Evening Update Wednesday 17 February 2021

Following Health and Defence Council meetings this afternoon, France has announced it will not be making any changes in current restrictions, which will remain in place until at least March 8th. Despite the virus becoming more stable, with new case numbers slowly in decline, the government say the situation remains highly fragile, and now is not the time for change.

Locally the number of patients being admitted to hospital is down slightly, with ten fewer admissions in the Alpes-Maritimes yesterday. However, the incidence rate is still the highest in France, at 493 cases per hundred thousand. If that rises to over 500, it could trigger an EU recommendation to place the entire area in quarantine.

Worldwide, the World Health Organisation is reporting a fall of 16% in reported cases, with the number of new deaths down 10% on the previous week. In other good news, the EU have announced a deal to acquire an additional 300 million doses of the Moderna vaccine. This is in addition to the first contract agreed for  150 million doses.

There has been an easing of health controls for residents of Monaco entering France. The latest rules allow travel within the Alpes-Maritimes and the Var for up to 24 hours, without requiring a negative Covid test. The same rules apply for French residents of those areas travelling into Monaco. Travel between all other areas of France and Monaco still require a negative PCR test of less than 72 hours. The Princely Government is in continuing dialogue with French authorities to lift the 24-hour deadline, which limits travel to Monaco's local catchment areas.

Monaco’s Director of Public Safety has revealed street crime in the Principality is significantly down, from just under one hundred cases in 2019 to only sixty cases across all of last year. Monsieur Marangoni said 2020 was a particularly busy year for the police force, enforcing Covid health rules, including 24,415 control checks between March and December.

Despite the Carnaval de Nice being cancelled this mid-term, organisers are still marking the season with a display on the cities Place Massena. It includes a giant papier-mâché Coronavirus, who may consider itself the King of Carnaval, but following tradition, will be burnt live online for all to see on February 27th.

France’s State Council has overturned a move by Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi to ban seasonal rentals during the mid-term break. They said in the absence of a compelling reason linked to specific local circumstances, the ban was an unlawful infringement of the right to property and the freedom of trade.

The Monaco Economic Board has launched for its members a new section on Riviera Radio.  Since February 1st, every Monday morning 7:46 and 9:46 entrepreneurs in the Principality can listen to a new short and dynamic section entitled Monaco Business Brief. The program focuses on emblematic news from a member company of the MEB, representative of the success and know-how made in Monaco. The partnership will allow members of the MEB to benefit throughout 2021 at Riviera Radio from 25% more advertising space, for any advertising campaign "on air" and " online”.

BUSINESS

Ford have become the latest car manufacturer to commit to an all-electric car line-up. They say their European passenger vehicles will be all-electric by 2030, with the entire range available as electric or hybrid models, within just five years. The plan comes on the back of a $1 billion investment by Ford in its plant at Cologne.

Ryanair has lost a legal bid in the EU’s second highest court, against state aid being granted to pandemic-hit rivals Air France and Sweden's SAS. The Irish airline had asked the court to assess a French scheme allowing airlines to defer certain aeronautical taxes and to rule on Sweden's loan guarantee scheme for airlines. The court ruled that the scheme was appropriate to remedy the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and does not constitute discrimination. Ryanair say they are considering taking the case to Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice.

SPORT

Tennis - Rafael Nalal is out of Melbourne after being beaten by Stefanos Tsitsipas. The fifth seeded Greek player started two sets down, but fought back over a four hour game to deliver a thrilling final set, where he converted his third match point to win 3-6 2-6 7-6 6-4 7-5. Tsitsipas will face Russia's Daniil Med-ve-dev in Friday's semi-final.

There was another upset earlier today when the women’s number one seed and home favourite Ashleigh Barty was beaten by Karolina Muchova 1-6 6-3 6-2.  Mushova will now play her first ever Grand Slam semi-final against American Jennifer Brady.

Both those semi-final’s will be played in front of live spectators, as 7,000 members of the public are admitted to the grounds in Melbourne following a five-day coronavirus lockdown in the city.

Also in tennis today, Andy Murray has withdrawn from this week's Challenger Tour in Italy, but is still in line for next weeks Open Sud de France competition in Montpellier. Murray was forced to miss the Australian Open after testing positive for coronavirus.

Football - OGC Nice travel for a Mediterranean Derby clash with Olympic Marseilles this evening. Despite Marseille having a bad run with just one victory in their last ten games, including three defeats in a row at home, victory is not a done deal. Nice have not beaten Marseilles in over six years, and tonight are missing players Todibo and Saliba who have been critical to the red and blacks recent successes. Kick off for the game is at 9pm.

Other big games tonight include two more Champions League quarter finals with Porto taking on Juventus and Seville hosting Borussia Dortmund.

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