Monaco announces that working from home is compulsory from today - Monaco has announced that working from home is from today, compulsory. Following a press conference held by Monaco’s Ministry of State the government announced that measures are to be tightened to combat the spread of Covid which is particularly active in the Principality and in the Alpes Maritimes. The government therefore calls on companies to introduce working from home for a renewable period of 15 days. Every day, 45,000 people from France and 8,000 from Italy come to Monaco to work.
Incidence rate in the Alpes Maritimes - Meanwhile the latest figures show that for the week from January 27th to February 2nd the incidence rate (the number of cases detected over a seven-day period per 100,000 inhabitants) stood at 445 in the Alpes Maritimes, compared to the national average which stands at 214.
In Nice and Saint-Laurent-du-Var the situation remains the most critical in the department with the incidence rate remaining above the departmental average exceeding 500. With for example 250 new cases detected every day in Nice.
In all the other communes of the department with more than 15,000 inhabitants (Cannes, Antibes, Cagnes-sur-Mer, Grasse, Le Cannet, Menton, Vallauris, Mandelieu-La Napoule, Mougins, Vence and Villeneuve-Loubet), the rate of incidence is between 250 and 500.
Monaco Covid cases - In Monaco, 30 new cases of Covid were identified over the weekend bringing the total number of residents affected to 1,655 since the start of the pandemic. Seventy people are currently hospitalized and 161 people are being followed by the Home Monitoring Center.
Covid figures France - Meanwhile on a national level nearly 20,000 new cases of Covid were declared in the last 24 hours on Sunday with a slight increase in the number of patients hospitalized.
The number of hospitalized patients on Sunday stood at 27,694, an increase of 325 patients from the previous day. There were also 3,272 patients in intensive care, an increase of 47 cases compared to Saturday. In 24 hours, 171 people died in hospital from Covid compared to 191 the day before. This brings the total number of deaths in France since the start of the epidemic to 78,965.
On Sunday evening, the number of people who received a first injection of the vaccine climbed to 1.87 million.
Homemade masks no longer accepted in French schools - From today, homemade masks are no longer allowed in schools in France. The new measure has been in effect since February 1st however, the Ministry of National Education left a few days for parents, pupils and staff to adapt.
Under the new health protocol put in place by the National Education to fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, only category 1 fabric masks will now be authorized in schools (just like surgical masks). The only exception to the rule is nursery school children under 6, who are exempt from wearing a mask. It is up to parents to provide masks for their children and headteachers have the right to refuse welcoming a pupil without a mask unless there is a justified medical reason.
Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine - Researchers have said that the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine fails to prevent mild and moderate cases of the South African coronavirus strain. However, the developers in the UK said that the vaccine could prevent severe cases and death. Following the trial carried out in South Africa a statement was published on Sunday saying that the vaccine "provides minimal protection against mild-moderate Covid-19 infection" from the South Africa variant. But in a full paper due to be published today, AstraZeneca said that none of the 2,000 participants developed serious symptoms. That could mean it will still have an effect on severe disease, although there is not yet enough data to make a definitive judgement.
In other news
Man kills his partner in front of his two children - A 71-year-old man has killed his partner with multiple stab wounds, committing the crime in front of his own children aged 9 and 14. The incident occurred on Sunday afternoon in Fréjus in the Var. The man was arrested and the two children suffering from shock were taken to hospital in Toulon. The 43-year-old victim had already succumbed to her injuries when emergency services arrived at the scene. An investigation has been opened to determine what could have led the man to commit such a horrific crime.
Cannes closes its parks due to strong winds - The city of Cannes closed its parks and gardens on Sunday morning due to poor weather conditions with the Fête de la Croix-des-Gardes also being postponed until Sunday February 14th. Strong winds led to the closure until midday on Sunday 7th February.
Floods - Hundreds of residents living near rivers have been evacuated from their homes from Calvados, in Normandy to the Dordogne in south western France due to major flooding. Water levels rose, impacting town centres, homes, and vineyards. Reinforcements were sent to Saintes, north of Bordeaux, after the Charente river flooded dozens of streets and homes. The Mayor Bruno Drapron has urged authorities to declare a natural disaster.
Ban on seasonal rentals - The ban on seasonal rentals in Nice came into force at the weekend and continues until at least the 20th February. The restriction was put in place by a decree made by Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi.
The US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has said that it’s “too early to say” whether new policies or regulations are necessary to deal with recent market volatility. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union programme on Sunday, Ms Yellen said that the US Securities and Exchange Commission is working hard to assemble a report that gives the facts and that when it’s complete, regulators will see whether there are issues that need to be addressed. Feverish buying by amateur retail investors over the past two weeks has sparked big moves in shares such as the video games retailer GameStop that large hedge funds had bet against. Some have framed the issue as a battle between Wall Street and Main Street. Janet Yellen convened a meeting of the SEC, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York at the end of last week to discuss retail trading and whether the government needed to take any action.
Rolls Royce has said that it’s considering a two-week shutdown of its jet engine plants in a bid to stem losses. The firm has been suffering a drop in sales as a result of fewer jets being in the air and requiring servicing. Rolls Royce says that no firm decision has yet been made and that it will negotiate with trade unions first. The plan would not affect its defence or energy divisions. If it goes ahead, the shutdown would be the first at Rolls Royce since the 1980’s when the firm was re-privatised. Last month, Rolls Royce said that it expects to get through more cash than previously forecast this year because planes powered by its engines are flying less amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Oil prices have risen this morning with Brent approaching 60 dollars a barrel, boosted by supply cuts among key producers and hopes for further US economic stimulus measures to boost demand. Brent Crude was up by 51 cents a little earlier this morning at 59 dollars 95 with West Texas Intermediate up 54 cents at 57 dollars 39. Last Friday’s weaker than expected US jobs report have boosted hopes for further stimulus measures while increased risk appetite has boosted energy products and industrial metals. The dollar has also weakened today, supporting commodities while extra supply cuts by Opec and its allies is helping to balance global markets.
American Football - The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won Super Bowl LV beating the holders Kansas City Chiefs 31-9 at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. It’s the first time that a team has won the Super Bowl at their own stadium and evergreen quarterback Tom Brady has now extended his record for wins in the showpiece final to 7. Brady threw three touchdown passes to prevent the Chiefs from becoming the first back-to-back NFL champions since the New England Patriots in 2004. He’s the oldest player to play in the Super Bowl at the age of 43 and joins Payton Manning as the only quarterback to win the big prize with two different teams.
Cricket - It’s day 4 of the 1st Test between India and England with the home side putting up some stubborn resistance in reply to the tourist’s massive first innings total of 578. India have lost a wicket this morning and had reached 312-8 after 91 overs with Sundar on 64 not out as they seek to avoid the follow on.
It’s day 5 of the second Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Rawalpindi. South Africa are batting in their second innings and chasing 227 runs to win the match and level the series. The tourists had reached 143-3 after 48 overs.
Football - There were four games in the English Premier League on Sunday with the leaders Manchester City extending their lead at the top of the table to 5 points on the back of an emphatic 4-1 away win at the champions Liverpool.
In the other results, Spurs got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over West Brom. Wolves and Leicester drew 0-0 and Chelsea are up to 5th in the table on the back of a 2-1 away win at Sheffield United. There’s one game tonight. Leeds play Crystal Palace.
In the Scottish Premiership on Sunday, Hamilton held the leaders Rangers to a 1-1 draw.
Rugby Union - Wales held on to beat 14 man Ireland in their opening 6 Nations game in Cardiff on Sunday. Peter O’Mahony got a red card on 14 minutes for reckless elbow to the head of the Wales Prop Tomas Francis and Ireland were up against it for much of the match despite a spirited fight back in the second half. Wales held on to win 21-16 and join Scotland who beat England at Twickenham on Saturday for the first time since 1983 and France who easily outclassed Italy as victors on the opening weekend.
France top the table with 5 points after having secured a bonus point with Wales and Scotland on 4 each.
Tennis - The Australian Open is underway in Melbourne with Serena Williams starting her bid for a record equaling 24th Grand Slam with an emphatic 6-1 6-1 win over Laura Siegemund of Germany. It only took Williams 56 minutes to demolish her opponent on the Rod Laver Arena.
The US Open Champion Naomi Osaka is also through to round 2 but former champion Angelique Kerber is out. She was beaten 6-0 6-4 by Bernarda Pera.
Golf - Brooks Koepka has won the Phoenix Open after finishing with a 65 to reach 19 under par. The four time Major winner finished one shot clear of Kyoung-Hoon-Lee of South Korea and Xander Shauffele.
World number one Dustin Johnson has won the Saudi Invitational. Johnson finished on 15 under par with a final round of 68. Justin Rose of England and Tony Finau of the United States ended on 13 under.
Partially cloudy with moderate to strong south westerly winds. Top temperature 15 degrees. Overnight lows of 9 degrees with partially cloudy skies.
Tuesday and Wednesday - Fine tomorrow but with rain spreading across the region tomorrow night. Wet on Wednesday morning, clearing later. Highs of 12-14 degrees.