1. Latest on Europe's pandemic

    Mass testing in Dunkirk, 18 Feb 21
    Image caption: Mass testing in Dunkirk
    • France is worried about a new infection hotspot – the northern port city of Dunkirk. The infection rate there is more than 900 per 100,000 inhabitants, so a local lockdown is now being considered. On Monday the focus was on Nice, a southern resort city, where the rate is above 700. A weekend lockdown has been imposed there and in nearby areas. These surges have been blamed on the highly contagious English variant. France is trying to avoid a third national lockdown
    • In Italy the new government led by Prime Minister Mario Draghi has extended until 27 March a ban on travel between Italy’s regions, to curb the virus spread. The new decree also extends a restriction on private visits: no more than two adults and children under 14 can visit another person’s home
    • EU Europe ministers are discussing how to ease the current border restrictions, which violate the spirit of free movement in the EU. The European Commission has complained to Germany about its border controls, saying they go too far. But Germany is frustrated its infection rates are declining too slowly, or not at all. Belgium, Hungary and three Nordic countries received such complaints previously from the commission
    • The Czech government has ordered the wearing of FFP2 respirator masks from Thursday in shops and on public transport. The government will distribute millions of the masks via food banks to people who cannot afford them. They block more particles than ordinary masks.
  2. The French Revolution

    Video content

    Video caption: Lucy Worsley explores the myths that have been told about the French Revolution of 1789.

    Lucy Worsley explores the fibs of the French Revolution. Marie Antoinette’s comment, 'Let them eat cake!' is often seen to have caused the French Revolution. But did she say it?

  3. Sudanese man arrested for refugee centre director's murder

    BBC World Service

    A Sudanese asylum seeker has been arrested in France on suspicion of stabbing the director of a refugee centre to death.

    Officials in the southern city of Pau said the 38-year-old suspect had recently had his asylum application turned down.

    Reports said he did not live at the centre but had stayed there in the past.

    The Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he would go to the scene and offered his condolences to the family of the 46-year-old victim.

  4. French concerts but no Italian skiing – the latest around Europe

    Skiers and tourists spend a day on holiday in Pianza di Vigezzo that reopens the facilities despite the ban in Craveggia
    Image caption: Italian ski resorts were all set to reopen yesterday when the government extended its ban

    France is to hold experimental concerts in Paris and Marseille in the spring to work out how to reopen the culture sector. Culture Minister Roselyne Bachelot says she’s very optimistic about seated events but standing events are more complicated. If all goes according to plan, 1,000 people will attend a seated event at the Marseille Dôme venue in the second half of March with the audience having the chance to stand up.

    Italy’s last-minute decision to halt the reopening of ski resorts until 5 March has prompted the new government’s first row. Local governors and some ministers are furious and a flash mob staged a protest at the northern resort of Bardonecchia.

    The Czech government has approved plans for a “state of danger” to replace a state of emergency rejected last week by MPs. Many but not all the emergency powers will be available. The government in Prague wants to gradually reopen schools from 1 March.

    Germany's BDI industry federation has warned of major consequences because of border closures with the Czech Republic and Austria's Tyrol region. Director Joachim Lang says there's a risk of European supply chains breaking down.

    An opposition motion of no confidence in Slovenia’s government for its handling of Covid and for alleged undemocratic behaviour has failed by six votes. Opposition MPs accused PM Janez Jansa of trying to turn Slovenia into an “authoritarian democracy”.

    Eurozone finance ministers have decided to keep financial support policies in place for now, as latest forecasts indicate the 19-country area will rebound less than expected in 2021. Chairman Paschal Donohoe says there’s an “inherent risk of withdrawing support too early”.