Evening Update 12 Mar

President Macron is to address the nation at 8pm this evening.

He is spending the afternoon leading meetings with Defence and Security Councils to ensure that whatever reaction France takes to the Coronavirus will be based on scientific expertise and fact.

France has had procedures in place, to deal with rapid spread viruses, since the Swine Flu epidemic in 2009. Those safety procedures include closing of schools, restrictions on public gatherings, encouraging people to avoid public transport or any non-essential travel.

In their place are plans for home education, remote working, price monitoring, maintenance of essential health products and the reinforcement of medical personnel.

Monsieur Macron’s address will be available on national tv and we will have a full report, with reaction, tomorrow morning on Riviera Radio.

Italy have imposed some travel restrictions at the border between Menton and Ventimelliga. Police have been making checks and asking if people have a compelling reason to cross the border. Tourist trips are not considered compelling while workers are allowed pass.

The expected spread of the virus continues with two policemen from Grasse being dealt with at Nice Pasteur Hospital.  Doctors report the two cases are not causing them particular concern but families of the gendarmerie and soldiers have been confined to home. The Marie is Grasse has set up an emergency room to monitor the situation.

BUSINESS

Shares indexes are dropping today after the US restricted travel from mainland Europe. At the start of US trading, dropping shares triggered an automatic temporary suspension aimed at curbing panicky selling. French, UK and other main European indexes are also down around 10%.

The European Central Bank has decided not to cut interest rates, despite market expectations for a reduction amid the ongoing crisis. Instead, the central bank announced measures to support bank lending and expanded its asset purchase program by 120 billion euros.

SPORT

Tennis - The Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters in Monaco next month has been cancelled. The ATP Tour has postponed all play for six weeks due to escalating health and safety issues. All tournaments are cancelled until 27 April.

Formula 1 - This weekend's season-opening Australian Grand Prix is in doubt after McLaren withdrew when a team member tested positive for coronavirus. McLaren said the infected team member was now self-isolating and added its choice to withdraw was “based on a duty of care". Meanwhile Lewis Hamilton has said it’s shocking that Formula 1 has pressed ahead with this weekend's Grand Prix amid the global pandemic.

Football - The Spanish league has been suspended for at least the next two rounds. It comes after the Real Madrid team were put into quarantine when a basketball player, who shares training facilities with the club, tested positive for the virus. Real are due to play in the Champions League on Tuesday.

In the UK three Leicester City players have self-isolated after showing symptoms and been kept away from the rest of the squad. The club did not specify which players had been quarantined but added that the club had followed procedures.

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