Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 9 Apr 2020

1

UK lockdown ‘to continue for at least another month’

The UK government’s Cobra emergency committee is meeting today to discuss the duration of the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus. No formal decision on extending the lockdown is expected until early next week, but former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said it is “reasonable” to expect the social distancing measures to remain in place for at least another month.

2

Leaders urging public to ‘stay at home for Easter’

Political leaders from across the UK including London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon will come together today to launch a Stay at Home this Easter campaign, amid fears that members of the public will break the lockdown to enjoy a predicted heatwave this weekend. In Cornwall, locals have reported the arrival of 650 second-home owners or holidaymakers to the council in the past five days.

3

US says virus mitigation efforts are working

The White House coronavirus task force has expressed cautious optimism that efforts to mitigate the outbreak by social distancing and limiting activity are working – and says the eventual US death toll may be lower than the 100,000 to 240,000 previously predicted by its experts. New projections by a team at the University of Washington School of Medicine estimate that the virus will kill 60,000 people in the US over the next four months.

4

Downing Street: cats do not spread coronavirus

A spokesperson for No. 10 yesterday insisted there is no evidence that cats or other pets can spread the new coronavirus between humans. The statement followed an outcry after the British Veterinary Association said cats should be kept indoors where possible during the outbreak. The government spokesperson said that Larry, the Downing Street mouser, was going about his business as normal.

5

Lorry driver admits killing 39 Vietnamese migrants

A 25-year-old lorry driver who was part of an alleged people-smuggling ring has admitted the manslaughter of 39 Vietnamese migrants who were discovered in the back of his refrigerated trailer in Essex in October. Maurice Robinson, from County Armagh in Northern Ireland, appeared at a virtual Old Bailey hearing yesterday because of the coronavirus restrictions.

6

One Million Claps appeal bid to raise £5m for NHS staff

People taking part in the weekly clap at 8pm on Thursdays to celebrate health workers are being asked to also donate to a charity appeal seeking to raise at least £5m for NHS staff. NHS Charities Together says members of the public who want to show their support financially can text “clap” to 70507 to donate £5. Dame Vera Lynn and Katherine Jenkins are also raising funds for the cause by releasing a duet of We’ll Meet Again, inspired by the reference to the wartime song in the Queen’s address to the nation on Sunday.

7

Millers labouring to meet lockdown flour demand

Employees at flour mills in the UK are working around the clock to try to meet an increase in demand apparently prompted by increasing numbers of people baking at home during the coronavirus lockdown, the BBC reports. The broadcaster says its online recipe section has seen “record traffic” in recent weeks, with 875% more hits than usual for a basic bread recipe.

8

Disney Plus attracts 50 million subscribers in five months

Disney’s new video streaming service has racked up more than 50 million subscribers worldwide since launching five months ago. In February, the Disney Plus channel had 26.5 million subscribers, but this figure has now almost doubled as people worldwide seek entertainment during lockdowns. Disney rolled the service out in the UK last month.

9

How Instagram wooed Gaga and Pope Francis

A new book about Instagram reveals the extraordinary lengths that the social network’s founders went to to woo high-profile clients including the Pope and Lady Gaga. In No Filter, Bloomberg journalist Sarah Frier says that Instagram employees flew across the US to New York to give Gaga a personal lesson on how to use a new tool on the app, and secured an audience with the Pope to persuade him to join up.

10

Briefing: behind Trump’s obsession with hydroxychloroquine

Donald Trump has again touted the supposed benefits of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to combat the new coronavirus.

The drug has not been shown to be effective against Covid-19, and some experts have warned that it may not be safe.

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