Evening Update Wednesday 17 March 2021

"Additional measures" to fight the coronavirus will be put in place from this weekend in the Ile-de-France and the Hauts-de-France, as well as in neighbouring departments,  according to a French government spokesperson. Gabrial Attal, who was speaking after a Health Defence Council meeting today, said that the measures could include confinement and more details will be announced by Prime Minister Jean Castex and Health Minister Olivier Veran at 6pm tomorrow evening. Speaking on French television last night the Prime Minister said that what he called "Nice-type" measures are "on the table" for the Ile-de-France.

As regards the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region, Gabrial Attal said that "at this stage there are no additional measures, other than those implemented in recent weeks in certain territories of the region, and in particular the Alpes-Maritimes". He did not specifically address whether the weekend confinement which has been in place for coastal areas of the Alpes-Maritimes for the past three weekends would continue.

He said that for the whole of France the incidence rate has increased by almost 20% in recent days and "the epedemic situation is deteriorating".

As regards the possible resumption of the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine, he said that "the data are reassuring" and vaccinations would resume without delay as soon as the European authorities authorise it.

One minute's silence has been observed in the French Senate this afternoon to pay tribute to caregivers and those who have lost their lives in the epedemic. Today marks the first anniversary of the first lockdown, which began on 17 March 2020.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen has threatened to restrict vaccine exports to countries not allowing reciprocal exports to the EU. She said that the EU had exported 10 million doses to the UK in the past 6 weeks but the bloc is still waiting for doses from the UK.

In other news, there were violent clashes in the town of Blois in the Loir-et-Cher department yesterday evening. Reports say that a petrol station and several vehicles were set on fire and a supermarket was looted after a car refused to stop at a police check and subsequently crashed, seriously injuring two of its occupants. Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin said that the situation in northern districts of the town has been calm since 1am.

The European Court of Justice has banned the French government from authorizing the trapping of birds by the use of glue. The highly controversial practice has been suspended in France since August last year following a warning to France that it was not complying with EU law on hunting and capture practices for birds.

PACA Region President Renauld Muselier has congratulated astronaut Thomas Pesquet on his appointment as commander of the International Space station saying that it's "a source of great pride for our entire country". The 43 year old is the fourth European and the first French person to be appointed to the role.

It's "Courtesy at The Wheel" week this week in France, which aims to promote good behaviour amongst drivers. A survey has shown that 94% of French people believe that there should be more respect and kindness between road users.



Uber has said that it will give its UK drivers a guaranteed minimum wage, holiday pay and pensions. The company said fares were unlikely to rise as a result. The announcement  comes after it lost a legal battle in the UK over the status of its drivers. However, the union which took Uber to court has said that it will continue with legal action, saying the company has "short-changed" drivers.

New data shows that annual inflation in the Eurozone was 0.9% in February, which is the same figure as January. However, so-called "core inflation", which excludes energy, food, alcohol and tobacco, fell to 1.1%, down from 1.4% in January.



Tennis.... Cameron Norrie is through to the second round of the Mexican Open after defeating American Stefan Kozlov in straight sets and meets Italian Fabio Fognini in the next round. Jamie Murray is through to the mens doubles quarter-final with Brazilian partner Bruno Soares.

Golf...Tiger Woods has returned home following the car crash that left him with leg and ankle injuries. He tweeted that he "will be recovering at home and working on getting stronger everyday."

Football... There are two Champion's League round of 16 matches this evening. Chelsea are against Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich play Lazio. Kick off is at 9pm.

Motorsports.... Former Top Gear presenter and driver Sabine Schmitz has died aged 51. She had been diagnosed with cancer in 2017. Sabine is the only woman to win the Nurburgring 24 Hours, which she won twice, in 1996 and 1997, driving a BMW M3.

Sailing.... Team New Zealand have won the America's Cup for the fourth time with a 7-3 victory against Luna Rossa off Auckland. The team's previous wins were in 1995, 2000 and 2017. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the team had made the country proud.



Occasional showers possible this evening

Tomorrow - sunny intervals, occasional showers in the afternoon and evening. Highs of 13

Friday - cloudy with showers in the morning but gradually clearing towards the evening. Very windy. Highs of 11




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