Evening Update Wednesday 25 March 2020

A French government spokesperson has said that a decision on a possible extension of the confinement measures would be announced "in the coming days". It follows the advice of the scientific council suggesting a confinement period of "at least six weeks" in total. The confinement began in France on March 17. The spokesperson said "We believe that the containment should last as long as it takes. We will announce in the coming days how we intend to implement the recommendations of the Scientific Council." In a speech this afternoon, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said that France must prepare for "a long effort". He was speaking this afternoon after a meeting of the Council of Ministers. Some 25 ordinances were adopted by the Council at the meeting, which is the most since 1958. They include the extension of the winter break period until the end of May to help protect the most vulnerable.

The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, has announced the setting up of a "drive-in" mask collection point for health professionals. The facility, which should be in place at the Palais des Expositions from Saturday morning at the latest, will enable health professionals and private providers who are exposed due to their activity, to pick up approved protective masks. Requests have to be made before collection and the service is not open to the general public. Mr. Estrosi said that between 50,000 and 60,000 masks will be available initially.

The organizers of the MIPIM property event, usually held in Cannes each March, have announced changes to the event. This year's MIPIM had been postponed until June but the organizers have announced that this year's event is being changed into a two-day gathering in Paris in September and a new online experience, MIPIM Connect, which will be available year-round. The next edition of MIPIM in Cannes is scheduled to take place from March 16-19 next year.

The municpiality of Lorgues in the Var has reported that 3 new people have tested positive for Covi-19.

A dozen health staff have tested positive for the coronavirus at the CHU in Nice. However, no severe cases have been recorded so far amongst health professionals at the hospital.

Several other municipalities across the Riviera have joined Nice and Monaco in carrying out the disenfection of streets. Street disinfection is about to begin, or has already started, in Menton, Cogolin, Saint-Laurent-du-Var, Antibes, Cannes, Vallauris, Le Cannet and Cagnes-sur-Mer.

The Monaco Minister of State, Serge Telle, has announced a bonus of 1,000 euros to be paid to all public service agents who are fully mobilized on the coronavirus crisis in the Principality.

The PACA region has released funds to help local students who are stranded abroad. The President of the PACA region, Renaud Muselier, announced that 500 euros per student was being made available to help their families to repatriate them.

A 17 year old has appeared in court today in connection with trying to evade a police control checking for completed confinement exit forms on a road in Cagnes-sur-Mer. It's alleged that he accelerated in his car endangering a police officer. The police opened fire but failed to stop him fleeing the scene. The prosecutor asked for pre-trial detention but the court released him this afternoon.

The Prefect of the Var has issued an order today prohibiting the reception of the public in food shops between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. The order is in operation from today until the end of the month. Deliveries aren't affected by the order.

A health union has written to the Regional Health Council suggesting the creation of "drive-in" testing centre to fight the outbreak. The idea, which is already being used in some other parts of France, is that motorists would drive into a centre and have a nasal swab performed at a distance without leaving their vehicle.

Church bells across France will be rung simultaneously at 7.30 this evening for ten minutes. The Conference of Bishops of France have also asked people to light candles in their windows when the bells ring. The president of the Conference said that it "will be a mark of communion of thought and prayer with the deceased, the sick and their loved ones, with all the caregivers and all those who make life in our country possible."



President Donald Trump and the Senate have agreed a massive economic relief package worth more than $1.8 trillion. Negotiations ran into the early hours of this morning. The package includes money to bail out industries that have been affected by the coronavirus crisis. Republican Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell described it as a "wartime level of investment" in the economy.

In the UK, the CBI has released its latest survey of UK retailers. The organization said that "grocers reported exceptionally strong growth in sales volumes in the year to March, as did specialist food and drink firms. However, most other sectors reported sharp falls in sales volumes." it said that "orders are expected to fall across most sectors in the year to April (including grocers), with expectations the weakest since April 2009."

The UK's banks have been told by the UK government not to let fundamentally sound businesses collapse becasue of the virus outbreak. The banks have been sent a joint letter from the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, and the CEO of the FCA on the subject of COVID-19 and bank lending.

Nike has seen online sales rise in China. The sportswear company has shut the majority of its stores globally, but says 80% of its shops have now reopened in China. Nike reported a 5% drop in Chinese sales to $1.5bn in its last financial quarter, which runs to the end of February. However, online sales rose by 36% during the quarter.


The International Olympic Committee has said that it hopes to agree a new date for the Olympics as soon as possible. The IOC's president, Thomas Bach, said this morning that a conference call was to be held tomorrow with 33 international sports federations. He said that the sporting calendar around the time of the Olympics had to be taken into account along with  "many, many other issues..rescheduling Tokyo 2020 is like a huge jigsaw puzzle and the new date "will not be restricted to the summer months".

Several UK football clubs have announced efforts to help in the pandemic. Watford have offered use of their stadium to the NHS. Their stadium is very close to the local hospital. Brighton have offered 1,000 tickets to NHS workers when matches are resumed. The club have encourged other clubs to follow their lead and donate tickets. Bournemouth have also agreed to offer tickets.

In English cricket news, reports quoting Durham’s chief executive, say that The Hundred tournament may be postponed to next year if this summer's cricket season ends up being two months or less. At the moment, matches have been suspended until the 28 May at the very earliest.


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