Evening Update Wednesday 27 January 2021

A French government spokesperson has said that the 6pm curfew is "relatively effective" but "not sufficient at this stage". Gabriel Attal was speaking after a meeting of the Health Defence Council and the Council of Ministers this morning. He added that a range of different scenarios is being considered, from what he called "an unlikely maintainance of the current framework" to "very tight confinement". He said that the Health Minister and the Director General of Health will give an update on the circulation of the virus tomorrow.

French pharmaceuticals company Sanofi has announced that it will help produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine by the end of the year. Sanofi will allow BioNTech to use its facilities in Frankfurt from July.

Meanwhile, the head of AstraZeneca has said that vaccine production is "basically two months behind where we wanted to be". Speaking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Pascal Soriot said that his team was working "24/7 to fix the very many issues of production of the vaccine". There have been tension between AstraZeneca and EU member states recently regarding delays in supply. However, M. Soriot said that what he called the EU's late decision to sign contracts had given limited time to sort out any supply issues. The company has said it will attend a meeting this evening with representatives of the EU Commission and member states to discuss the delays.

The Monaco government has extended all current  health measures until February 19 inclusive. The restrictions in force since January 11, would have expired at midnight tonight. The government said that the circulation of the virus is still active in the Principality and although the incidence rate has stabilized it remains very high at 400 positive cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a 7-day period. The government said that it should be remembered that the large number of positive cases is linked to the rise in the number of tests carried out but it's necessary to remain vigilant. Hospital services in the Principality are not saturated but are subject to increasing demand. Hospitalizations are on the increase. At the moment, 9 patients, including 4 residents, are being treated in intensive care.

The Cannes Film Festival has been postponed because of the health situation. The festival was scheduled to take place from 11 to 22 May this year but organisers say it will now be held from July 6 to 17.

Police have intervened after a restaurant in the centre of Nice opened this lunchtime. Reports say that the restaurant opened it's doors as an act of "resistance"  against coronavirus restrictions under which all French restaurants have been closed since the end of October. No food was served but those present sang the Marseillaise.

Municipal and national police carried out a control operation in the Notre-Dame, Trachel and Thiers areas of Nice yesterday. Twenty two people were fined for not wearing a mask. Two establishments were also closed and one formal notice of destruction of goods was served. Six people were arrested and placed before the judicial police.

A police operation in Toulon has resulted in the arrest of five people for drugs trafficing. Four hundred euros and one kilogram of cannabis were also seized in the operation in the Cité la Beaucaire district.

Four departments in south-east France have been placed on an orange alert for avalanches by Meteo France. The departments concerned are the Hautes-Alpes, Isere, Savoie and Haute-Savoie.
 


BUSINESS

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency has said that the Boeing 737 Max is safe to return to service. The plane was grounded in 2019 afer two fatal crashes. The 737 Max has already been cleared to resume flights in the United States and Brazil.

Consumer confidence in Germany has fallen according to a new poll. The survey by the GfK research institute showed consumer sentiment at minus 15.6 compared to minus 7.5 in the previous month. Germany is currently in a lockdown until at least mid-February.

Financial ratings agency S&P has said that it may downgrade 13 large oil and gas businesses because of increasing competition from renewable energy. It also said it had increased its risk rating for the oil and gas sector.

 

SPORT

Cricket... It's been the second day of the Pakistan against South Africa Test. Fawad Alam hit his third Test century helping Pakistan to finish the day on 308-8, a lead of 88 runs.

Football... Arsenal have signed Norwegian international Martin Odegaard from Real Madrid on loan until the end of this season.

There are 6 games in the English Premier League tonight. Burnley play Aston Villa, Chelsea play Wolves, Brighton host Fulham, Everton face Leicester and Manchester United play Sheffield United.

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