Evening Update Wednesday 3 March 2020

There has been a rise in the number of cases of the coronavirus in Marseille today. The Bouches-du-Rhône Prefecture said that a total of seven people from two families had tested positive for the virus. One family is that of the woman who has been hospitalized in Marseille since Monday night. The Prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes said today that there had been no further new cases in the department, meaning that the number of positive cases remains at ten. He added that the state of health of those who had tested positive for the virus doesn’t give any cause for concern, except for the Italian patient from Lombardy whose condition “remains worrying”.

It’s been confirmed that the local football derby, OGC Nice against AS Monaco, will go ahead as planned on Saturday evening without any restrictions.

The Israeli government has today added France to a list of countries whose citizens face restrictions. The Israeli authorities have banned French nationals from entering the country unless they have a place to quarantine themselves. Germany, Spain, Austria and Switzerland are amongst other countries on the list.

The French government has said that about 8,300 masks and 1,200 bottles of sanitising gel have been stolen from hospitals in the Paris area. 2,000  masks have also disappeared from a hospital in Marseilles. Following the requisitioning of facemasks yesterday, the government has said that they will now only be available on medical prescription. Minister of Economy Bruno Le Maire has also said that the price of hydro-alcoholic gels will be limited by decree.

Air France has announced that passengers will be able to postpone or cancel certain flights free of charge or in return for a credit voucher. If you’re affected you should contact the airline for full information. Details are available at www.airfrance.fr

Locally, a teaching union leader has said that student absenteeism has increased recently, with some parents choosing to keep their children at home because of coronavirus concerns. Cannes city council has announced this morning that new health measures have been introduced on the transport network of Palm Bus and other transport networks in the city. The move comes as a precaution against the virus. The frequency of cleaning the buses has been doubled and the disinfection of seats and bars is being carried out several times a day.

Meanwhile, reports this afternoon have said that the Italian government is to close all schools and universities nationwide for two weeks because of the coronavirus outbreak. This evening the Italian government has confirmed the reports, saying that educational establishments will be closed until the 15th of March.

A 14-year-old girl has been placed in police custody following a dispute over a mobile phone with a fellow resident in a shelter for young girls in Grasse. The incident occurred on Tuesday morning when the 14-year-old girl allegedly grabbed a kitchen knife before punching the victim in the stomach. Emergency services were at the scene and the victim was taken to hospital. The 14-year-old, who had initially fled following the incident was quickly found and arrested by the national police officers in charge of the case.

A man of Portuguese origin has been given a 10 month suspended sentence by a court in Draguignan for a real estate fraud. He had offered to sell plots of land in the Roquebrune-sur-Argens area which he didn’t own. He received a total of 92,000 euros from a dozen people. The court imposed a fine of 5,000 euros and ordered him to repay €74,000.

 

BUSINESS

The UK Information Commissioner's Office has fined Cathay Pacific Airways £500,000 for failing to protect customers' personal data. It said that the airline's computer systems had exposed details of over 111,000 UK residents and a further 9.4 million people from other countries. The data included names, passport details, dates of birth, phone numbers, addresses and travel history. It said that "appropriate security" was not in place between October 2014 and May 2018.

Sony Pictures Entertainment has closed its offices in London, Paris and Poland because of coronavirus concerns. The company said that it had no positive cases, but was taking the precaution after a London employee was potentially exposed to the virus after recent travel to an affected area.

Lufthansa has reportedly grounded 150 aircraft, which is about one fifth of its fleet, because of the coronavirus.

Separately, the German government has imposed an immediate ban on exports of personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves, in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It comes after the French government yesterday announced the requisition of masks.

The London Book Fair has been cancelled. The decision follows the withdrawal of several major publishers including Penguin Random House, Pan Macmillan and Harper Collins because of the coronavirus risk.

India has limited the export of certain medicines due to the coronavirus. India is the world’s biggest supplier of generic drugs. The restricted drugs include Paracetamol, one of the world's most widely-used pain relievers. India's drug makers rely on China for almost 70% of the active ingredients in their medicines.

 

SPORT

Motorsports…Seven of the ten Formula 1 teams have formally objected to the handling of Ferrari's engine controversy last year. Last week, governing body the FIA said it "reached a settlement" with Ferrari after investigating their engine. Ferrari's rivals have issued a collective response expressing their "strong objection" to the confidential deal.

Meanwhile, Formula 1 says it will not hold a World Championship race in a country that prevents any team entering as a result of coronavirus restrictions. F1 managing director Ross Brawn said: "If a team is prevented from entering a country, we can't have a race, not a World Championship race anyway, because that would be unfair."

Cycling… Team Ineos sporting director Nicolas Portal has died at the age of 40. He helped oversee Chris Froome's four triumphs in the Tour de France from 2013 to 2017. A statement from Team Ineos said the Frenchman died at home in Andorra yesterday afternoon.

Football… Harry Kane has said that he’ll be fit for Euro 2020 and hopes to return next month. The Tottenham and England striker hasn’t played since rupturing a tendon at Southampton on New Year’s Day. Kane said that “unless something pretty drastic happens” he would be at Euro 2020, which begins on 12 June.

Rugby Union… Former England winger Chris Ashton has joined Harlequins two days after leaving Sale Sharks. He’s so far scored 86 Premiership tries and said that he hopes the move will see him become the first player past the 100 mark.

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