Coastal areas of the Alpes Maritimes are to be put in lockdown once again this weekend. French government spokesperson Gabrial Attal made the announcement after health defence council and council of ministers meetings in Paris this morning. He said that an evaluation of the situation would be made during the course of next week to consider lifting the measure. He added that the weekend lockdowns were having an effect with the incidence rate falling by 22% in one week. However, he said that both the incidence rate and the occupation of intensive care beds remains high and it was for these reasons that the decision was taken to put another weekend lockdown in place.
He added that the hospital situation is particularly worrying in the Ile-de-France, the Hauts-de-France and the South and that transfers of hospital patients from the Ile-de-France will take place in the coming days. However, the incidence rate and the number of infected people are "starting to decrease". He said that currently more than four million people in France had received a dose of vaccine. Health Minister Olivier Veran is expected to hold a press conference tomorrow to give an update on the health situation.
More than 30,000 vaccinations were carried out in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region in just two days last weekend. The Regional Health agency said that 61 vaccination centres were open. 10,896 vaccinations were carried out in the Alpes-Maritimes over the weekend and 5, 074 in the Var.
The French government has launched a website which allows students to obtain free psychological advice. The website is the result of an intiative announced by President Macron in January to permit young people to obtain easier access to a psychologist or psychiatrist if they need it. The website address is https://santepsy.etudiant.gouv.fr/
Meanwhile, the PACA Region and the university presidents of the South Region and the grandes écoles, have written to Health Minister Olivier Veran asking for vaccination to be offered to 18-24 year olds. President of the South Region, Renaud Muselier said that 17 million people who are at risk would be then properly vaccinated. In the letter, the organizations said that the living conditions of young people, especially students, "have seriosly deteriorated" since the arrival of the coronavirus.
A major fire at a data centre in Strasbourg has affected the operation of a number of French websites today, including some operated by the government. Reports say that over one hundred firefighters were mobilised in extinguishing the fire which broke out in the early hours of this morning at the facility in the Port du Rhin area east of the city near the German border. No injuries were reported.
The Var Prefecture has published details of the uptake of financial aid to buy a greener vehicle in the department. There have been 3,170 "conversion bonuses" granted and 1,878 "ecological bonuses". The conversion bonus, of up to 5,000 euros, is financial assistance for the purchase of a new or used vehicle in exchange for the scrapping of an old vehicle. The ecological bonus is financial assistance offered for the purchase of a new electric, plug-in hybrid or hydrogen-powered vehicle and can go up to a maximum of 7,000 euros for an individual. The two bonuses can be combined in certain circumstances.
UK hospitality company The Restaurant Group has reported that total sales dropped by 57% in 2020 as many of its sites were closed. The company, which owns brands including Wagamama and Frankie & Benny's is aiming to raise £175m from its shareholders. The company said that the pandemic had presented "enormous challenges" for the sector.
Cathay Pacific Airways has reported an annual loss of $2.8bn for 2020. The company made a profit of $220m in 2019. The 2020 results were largely due to a sharp downturn in travel during the pandemic and major restructuring costs.
Danish toymaker Lego has reported a 13% rise in revenue for 2020 to 43.7 billion danish krona, which is about 5.8 billion euros. The company said it had begun to see the benefits of prior investment, particularly in the areas of e-commerce and product innovation.
Football... Robert Page will continue to deputise for Wales manager Ryan Giggs for their three games in March. Wales begin their World Cup qualifying away to Belgium on the 24th and then are against Mexico in a friendly on 27th and the Czech Republic on 30 March.
Norwegian Hege Riise has been named as head coach of Team GB's women's football team for this summer's Tokyo Olympics. She is currently the interim England womens coach.
There are two more Champions League round of 16 second leg ties tonight. Liverpool host RB Leipzig leading 2-0 from the first leg and Paris St Germain lead Barcelona 4-1 heading into the second leg.
Rugby League... Australian player Cameron Smith has announced his retirement at the age of 37. He played in a record 430 National Rugby League games at club level and also represented Australia in 56 Tests.
A clear evening
Tomorrow - overcast in the morning, sunny intervals in the afternoon. Windy in the Var. Highs of 16 in the Alpes-Maritimes and 18 in the Var
Friday - similar to Thursday but windy in both the Var and the Alpes-Maritimes