Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 5 Mar 2020

1

Coronavirus: California declares state of emergency

The governor of California has declared a state of emergency following the state’s first coronavirus death, which brings the total US tally to 11. The California victim fell ill almost two weeks after returning from a trip on a cruise ship, which is now being held in quarantine off San Francisco, with 21 people on board showing possible symptoms of the virus. The other ten US deaths all occurred in Washington state.

2

Experts criticise move to axe daily virus updates

The UK government is being accused of withholding information about the coronavirus outbreak after announcing that health officials are to stop providing daily updates on the location of new infections. Instead, the information will be shared in a weekly round-up each Friday. The government says the move is down to the sheer number of cases, but experts say it will prevent the public from making informed choices. A total of 87 infections have been confirmed in the UK.

3

Labour leadership: Starmer pressed on donations

Labour leadership front-runner Keir Starmer is facing growing calls to reveal who is funding his campaign, after declining to name all of his donors during a grilling by the BBC’s Andrew Neil yesterday. Starmer did say that his single biggest donation was £100,000, from fellow lawyer Robert Latham. Meanwhile, leadership rival Rebecca Long-Bailey told Neil that she believed “you don’t get nothing for nothing in this world” and that “those who donate to your campaign will expect to be repaid”. 

4

Flybe collapses following outbreak struggle

Regional airline Flybe has collapsed less than two months after the UK government drew up a £100m rescue package. The final nail in the Exeter-based airline’s coffin was a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Ticket holders with Flybe, which operates almost 40% of UK domestic flights, have been told not to travel to airports.

5

Thunberg accuses EU of ‘pretending’ on climate

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg yesterday accused the EU of only “pretending” to take action on climate change. The 17-year-old lashed out during a meeting in Brussels before the unveiling of plans for a climate law that would make it a legal requirement for the bloc to be carbon neutral by 2050. Thunberg says the legislation does not go far enough and is a “surrender” and “betrayal [of] your own children”. 

6

Boy dead after ‘30 men’ seen with baseball bats

A 16-year-old boy was found with fatal head injuries on scrubland in east London on Tuesday morning, after a reported sighting of a group of 30 men armed with baseball bats the previous night. Ahmed Shamur, from Manor Park, died at the scene. Police are appealing for witnesses who were near Gallions Reach DLR station at around 8pm on Monday.

7

Dowden: UK would be ‘crazy to throw BBC away’

New Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden will say today that the BBC is an “institution to be cherished” and the UK would be “crazy to throw it away”. The remarks are a “climbdown” from some recent government rhetoric against the broadcaster, says The Guardian. The Tory party is said to believe the BBC has a left-wing bias.

8

Prince wants ‘strong bond’ with Ireland after Brexit

Prince William yesterday called for a “strong bond” between the UK and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit, on the second day of a royal visit to the UK’s near neighbour. Speaking in Dublin, the Duke said human relations were “more essential” than treaties and urged the two nations not to be “bound by the wrongs of the past”.

9

Australian newspaper offers cheeky solution to loo roll shortages

An Australian newspaper is helping out readers hit by widespread panic-buying amid the coronavirus outbreak - by printing a special pull-out mid-section for use as toilet paper. The centre pages of the Darwin-based NT Times’ Thursday edition were intentionally left blank so that anyone caught short can cut up the paper to use when nature calls.

10

Briefing: five surprising consequences of coronavirus

The rapid spread of coronavirus has resulted in travel bans and hit stock markets, with the global economy set to suffer major losses owing to reduced productivity and rigorous containment measures.

But the outbreak has also had some rather more surprising consequences.

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