Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 29 Mar 2020


Johnson: coronavirus will get worse before it gets better

Boris Johnson has warned that the coronavirus crisis will get worse before it gets better. In a letter being sent to every UK household, the prime minister says stricter restrictions could be put in place if necessary. A leaflet will explain government rules on leaving the house and health information, following criticism that government advice to date has been unclear.



Donald Trump backs down on quarantining New York

Donald Trump has said quarantining New York “will not be necessary”, after the state's governor argued that doing so would be “preposterous”. Earlier, the US president had told the media he might impose a quarantine on New York, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut, to slow the spread of Covid-19. There are more than 52,000 cases in New York.



Italy's coronavirus death toll passes the 10,000 milestone

Italy announced 889 new deaths from Covid-19 yesterday, bringing total fatalities to 10,023. This was a fall from Friday, when the country recorded its highest daily rise in Covid-19 deaths - 969. There are 5,974 new cases of coronavirus, 470 fewer than on Friday. Tomorrow, flags will be flown at half-mast in cities across Italy to commemorate the victims of the virus.



Pregnant women left behind as maternity services close

Maternity and abortion services are shutting their doors because of the coronavirus outbreak. In several hospitals, expectant women have been told they are not allowed to have their partner present when they give birth. An MP said that pregnant women were left as “second-class citizens” with the closure of NHS services.



Wuhan reopens after months of coronavirus isolation

The Chinese city of Wuhan has partially re-opened after more than two months of isolation. The capital of Hubei province, where the pandemic began, saw more than 50,000 coronavirus cases. At least 3,000 people in Hubei died from the disease. People are being allowed to enter but not leave, according to local media.



Alex Salmond's QC describes him as a ‘sex pest’ and ‘bully’

Former SNP leader Alex Salmond was referred to as “a sex pest” and an “objectionable bully” by his own QC before being acquitted of all charges in his sex offences trial last week. In a video secretly filmed on a train, Gordon Jackson, Scotland’s most senior QC, said: “He’s a sex pest, but he’s not charged with that.”



North Korea fires two more projectiles into the ocean

North Korea apparently fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast on Sunday. The projectiles were launched from the coastal Wonsan area and flew 230km (143 miles) at a maximum altitude of 30km (19 miles), South Korea’s joint chiefs of staff said. They described the launches as “inappropriate”.


Setback as Taliban refuses to hold talks with the Afghan government

The Taliban has refused to hold talks with the Afghan government’s new negotiating team. A spokesman said the militant group could not talk to the 21-member team as it had not been assembled taking all parties into account. The Observer says the development is a “setback to the US-brokered peace process for one of the world’s longest-running conflicts”.



Netanyahu and Gantz ‘agree to rotate as Israeli PM’

Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz have agreed to take turns as Israeli prime minister, with the latter taking over in October 2021, according to the Jerusalem Post. “We are on the way to a national unity government to unite forces for you, to win our struggle against the coronavirus,” Netanyahu said in a on social media.



William and Catherine back mental health campaign

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are backing an initiative to protect people's mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. Endorsing the new guidance from Public Health England, Prince William and Catherine said: “The last few weeks have been anxious and unsettling for everyone. We have to take time to support each other and find ways to look after our mental health.”


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