Evening Update Wednesday 15 December 2021

French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said that a health defence council meeting will take place on Friday in order to consider possible "additional measures" to fight the spread of Covid-19. Speaking this afternoon before a committe of the National Assembly he said that the fifth wave is "possibly the strongest we have seen since the beginning of the pandemic". He said that the next few days and weeks would "be decisive" but added that a "form of peak" in cases may have been reached, saying that cases had stagnated for four days, but it was not possible to know the evolution of the numbers.

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said earlier today that there could be 4,000 people in intensive care in French hospitals around the Christmas holiday period, a figure also mentioned by Olivier Veran this afternoon. Speaking after a Council of Ministers meeting Gabriel Attal said that the pressure on hospitals will continue to increase in the coming weeks and that the incidence rate has exceeded 500 cases per 100,000 people for two days nationally, which he said is a record.

The Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur Regional Health Agency has released its weekly update on the Covid-19 situation in the region. As at 14 December, 1,036 people were hospitalized, which is an increase of 232 from the previous week, 352 people were in intensive care, which is an increase of 91, and 112 people died in hospital from Covid-19 in the week.

The SNCF have said that there will be a reduction in TGV services in the south-east region of France this weekend. The organization said that the "very degraded" service is a result of the breakdown of negotiations with unions.

Meanwhile, the French government has announced that about ten night train lines will be put into service by 2030. An investment of at least 800 million euros in rolling stock will be made. The news follows the inauguration of the Paris-Nice night train by Prime Minister Jean Castex last May. In addition, a total of 9,200 kilometers of small railway lines will be brought back into service by central govenment and the regions by 2030.

The Principality of Monaco has won a prestigious award for the Monapass app, an all-in-one mobility application launched as part of the Extended Monaco program. The Principality was awarded the Digital Mobility Prize at the 30th VRT Mobilities Awards in Paris which brought together more than 350 manufacturers, start-ups, public bodies and operators.


BUSINESS

Inflation in the UK has hit a ten year high. The Office for National Statistics said that the Consumer Prices Index rose by 5.1% in the 12 months to November, up from 4.2% in October. It said that more expensive fuel, energy, clothing and second hand cars were large factors in the infation figure. The cost of raw materials also rose significantly.

Retail sales in the United States grew by a less than expected 0.3% in November, down from 1.8% in October. Sales at department stores as well as electronics and applicance stores declined. Analysts suggested that the weaker than anticipated figure may have partly resulted from consumers doing their Christmas shopping earlier than usual.

International Airlines Group has announced that it doesn't plan to proceed with its purchase of Spanish airline Air Europa. The deal was being investigated by competition authorities in the EU and the UK.

 

SPORT

Football... Barcelona and former Manchester City player Sergio Aguero has announced his retirement from football. The 33-year-old was taken to hospital on 30 October after experiencing "chest discomfort" during a match and said today that he is retiring because of his health.

Cricket... James Anderson and Stuart Broad have been included in England's 12-man squad for the second Ashes Test which gets underway at 5am French time tomorrow. Mark Wood has been rested for the Test.

Rugby Union... It's been announced that England will play New Zealand and South Africa in next year's Autumn Nations Series. They'll meet the All Blacks on 19 November and South Africa a week later. They will also be playing Argentina on 6 November and Japan on 12 November.

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