Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 19 Apr 2020


Johnson's Covid-19 failings ‘cost thousands of lives’

Boris Johnson is under fire for his response to the coronavirus pandemic after The Sunday Times reported that he skipped five Cobra meetings, ignored calls to order protective gear and failed to listen to scientists’ warnings. The report concludes that “failings in February may have cost thousands of lives”.



Care home deaths in a week could double previous month

A new report claims that the number of deaths linked to coronavirus in UK care homes in one week could be double that of the whole previous month. The National Care Forum said if the pattern it found in its audit was mirrored across all residential and nursing homes, more than 4,000 elderly and disabled people have passed away.



Health expert warns there may never be Covid-19 vaccine

There is no guarantee that a Covid-19 vaccine can be successfully developed, one of the world’s leading experts on the disease has warned. David Nabarro, professor of global health at Imperial College, London, told The Observer: “Some viruses are very, very difficult… so for the foreseeable future, we are going to have to find ways to go about our lives with this virus as a constant threat.”


Schools may reopen as early as May under government plans

Schools could reopen as soon as May 11 under a three-phase plan being drawn up by senior ministers to lift the coronavirus lockdown. The first pupils allowed back would include primary school children and those in years 10 and 12 who are due to sit GCSEs and A-levels in 2021. Pupils of different ages would be taught for only part of the week or every other week.



Trump asks whether China deliberately spread Covid-19

Donald Trump has questioned whether China started the coronavirus deliberately. At his White House briefing, the US president warned that Beijing would face consequences if he found it was “knowingly responsible” for the spread of COVID-19. He has often referred to coronavirus as the "Chinese virus" in the past.


London 2012 boss called in to deal with PPE shortage

The boss of the London 2012 Olympics has been drafted in to try and solve the personal protective equipment crisis in UK hospitals. As unions warned NHS staff could walk out rather than work on coronavirus wards without gowns, Lord Paul Deighton, the chief executive of the 2012 Olympic games, was unveiled by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who compared him to the historic media chief Lord Beaverbrook.



Government minister says parks must remain fully open

Parks and cemeteries must remain open and family can attend loved ones' funerals, said Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick yesterday. During the daily briefing, the minister said “people need parks,” adding that he had “made it clear” to councils that all parks must remain open, after some closed their gates during the Covid-19 lockdown.



Lady Gaga and Elton John star in global Covid-19 concert

Lady Gaga, Elton John and the Rolling Stones were among the stars to take part in a global event from their homes to support frontline workers tackling the coronavirus outbreak. The eight-hour show also featured real-life stories from those on the front line of the pandemic. Lady Gaga, who organised the line-up, called the event “a love letter to the world”.



Could Covid-19 cause shortage in beer and soft drinks?

A shortage of beer and fizzy drinks could hit the US as supplies of carbon dioxide from ethanol plants dwindles. Ethanol production - which creates CO2 as a by-product - has fallen drastically due to the drop in petrol demand as a result of lockdown measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. Petrol demand is down by more than 30% in the US.



Dozens of Boko Haram suspects found dead in their Chad cell

A group of 44 suspected members of Boko Haram who were arrested in Chad have been found dead in their prison cell, seemingly poisoned, says the country’s chief prosecutor. Youssouf Tom says autopsies on four dead prisoners revealed traces of a lethal substance which had caused heart attacks in some victims and severe asphyxiation in others.


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