hours will be required for all travellers arriving in France from outside the European Union, irrespective of their vaccination status. As regards travellers arriving from other EU countries, he said people who have not been vaccinated must produce a negative test of less than 24 hours. He said that the health situation is worsening very quickly and the government's concern was what he called "the meteoric growth" in detected Covid-19 cases. He said that thirteen suspected cases of the new Omicron variant have been detected in France, which are in the process of being sequenced.

Gabriel Attal also announced that flights from ten countries in southern Africa will resume as from Saturday. However, he said there would be "extremely strict and drastic supervision" established for those flights. Only French and other EU state nationals would be admitted as well as several specialist categories of travellers. A mandatory test will have to be taken on arrival. If the result is negative, a seven day isolation period will be required, if it is positive the isloation period will be ten days.

EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has said that doses of the childrens version of the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine will be available in the EU from 13 December. She added that  "we are now facing a double challenge in the fight against COVID-19 - the rapid resurgence of Delta across Europe and a new variant of concern, the Omicron variant. She said that full vaccination and boosters "provide the strongest protection there is and they are available now".

Locally, the vaccination centre at Cap3000 shopping centre in St Laurent du Var re-opened this morning. The facility, which is operated by Alpes Maritimes firefighters is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week, without an appointment.

The Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has announced that he is joining a new political party. He will join the Horizons party of former French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe, who was in Nice today for the announcement. Christian Estrosi was formerly a member of the Republicans, a party which he left earlier this year.

The French government has said that payments to support low-income households in paying their energy bills will be made shortly. The 100 euros energy check, issued to the 5.8 million French beneficiaries, will be sent by mail to their homes, in a phased manner according to the regions or departments. Cheques to those eleigible in the PACA region are scheduled to be dispatched from December 20 to 22.


BUSINESS

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said that the strong pick-up in economic activity seen earlier this year is losing momentum in many advanced economies. After a peak at the end of the year, it said the global rebound is expected to slow, returning global growth to its pre-pandemic rates but the virus is adding uncertainty to the health situation and risks prolonging disruptions.

A widely watched survey of economic activity indicates that UK manufacturers continued to face a challenging operating environment in November, as severely stretched supply chains disrupted production schedules and drove up input prices to the greatest extent in the 30-year history of the survey. However, the survey of purchasing managers by IHS Markit still rose to a three-month high. A similar survey in France posted its first increase for six months as trends improved in output, new orders and employment but "intense supply-related constraints" continued.


SPORT

Tennis.... British player Johanna Konta has announced her retirement from professional tennis. The 30 year old reached the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2017 as well as the last four at the 2016 Australian Open and the 2019 French Open.

Rugby Union.. Cardiff have said that they still plan to play their Champions Cup matches against Toulouse and Harlequins despite many of their players having to isolate. 42 Cardiff players and staff are due to leave South Africa tomorrow and will then have to quarantine for 10 days. Cardiff therefore intend to field a team comprised of academy players, reserves and Wales internationals who did not travel to South Africa.

Football.. In the Premier League this evening,  Southampton are at home to Leicester, Watford play Chelsea, it's West Ham against Brighton, Wolverhampton play Burnley, Aston Villa against Manchester City and Everton play Liverpool.

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