Evening Update Wednesday 18 March 2020

Police in Nice have been handing out fines today for those found to be violating the confinement restrictions. Reports say that tickets were given to two joggers in the Parc Imperial who were far from their home and a man on the beach who was also not near his home. Police said that mobile patrols and fixed checkpoints are in operation day and night to control vehicles and pedestrians and that it's "absolutely essential" that people understand that they should only go out within a limited perimeter of their home. Meanwhile, police in Menton have been carrying out an awareness campaign to inform people of the restrictions using vehicles with loudhailers touring the streets.

Bruno Le Maire, the French Finance Minister, has called upon workers in essential industries to go to their jobs. He asked employees at businesses which are still open and which are essential to the running of the country to go to their jobs whilst at the same time taking maximum health security measures. He gave as examples those involved in the food industry, distribution and waste management.

According to reports, the French government is planning to authorize the declaration of a "state of health emergency". The Council of Ministers is discussing the matter today. If the appropriate legislation is passed, the "state of health emergency" would, amongst other measures, allow the Prime Minister to restrict the movement of people, and to requsition goods and services.  

The French interior ministry has clarified the situation regarding the exit attestation for to be carried by everyone in France on leaving their home. It was thought yesterday that having the certificate on a mobile phone would be sufficient, but the ministry has stated that only an oficial paper certificate or an attestation written on paper will be accepted. However, the Interior Minister said that the possibility of a digital certificate for smartphones is currently being explored.

The Maritime Prefecture of the Mediterranean has announced that recreational, tourism or leisure activities at sea are prohibited until March 31. The measures are aimed at reducing the spread of the virus and also freeing up rescue personnel to deal with helping cases of the virus on land.

The Federation of French Bakery Businesses has announced that bakeries will be allowed to open 7 days a week to meet demand. Normally, bakeries are required to close one day per week but a waiver has been obtained from the Ministry of Labour to allow 7 day opening. Meanwhile, the French Health Minister Olivier Véran has said that "crowded" markets will have to close. During a TV interview this morning he said that he wanted to emphasise that markets must be able to continue providing food for people but markets where there are crowds, markets that have many stalls or markets where there is something other than food will be forced to close.

Another major Riviera event has been postponed because of the virus outbreak. The organizers of the Cannes Lions Festival, the advertising and creativity event, have announced that the festival is being moved from June to October.
In other news, a volunteer firefighter has died in a road accident this morning. The 34 year old man was driving a fire engine at the Col de Vence. An emergency helicopter was dispatched but he died at the scene. It's believed that the firefighter was alone in the fire engine at the time. An investigation has been launched to determine the cause of the accident.



European stockmarkets fell heavily earlier today despite economic stimulus packages being announced by several governments. The pound also hit a six-month low against the dollar.

Ryanair has announced plans to cancel the vast majority of its flights. The airline said that from midnight tonight until midnight next Tuesday, the 24th, the Ryanair Group airlines would cancel more than 80% of its flights. From midnight next Tuesday, "most if not all" Ryanair Group flights are expected to be grounded, with a small number of exceptions. The group normally has over 2,400 daily flights. The announcement was made on Ryanair's Twitter feed and details can also be found on the Ryanair Group's website.

Amazon is temporarily refusing to stock certain items in its warehouses so it can better cope with demand for household essentials due to the coronavirus outbreak. Amazon said that it was  prioritising household staples, medical supplies, and other high-demand products coming into its fulfilment centres.

BMW and Toyota are to temporarily close down their UK factories because of the impact of the coronavirus. They join Nissan and Vauxhall in closing plants amid falling sales and a lack of parts because of the pandemic. Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has suspended production at its Goodwood-based manufacturing plant from next Monday for two weeks. The company said the move was in order to further secure the health and welfare of its employees.

In the UK,  Sainsbury's and Asda have both said they will stop shoppers from buying more than three of any particular food item. Asda's buying restrictions will also apply to cleaning and toiletry products. Sainsbury's said that it will prioritise vulnerable and elderly people for online deliveries.



Golf... There are apparently no plans yet to delay this September's Ryder Cup until next year, despite some recent reports. The BBC are saying that a senior figure at the European Tour has told BBC Sport that a recent report saying that the tournament will be postponed "was inaccurate". Ryder Cup USA has also tweeted that reports the competition "is expected to be postponed are inaccurate".

Football....Former Cardiff City and Aston Villa midfielder Peter Whittingham is in hospital with head injuries. The ex-England Under-21 international suffered the injuries in a recent fall.

Cricket.... Australia batsman Matthew Wade will not join Somerset this summer after suffering a knee injury. The 32-year-old had agreed a deal to play seven Championship games during the first half of the season but Cricket Australia says Wade needs a sustained period of rest.


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