Evening Update Wednesday 17 November 2021

French government spokesperson Gabriel Attal has said that the epidemic is accelerating and "the virus is gaining ground". Speaking after the Council of Ministers meeting this morning, he said that "the fifth wave is here", but we are dealing with each wave better than the previous ones and everywhere in Europe there had been a decorrelation between infections and hospitalisations. He added that one year ago we were in confinement and the situation we have today is "light years away" from from the situation at that time. However, he said that the incidence rate is now over 100 throughout France and "is particularly high" in the Provence-Alpes-Cote-d'Azur, Corsica and the Pays-de-la-Loire. As regards vaccination, he said that 200,000 people received booster doses yesterday, which was a record number, bringing the number of people who have received booster doses to almost 4.7 million.

Meanwhile, the President of the Scientific Council Jean-Francois Delfraissy said that the fifth wave has probably been here since mid-October. Speaking to French media this morning he said that "we probably have the capacity to cope with this fifth wave" if people who are not vaccinated get vaccinated, people get their third dose and use barrier gestures and the health pass.

In its weekly update the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Regional Health Agency has said that in the Alpes-Maritimes 76 people were hospitalised with Covid-19 as at 16 November, which is up 4 on a week earlier. The number of people in intensive care was unchanged at 16. In the Var, 33 people were in hospital, which is down one and 10 people were in intensive care, which is down 3.

Mayor of Cannes David Lisnard has been elected as President of the Mayors of France Association. He received almost 60% of the votes cast. The association has been holding its annual meeting in Paris for the last three days.

A man has been charged and placed in pre-trial detention in connection with the deaths of a couple in Tourves in the Var. The couple were shot dead at their house last July whilst preparing to host a wedding. The man, who is their son-in-law, was arrested on Monday.

The Alpes-Maritimes National Police have arrested an alleged people smuggler and four migrants. Nice Deputy Mayor Anthony Borre said that the Municipal Police Urban Supervision Centre had seen the four individuals being dropped off in the L'Ariane district of Nice and giving the driver money. They were then apprehended on the A8 motorway entrance slip road. The alleged smuggler was arrested on Boulevard Gambetta.

Trains are disrupted because of national industrial action until about 8am tomorrow, Thursday, morning. Long distance trains are  running mostly as normal but local trains are disrupted. Information on timetables is available on the SNCF Assistant App and on the TER Sud website.


Inflation has risen sharply in the UK in October. The Consumer Prices Index measure of inflation rose by 4.2% in the 12 months to October, up from 3.1% in September. It's is the highest 12-month inflation rate since November 2011 but the ONS said that annual inflation rates at this time are still being influenced by the effects of the coronavirus lockdowns in 2020. On a monthly basis, CPI increased by 1.1% in October. The ONS said that price rises in education, transport, clothing and footwear, restaurants and hotels were some of the largest contributors to the monthly rate.

Meanwhile, figures from the EU's statistics agency Eurostat have shown that inflation in the Eurozone rose by 4.1% in the year to October, up from 3.4% in September.

Amazon has said that starting on 19 January it will no longer accept Visa credit cards issued in the UK. It blamed the high fees it says Visa charges for processing credit card transactions. The company said it would still be possible to use debit cards, including Visa debit cards, and non-Visa credit cards such as Mastercard, Amex, and Eurocard to make purchases. Visa said that it is "very disappointed that Amazon is threatening to restrict consumer choice in the future".



Cricket... It's been announced that Mickey Arthur will leave his job as Sri Lanka coach to join Derbyshire as head of cricket. He's previously coached Australia, South Africa and Pakistan as well as Eastern Cape and Western Australia.

Usman Khawaja has been recalled in Australia's squad for the first two Ashes Tests. However,Mitchell Marsh hasn't been selected. The first Test gets underway in Brisbane on 8 December.

Rugby Union... Sale Sharks have signed George Ford from Leicester on a long-term deal starting next season. Ford has won 77 England caps and joined Leicester in 2017 from Bath.

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