Evening Update Tuesday 3 March 2020

The French government has announced the death of a 4th person in France from the coronavirus. A 92-year-old man died in the Morbihan department in Brittany. The Directorate General of Health said that 204 cases of the coronavirus have now been detected in France. The government has also announced that it will requisition all stocks and the production of protective masks and will distribute them to healthcare professionals and French people affected by the Coronavirus.

Locally, two new cases of coronavirus have been reported in the Gard department and Marseille. The first is being treated in hospital in Marseille. The patient's condition has not been released. The second is hospitalized at the Nîmes University Hospital. "His state of health shows no sign of seriousness," according to doctors. In both cases, investigations are underway to identify the people who have had contact with the two patients.

The Simone Veil Hospital in Cannes has said that since last Friday, it has attended to 19 people suspected of having the virus. Of those, 7 people were tested for the virus and all the results were negative.

It's been announced that exceptional health measures will be put in place in Cannes for the two rounds of the municipal elections on the 15th and 22nd of March. The 57 polling stations in Cannes will have hydro-alcoholic gel dispensers installed, educational posters about hygiene will be displayed and premises will be thoroughly cleaned, amongst other measures.

The French sports minister, Roxana Maracineanu, held a meeting with representatives of various French sports federations this morning with the aim of discussing the potential cancellation of sporting events. She said that the decision on whether to hold particular events would be made on a case by case basis. She also said that it is planned to maintain the Paris-Nice cycle race.

As regards other local events, it's been announced that the public will not be admitted to the remaining winter horse race meetings at the Cagnes sur Mer Hippodrome because of coronavirus concerns. Only professionals and those connected with arranging the races will be allowed to be present until the end of the winter race meeting on the 13th of March.

New figures show a slight increase in deaths on the roads of the Alpes Maritimes last year. In 2019, 58 people lost their lives on the department’s roads, compared with 57 in 2018. In the month of December, 3 people died in road accidents compared to 8 the previous year.

The RD10 departmental road in the Var was closed to traffic earlier today between Lorgues and Taradeau after an accident involving a fuel tanker. The vehicle turned onto its side and a security perimeter was established while specialized chemical risk personnel attended to the tanker.

A 20-year-old man has died after drowning in Marseille. The accident occurred on Monday evening when the young man attempted to climb across the rocks located below the road, on the Corniche Kennedy and was hit by a wave. Friends who were with him at the time alerted emergency services. A helicopter and sea rescue team were deployed and soon discovered the victim’s body. An investigation to determine the exact circumstances has been launched.

Authorities have asked for the public's help in locating a missing person who disappeared in Marseille last year. 32 year old Audrey Ria left hospital in Marseille on the 18th of October and hasn't been seen since. She was born in Antibes and lives in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin. She has family in Menton and in Chambéry. She is 1.65 metres tall, blonde with blue eyes. Anyone with information is asked to call 06.95.24.48.70

 

BUSINESS

The US central bank has cut interest rates in response to mounting concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus. The Federal Reserve lowered its benchmark rate by half of one per cent to a range of 1% to 1.25%.

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned of the coronavirus causing an economic shock “which could prove large, but which will ultimately be temporary”. Speaking to the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, the governor said that the Bank would “take all necessary steps” consistent with its mandate to support the economy, households and businesses. Meanwhile, the G7 group of countries has issued a joint statement regarding the coronavirus. It said that the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors, are closely monitoring the disease and its impact on markets and economic conditions and that they reaffirm their commitment to use all appropriate policy tools to achieve “strong, sustainable growth and safeguard against downside risks.”

New figures from Eurostat, the EU’s statistics agency, show that consumer prices in the eurozone grew more slowly in February. The figures showed the annual rate of inflation in the eurozone fell to 1.2% last month, down from 1.4% in January, mostly due to a slight fall in energy prices. Separately, Eurostat figures also showed that the eurozone's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.4% in January.

UK insurance comparison site Go Compare says that it’s seen a surge in sales of travel insurance over the past few days, as people worry about whether flights will be cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. The company said that it had seen over a 270% increase in sales of travel insurance over the last seven days.

Chinese company Jingye Group has finally confirmed plans to invest £1.2bn in British Steel. The company, which is reported to have offered £50m to buy the company, said the deal was due to be completed on 9 March. It said there was no current deal to acquire British Steel's operations in France. In January, the French government said it might veto the deal because it considered British Steel's French plant a strategic national asset.

 

SPORT

Olympics….. Japan's Olympic minister has said that the Tokyo 2020 Games could be postponed until later in the year amid fears over the coronavirus outbreak. She said that Japan’s contract with the International Olympic Committee "calls for the Games to be held within 2020" and that "could be interpreted as allowing a postponement" but Japan is doing everything it can to ensure that the Games go ahead as planned.

Rugby Union… Six Nations organisers have confirmed that England's game against Wales on Saturday and Scotland's match against France on Sunday will go ahead despite the coronavirus outbreak. Ireland's encounter with Italy on Saturday and the women's game on Sunday were postponed last week over health concerns. England prop Mako Vunipola has gone into self-isolation as a coronavirus precaution and will not play against Wales in the Six Nations on Saturday. He was named in the squad on Monday but the RFU said that he’d travelled through Hong Kong on his return from Tonga over the weekend.

Football… It's been announced that France will be playing Croatia at the Allianz Riviera Stadium in Nice. The friendly is scheduled for the 8th of June and will be France's last friendly match before the start of the Euro tournament which begins on June the 12th.

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