Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 22 Mar 2020

1

Johnson tells Britain not to visit family on Mother's Day

Boris Johnson has urged people in the UK not to visit loved ones on Mother's Day. The prime minister says the NHS could be “overwhelmed” if people do not act to slow the “accelerating” spread of coronavirus. As the number of people who have died in the UK with coronavirus rose to 233 on Saturday, Johnson called on the public to join a “heroic and collective national effort” and follow social distancing advice.

2

Italy's Lombardy region tightens coronavirus measures

The Italian region of Lombardy has imposed tighter measures in a bid to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Sport and physical activity outside, even individually, is banned. Work on most building sites will be stopped and all open-air weekly markets have been suspended. Lombardy is the worst-affected region in the country with 3,095 deaths.

 

3

Cummings said ‘too bad’ if pensioners die of coronavirus

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s senior aide, argued for a policy of herd immunity to deal with the coronavirus, claims The Sunday Times. According to those present at a private engagement last month, Cummings stated the government approach was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.

 

4

Holocaust survivor first to die from coronavirus in Israel

The first coronavirus death in Israel was an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor. He had received a number of treatments from medical staff in a bid to combat his symptoms. Aryeh Even, from Hungary, had rebuilt his life in Israel. He is survived by four children, 18 grandchildren and one great-grandson.

 

5

North Korea says Trump has sent a personal letter

North Korea said Donald Trump has sent Kim Jong Un a personal letter in which he expressed his willingness to help with “anti-epidemic work”. State-run media KCNA says Kim Yo Jong, first vice department director for WPK Central Committee, remarked: “We regard it as a good judgment and proper action for the US president to make efforts to keep the good relations he had with our Chairman.”

 

6

DWP managers being sent to benefit centres to help with flood

Senior staff at the Department for Work and Pensions are being posted in benefit centres to help them cope with a flood of claims from people who “rely on us to survive”. The workers, including managers, have been told they will be sent to “frontline roles” as job centre prepare for an increase in benefit applications from people who lose jobs or hours as the coronavirus epidemic spreads.

 

7

Finland is named world's happiest country again

Finland has been named the world’s happiest country for the third year in a row. The annual United Nations World Happiness Report put the Nordic country at number one once again. The UK fell short of the top 10, coming in 13th place. The least happy countries were said to be Afghanistan, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, Rwanda and Central African Republic.

 

8

Dangerous dam owners were warned about safety issues

The owners of a dam above Whaley Bridge were repeatedly warned about safety issues before heavy rain caused it to fail last year, according to an independent report. Canal & River Trust failed to carry out essential maintenance to keep the dam safe for residents of the picturesque Peak District town. Its other 71 reservoirs are now considered a cause for concern.

 

9

Trump won't let coronavirus stop work on ‘big, beautiful wall’

Donald Trump is accelerating construction of its multibillion-dollar southern border wall, despite the coronavirus epidemic. Shortly after the US president declared a national emergency, Customs and Border Protection announced plans to erect more than 150 miles of the 30ft border wall in Arizona, New Mexico and California. Trump has promised to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the 2,000-mile southern border.

 

10

Mo Farah back in the spotlight over report row

Mo Farah is back in the headlines after UK Anti-Doping accused the body in charge of British athletics of withholding important parts of a report into the Olympic champion’s American coach, which include the athlete’s sensitive medical data. The independent review examined the handling by UK Athletics of the row surrounding the Nike Oregon Project, where Farah trained with the now disgraced coach Alberto Salazar.

 

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