Parental consent for vaccination against covid - From today in France the agreement of both parents, and no longer one, will now be necessary to vaccinate children aged 5 to 11 against covid. For children aged 12 to 15, the agreement of one parent continues to suffice and adolescents 16 years of age and older can be vaccinated without parental consent. Vaccination was opened to all 5–11-year-olds on the 22nd December. As of January 4th, some 67,000 children in this age group have received at least one injection.
Fourth dose of vaccine - Meanwhile on Thursday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex said that a fourth vaccine dose will be offered in France as soon as the health authorities give their approval. Speaking to French media he also said that the government aims to provide surgical masks, at a minimum, for all teachers by the end of this month.
Nice teaching academy appeals for those in retirement to come back to work – The number of teaching staff who have tested positive for Covid has reached a record high in France with 5,631 cases. The number of class closures has also broken a record at 9,202 classes being closed affecting 20 primary schools, six middle schools and two high schools.
Faced with a serious lack of teachers due to covid, the Nice teaching academy has appealed for teachers in retirement to come back to work. In France according to the Minister of Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, 7% of teachers are currently absent, with a peak of 15% expected in the coming weeks.
Health protocol in schools - Despite only just being implemented, the new health protocol for schools in France to deal with the spread of the Omicron variant has been amended. On Thursday 6th January the new version was published on the Minister of National Education’s website. Students will no longer have to carry out the three tests if a new positive case is declared in their class.
Hospital operations postponed - Nearly 50% of operations at Nice University Hospital have been postponed due to the current wave of covid, as medical staff claim that the situation has “never been so critical” in Nice. Out of the 112 intensive care beds available in the Alpes Maritimes 92 are currently occupied. However, at present no further medical transfers are envisaged. At the end of last year a dozen medical transfers to other regions in France were carried out.
In other news
Child missing in custody battle - The national police in France have launched a call for witnesses via the social network Twitter, to find missing 12-year-old Alice Bergmann. The child was last seen on November 28th in Sanary in the Var. According to police the child is believed to be accompanied by her mother and is at the heart of a custody battle between her parents. In an international tug-of-war the father who lives in Germany, had won a court case for custody of Alice, who is described as having long brown hair and brown eyes. Her mother Paule-Andrée Boillat drives a light green Peugeot 307 convertible registered EP-439-NP. Any useful information should be reported to the Sanary police station: 04 94 88 53 30.
ING France automatically closes customer accounts - According to reports in French media, the online bank ING France has automatically closed hundreds of thousands of customer accounts representing at least 300,000 people. On 21st December ING France announced that it was relinquishing its retail banking business, 21 years after its arrival on the market preparing to sell its client portfolio. For Michel Guillaud, president of France conso banque, ING is therefore "cleaning up its customers' accounts" and according to him, there are "30 to 40% of small inactive accounts that the future buyer does not want".
Disruptions on trains - The SNCF have said that due to COVID-19 constraints, the circulation of TER\ZOU trains is disrupted until February 20 on weekdays and weekends. It reminded travellers that in accordance with French government measures, the wearing of masks is mandatory at stations and on-board trains for all passengers from 6 years old. It can only be removed briefly to drink or eat. Details of the next day's schedules are available after 5pm daily on the "SNCF Assistant" App and on the TER SUD Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur website as well as at local train stations.
Greenhouse gas emissions - The French government has adopted a decree to limit greenhouse gas emissions from new heating equipment. From July 1, new equipment installed for heating or domestic hot water production in residential or professional buildings will have to comply with a specific greenhouse gas emission cap.
All eyes will be on the US Non-Farm Payroll numbers which are out later today. 20 months after the global health crisis battered the economy, recent data along with increasingly hawkish sentiment at the Federal Reserve suggests that the labour market is approaching a complete recovery from the pandemic. The recovery has mixed implications for markets with on the one hand, a return to near full employment signaling a boost in profit margins but on the other, the Fed’s interest rate programme hitting rate-sensitive financials.
Wall Street has been choppy this week with a big fall on Wednesday as the Fed signaled that it’s considering bringing forward its monetary tightening schedule. Great focus will be given to today’s employment numbers with recent indicators pointing to conditions that will allow the central bank to reverse its coronavirus-era monetary accommodation sooner than expected.
Oil prices have spiked this morning after an uprising in Kazakhstan raised concerns of a disruption to supplies from the Opec+ producer. Brent Crude futures were up by 0.6 percent a little earlier to 82 dollars 47 with West Texas Intermediate also up 0.6 percent at 79 dollars 96. As well as the unrest in Kazakhstan, oil output in Libya has been dropping as the political situation there continues to deteriorate. Kazakhstan has declared a state of emergency following days of trouble on the streets and Russia has sent paratroopers to the country to help quell the uprising. Protests started in Kazakhstan’s oil rich western region after state price caps on butane and propane were removed on New Year’s Day. Both Brent and West Texas Intermediate are on track to post 6 percent gains in the first trading week of the year.
In the UK, Greggs the bakers has announced that chief executive Roger Whiteside is to step down after 9 years in charge. Mr Whiteside is widely credited with turning the company around and says that he’s handing the business over “in a strong place” to the group’s retail and property director Roisin Currie. On Thursday, Greggs revealed strong sales of mince pies and vegan festive bakes which helped to boost sales in the run up to Christmas. Despite inflationary concerns and staff shortages because of the pandemic, Greggs says that it expects to beat pre-tax profits for 2021 when it reports full year results in March.
Cricket - England are battling to stay in the 4th Test against Australia in Melbourne after losing four wickets cheaply in the morning session. At tea, England had reached 135-4 in reply to Australia’s first innings total of 416-8 declared. Ben Stokes, who’s playing with a side injury has made a battling 52 not out with Jonny Bairstow on 45 not out.
South Africa have beaten India by 7 wickets in the second Test in Johannesburg to square the three match series. The home side required a further 122 runs to win the match on the 4th day and got there with ease in a second innings total of 243-3.
Football - It’s FA Cup 3rd round weekend in England with some of the minnows of the game in with a chance of making headlines against Premier League opposition. Tonight, Swindon Town of League 2 host Premier League leaders Manchester City. City boss Pep Guardiola will be missing from the dugout after testing positive for coronavirus.
Other interesting looking ties include Newcastle against Cambridge United, Chelsea against Chesterfield and Liverpool against Shrewsbury.
Tennis - Novak Djokovic is spending the weekend in a Melbourne quarantine hotel ahead of a court hearing on Monday to decide whether he’ll be allowed to compete at the Australian Open. The world number one has said that he’s opposed to vaccination but was awarded a medical exemption by Tennis Australia and the state of Victoria after an independent panel review. However the Federal government says that as he’s not vaccinated he can’t be allowed to compete and must leave the country. The lawyers will battle it out in court at the start of the week.
Rugby Union - There’s one game in the Gallagher Premiership in England tonight. Bristol play Sale.
Mainly fine with light to moderate north westerly winds. Top temperatures 12-14 degrees. Overnight lows of 5-7 degrees with partially cloudy skies.
The weekend - Mainly fine with highs of 10-14 degrees.
The Regional Health Agency has confirmed on Tuesday 25th January, that the Omicron variant is now the dominant strain of covid in the Provence Alpes C... Read More