European Commission recommends not to travel to the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region - The European Commission has recommended that all governments prevent “non-essential” travel to the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur region in an attempt to limit the spread of Covid. The commission has identified two regions in France, the Burgundy-Franche-Comté and the PACA region. The recommendation could however become an outright ban if the incidence rate rises above 500 especially in the Alpes Maritimes, where to date, it stands at 442. The incidence rate corresponds to 442 positive cases over seven days per every 100,000 inhabitants. The national average in France is 208.
Latest date for the Alpes Maritimes - Recent data from the National Health Agency released on Tuesday has shown that nine people died in hospital in the Alpes Maritimes from Covid with an additional 40 deaths in nursing homes since last week. Since the start of the pandemic, the coronavirus has claimed 1,091 victims in the Alpes-Maritimes, 781 in hospitals and 310 in nursing homes. There were 12 new admissions to hospital on Tuesday with a total of 371 people now hospitalised in the region and 92 patients in intensive care. In addition, 180 active clusters are currently under investigation.
Monaco - In Monaco 31 new cases of Covid were identified on Tuesday bringing the total to 1,399 and fifty-seven people are currently hospitalised with 160 being followed by the Home Monitoring Centre.
Defence council meeting - Meanwhile the French government will today hold a new defence meeting with the Head of State Emmanuel Macron, to decide on the next step in handling the Covid health crisis in France. Today’s meeting will see officials debate the possible return to lockdown and look at the effects if any, from the current curfew which is in place across France.
The latest national figures from Public Health France show that the number of hospitalized patients with Covid continues to increase, reaching just over 27,000 with 2,006 patients admitted in the last 24 hours on Tuesday. Other figures show that the British variant of Covid represents nearly one in ten cases in the French capital.
Masks – France has issued a decree banning certain homemade masks from being worn in public, saying they do not offer the protection needed against more contagious Covid-19 variants. Only three types of masks will be recommended: surgical, the FFP2 and fabric masks made to category 1 standards. The recommendation has however, been criticised by the French Academy of Medicine that says there is a lack of scientific proof that homemade masks do not offer sufficient protection if worn properly. The French authorities have admitted the new decree will be difficult to enforce.
Vaccination centres - Several mayors in the Alpes-Maritimes have issued a joint open letter saying that they note the fall in the number of doses for vaccination centers and ask the State for more visibility on the issue. In the letter the mayors say that recent figures show that "the Alpes-Maritimes department is in the most worrying health situation in France". Despite reassurances earlier this month from Health Minister Olivier Veran, the mayors say they are faced with deliveries of doses whose volume and frequency are uncertain and insufficient. They are asking Olivier Veran "for significant mobilization so that priority people over 75 can be vaccinated as quickly as possible".
Rugby team arrive in Nice - The French national rugby team have arrived in Nice where they are training for their Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on 6 February. The team are in a health bubble at a local hotel and will be subject to frequent Covid-19 testing. Training is taking place at the Nice Rugby stadium on the Boulevard du Mercantour.
Vendée Globe - His serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco will be at the finishing line of the Vendée Globe later today in Les Sables d'Olonne. The Prince will be accompanied by his nephew Pierre Casiraghi as they await the arrival of Boris Herrmann sailing on Seaexplorer for the Monaco yacht club. Prince Albert expressed his support saying that “even if the finish is not victorious, the fact that he finishes on or near the podium, is a formidable achievement”.
Saint Dévote - Meanwhile is was six year old Princess Gabriella of Monaco who stole the show on Tuesday evening here in the Principality when she stepped out with her twin brother Prince Jacques and their parents, Prince Albert and Princess Charlene as the principality celebrated its patron saint with its traditional boat-burning ceremony. Saint Dévote's Day is a national holiday in Monaco and celebrates its patron saint, a Christian martyr who was killed and tortured for her faith in the 4th century.
Asian shares have slipped this morning as investors wait for guidance on monetary policy from the US Federal Reserve while Wall Street futures for tech shares have jumped following strong earnings from Microsoft.
S&P futures are mainly flat ,capped by caution ahead of the Fed’s policy meeting as well as profit taking on cyclical shares.
The Fed is due to announce the results of its two day policy meeting later today with analysts expecting the US central bank to stick to its dovish tone in a bid to help speed up the economic recovery.
Stimulus talks are also in focus today with the US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer saying that Democrats will move forward on Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar coronavirus relief plan without support from Republicans if necessary.
Oil prices have risen by 0.3 percent this morning supported by economic optimism while the dollar has shown little movement as investors wait on the Fed for clues as to whether they should buy riskier currencies.
Microsoft has reported strong earnings with the firm’s cloud computing service growing by 50 percent.
The results emphasise the software giant’s efforts to boost working and learning from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
The shift to home working has accelerated a business switch to cloud computing which has benefitted Microsoft as well as its rivals Amazon and Alphabet.
Microsoft shares rose by 5 percent in after-hours trading adding to the 41 percent gain that it made in 2020.
Revenue at the firm’s intelligent cloud unit rose by 23 percent to 14.6 billion dollars while revenue at its personal computing division which includes Windows and Xbox rose by 14 percent to 15.1 billion.
Overall revenue rose to 43.08 billion dollars up from 36.91 billion at the same time last year.
And-The chief executive of Goldman Sachs is taking a 10 million dollar pay-hit as punishment for the bank’s involvement in the Malaysian 1MDB scandal.
The investment fund ,set up by the Malaysian government lost billions of dollars due to fraudulent activity and led to a 12 year jail sentence for the country’s former Prime Minister Najib Razak.
Goldman Sachs helped to raise 6.5 billion dollars for the fund by selling bonds to investors ,the proceeds of which were largely stolen.
Prosecutors alleged that senior Goldman executives ignored warning signs of fraud.
David Solomon was not directly implicated in the scandal but his pay-cut reflects the bank’s dim view of the affair which was judged as an institutional failure.
Football-Chelsea have appointed the former PSG coach Thomas Tuchel to replace Frank Lampard who was sacked on Monday.
The 47 year old German has signed an 18 month contract and will be in the dug-out for tonight’s home Premier League game against Wolves.
Tuchel is the 11th managerial appointment since the Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought the club in 2003.
There were 4 games in the English Premier League last night with Manchester City going top of the table thanks to a 5-0 away thrashing of hapless West Brom.In the other results West Ham continued their good run with a 3-2 win at Crystal Palace.The pressure mounts on Steve Bruce as his Newcastle side lost 2-1 at home to Leeds and the Arsenal revival continued with a 3-1 win at Southampton.
There are 6 games tonight.Burnley play Aston Villa. Chelsea host Wolves.Brighton host Fulham.Everton face Leicester and Manchester United play Sheffield United.
In the 4th round of the FA Cup last night Bournemouth beat Crawley Town 2-1.
Cricket-The England squad is flying to India ahead of the Test series which starts on February the 5th.
The players will spend a week in quarantine with only limited training allowed before they tackle the 4 match Test series which will be a much bigger challenge than that they faced in Sri Lanka.
England have won their last 4 Test series and are unbeaten in 10 consecutive games.
India go into the series on the back of a famous series win down under against Australia.
It’s day 2 of the 1st Test between Pakistan and South Africa in Karachi.
South Africa were dismissed for a disappointing 220 in their first innings but the tourists have been fighting back this morning with Pakistan reduced to 40-4 after 21 overs.
Rugby Union-The Bath flanker Sam Underhill has withdrawn from England’s 6 Nations squad with a hip injury.
Jack Willis has been drafted in as cover.
The injury problems for coach Eddie Jones are mounting with Joe Launchbury , Joe Marler and Mako Vunipola all out and Kyle Sinckler suspended.
Partially cloudy with light variable winds.
Top temperature 13 degrees.
Overnight lows of 6 degrees with partially cloudy skies.
Thursday and Friday -Partially cloudy with a high of 13 degrees tomorrow and 16-17 degrees on Friday.