Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 6 Apr 2020

1

Boris Johnson admitted to hospital with coronavirus

Boris Johnson was admitted to an unnamed London hospital last night as he continues to experience “persistent” symptoms of coronavirus ten days after testing positive for the infection, a Downing Street spokesperson has announced. The move “is a precautionary step” that was “taken on the advice of his doctor”, said the spokesperson. The prime minister’s pregnant partner, Carrie Symonds, revealed on Saturday that she had also shown Covid-19 symptoms but was recovering.

2

Keir Starmer begins shadow cabinet overhaul

Keir Starmer began assembling his cabinet yesterday, after being named on Saturday as the winner of the Labour Party leadership ballot. Starmer has appointed leadership candidate Lisa Nandy as shadow foreign secretary, with former Oxford don Nick Thomas-Symonds as shadow home secretary, and Anneliese Dodds replacing John McDonnell as shadow chancellor. Newly elected Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner has been named as party chair.

3

Scotland’s chief medical officer resigns over second home row

Scotland’s chief medical officer has quit after facing mounting criticism for breaching UK lockdown rules by twice travelling from her primary home in Edinburgh to a second residence more than an hour away. Announcing her resignation on Sunday, Catherine Calderwood said: “People across Scotland… must have complete trust in those who give them advice.” Calderwood had issued an apology hours earlier after being photographed with her husband and three children near their coastal retreat in Earlsferry, Fife - and admitted it was their second visit during the lockdown.

4

Queen urges Britons to stay strong during pandemic

The Queen last night applauded the work of health professionals and other essential workers battling the coronavirus pandemic, in only the fifth special televised address of her reign other than Christmas speeches. “We should take comfort that, while we may have more still to endure, better days will return - we will be with our friends again, we will be with our families again, we will meet again,” the Queen said, in an apparent reference to Vera Lynn’s wartime anthem We’ll Meet Again.

5

Irish PM re-registers as doctor to work on virus front line

Irish premier Leo Varadkar is to work as a doctor one day a week to help combat his country’s coronavirus outbreak, after rejoining the medical register in March, his office has announced. Varadkar - who worked as a doctor for seven years before leaving the profession for full-time politics - is reportedly doing phone assessments for Ireland’s Health Service Executive, in keeping with the protocol that anyone exposed to the virus is initially evaluated remotely.

6

Trump urges Covid-19 patients to take unproven drug

Donald Trump used his daily press conferences on Saturday and Sunday to promote a common anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for the new coronavirus - despite health experts warning that more study is needed into the effectiveness of using the medication as a means to combat the pandemic. The US president insists that “there are some very strong, powerful signs” of the potential of the drug, which is “being tested now”. Trump revealed that the US has stockpiled 29 million hydroxychloroquine pills.

7

Covid-19 kills two British grandees

Lord Bath, the 7th Marquess of Bath, has died at the age of 87 after contracting the Covid-19 coronavirus. According to a statement on the Twitter account of Longleat House, his home and safari park, the aristocrat died on Saturday after being admitted to the Royal United hospital in Bath on 28 March. The virus has also claimed the life of Sir John Laws, a retired senior judge and uncle of No. 10 adviser Dominic Cummings. Laws, 74, died at Chelsea and Westminster hospital in London on Sunday, after being admitted three weeks ago.

8

France knife attack deemed terrorism

A third person has been detained in an anti-terrorism investigation over a knife attack on a small town in France on Saturday that left two people dead and several injured, authorities said Sunday. The victims were attacked while shopping for food in Romans-sur-Isere, south of Lyon, as is permitted daily during France’s coronavirus lockdown. The assailant was arrested minutes later, as he kneeled on the pavement praying in Arabic. Two other suspects have since been arrested, and all are Sudanese, the country’s anti-terror prosecutor’s office said. 

9

Tiger in New York zoo tests positive for coronavirus

A tiger at New York City’s Bronx Zoo has tested positive for the new coronavirus, becoming the first of her species known to have been infected. Nadia, a four-year-old female Malayan tiger, has developed a dry cough but is expected to recover. “It is not known how this disease will develop in big cats since different species can react differently to novel infections, but we will continue to monitor them closely and anticipate full recoveries,” the zoo said.

10

Europe’s Wuhan: inside Germany’s groundbreaking coronavirus experiment

Germany’s worst-hit district will be used as a real-life laboratory to study the spread of coronavirus.

A team of virologists and researchers have turned Heinsberg, a town in western Germany that borders the Netherlands, into a “Covid-19 case cluster study”.

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