Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 13 Mar 2020

1

Surprise at UK’s moderate coronavirus measures

High-profile figures including former health secretary Jeremy Hunt have expressed surprised that the UK’s measures to tackle the coronavirus outbreak are not more draconian, as the government moves to the “delay” phase of its four-part emergency response plan. Anyone with a “new, continuous” cough or high temperature is now advised to self-isolate for seven days, but mass gatherings have not been banned and schools remain open - measures that have been introduced in many other countries.

2

Markets swing after biggest crash since 1987

Share prices dipped and rose violently on Asian markets this morning amid growing fears that the spread of the coronavirus will wipe out economic growth, with benchmarks in Japan, Thailand and India sinking by as much as 10%. The fluctuations came after both the London and New York markets yesterday suffered the worst losses since Black Monday in 1987. 

3

Canadian PM’s wife tests positive for coronavirus

Canadia’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie are self-isolating after she tested positive for the Covid-19 strain of coronavirus. The news comes days after UK politician Nadine Dorries, a junior health minister, announced that she has been infected. Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton also has the virus, while in South Korea there are 24 cases of infection in just one government ministry.

4

Trump ‘very concerned’ after posing with infected man

Donald Trump is “very concerned” about coming into contact with anyone who may have the coronavirus, according to CNN. The US president posed for a photograph last weekend with a Brazilian official who has since tested positive. Trump has denied being worried and the White House says he will not self-isolate, but a source told the broadcaster: “He is very concerned about all the people he met who have it, including the Brazilian.” 

5

Women banned from working alone with Alex Salmond, court hears

Alex Salmond was banned from working alone with female civil servants at his official residence as Scotland’s first minister after a staffer accused him of sexually assaulting her there, a court heard yesterday. A witness made the claim - which relates to an alleged incident in April 2014 - on the fourth day of Salmond’s trial in Edinburgh for 14 sexual offence charges, including attempted rape, against a total of ten women. 

6

UK and EU to ‘dial down Brexit rhetoric’

UK and EU negotiators have jointly agreed to “dial down the rhetoric” on Brexit, in the hopes of getting to an agreement on future relations after the end of the transition period, an unnamed source has told The Guardian. The two sides are expected to produce legal texts of their negotiating positions some time within the next week.

7

Chelsea Manning released after suicide attempt

A judge in Virginia has ordered that former US intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning should be released from jail after being held since last May, because testimony she refused to give in an inquiry into WikiLeaks is no longer needed. Manning, who leaked hundreds of thousands of US secret documents to WikiLeaks in 2010, was reported earlier this week to have attempted suicide.

8

Met police ‘failed to act on damning Operation Midland review’

London’s Metropolitan Police were more concerned with “restricting access” to rather than learning lessons from a damning report into its bungled Operation Midland investigation into a VIP paedophile ring invented by fantasist Carl Beech, a review has found. A police watchdog found that the force took three years to begin implementing recommendations made by retired High Court judge Sir Richard Henriques in his 2016 review.

9

Illegal drug-taking ‘increasing across Europe’

The recreational use of illegal drugs is on the rise across Europe, analysis of sewage samples from 68 cities in 23 countries shows. The tests, carried out in March 2019, showed an increase of traces of amphetamine, cocaine, MDMA/ecstasy and methamphetamine, according to researchers from the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA). 

10

Briefing: how did coronavirus start?

Coronavirus has spread to 120 countries, with significant outbreaks in China, Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Wednesday saw the biggest daily rise in UK cases, which have now reached 456. Here is what we know about the origin of coronavirus.

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