Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 22 Apr 2020

1

Turkish PPE plane arrives – but supplies limited

An RAF plane bringing urgently needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from Turkey for UK healthworkers touched down in Oxfordshire this morning following days of delays – but there are fears that the Turkish supplier did not have enough stock to fulfil the 84-ton order. The shipment is supposed to include 400,000 protective gowns.

2

Only quarter of carers getting Covid-19 tests

Only a quarter of social care workers eligible to have Covid-19 tests have managed to access them, according to data from the National Care Forum. Many carers say they face too long a journey to get to a testing centre, with one woman in Scarborough telling Sky News that her nearest option was in Leeds - a 140-mile round trip - and that she does not have a driving licence.

3

British ‘jihadist rapper’ arrested in Spain

One of the most wanted British jihadists associated with Islamic State has been arrested in Spain. Abdel-Majed Abdel-Bary dabbled in gangsta-rap in the UK under the name L. Jinny before moving to Syria, where he was photographed posing with the severed head of a Syrian soldier, among other atrocities. He is believed to have been detained by Spanish police in the Mediterranean port city of Almeria, but it is unclear whether the UK authorities will seek to extradite him for terrorist offences.

4

EU medical equipment scheme row continues

A senior source in Brussels has disputed the UK government’s claim that it was not invited to join a scheme to source medial equipment, the BBC reports. A senior civil servant yesterday told a select committee that the government had taken a “political decision” not to enter the scheme, but later retracted that claim. Ministers have insisted they did not receive emails alerting them to the March deadline for joining the programme to procure gowns, ventilators and testing kits.

5

Canada mass shooting: death toll reaches 23

The death toll from the worst mass shooting in Canada’s history has climbed to 23, as police continue to find the bodies of victims. There is still no clue as to the motive of the suspect, 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, who was killed by police. He is alleged to have attacked people at multiple locations across Nova Scotia and to have started five fires during a 14-hour rampage over the weekend.

6

Trump’s malaria drug ‘has no effect on Covid-19’

An anti-malaria drug touted by US President Donald Trump as a “game changer” has been shown to provide no benefit in the fight against Covid-19 – and may actually increase the risk of death. A new US study analysed the effect of taking hydroxychloroquine on 368 coronavirus patients and found that 28% of those given the drug died, compared with 11% of those who received routine care alone. 

7

Drivers ‘using roads as racetrack’ in lockdown

Police in London and Manchester say they have caught drivers travelling at astonishing speeds – including 134mph in a 40mph-limit area – since the coronavirus lockdown began. An officer in Manchester claimed offenders were using near-deserted roads as “their own personal racetrack”. Police warned that any crashes would put huge strain on the already struggling emergency services.

8

Yachting couple ‘knew nothing of pandemic’

A Manchester couple who set sail across the Atlantic in their yacht before the new coronavirus began spreading across the world have been allowed to dock in the Caribbean island of Saint Vincent after convincing the authorities that they have been isolated togather out at sea during the pandemic. Elena Manighetti and Ryan Osborne, who quit their jobs in 2017 to travel the world, sailed from the Canary Islands for 25 days before first trying to dock in the Caribbean in mid-March - when they then learned about the global outbreak.

9

How ‘curse of Nobel Prize’ cuts down careers

Scientists who win a Nobel Prize go on to enjoy less academic success following the honour, a new study has found. Researchers in Illinois found that winners were cited 11% less in scientific papers – a measure of the impact of their research – in the two years after receiving the prize. Possible causes for the decline include a tendency by winners to shift to new areas of science.

10

Briefing: why is it so hard to get adequate PPE?

Doctors in the UK are being forced to decide whether to treat coronavirus patients or protect themselves because of a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE).

With supplies running critically low, Dr Alison Pittard, the dean of the faculty of intensive care medicine, said her members were “concerned about having to make those sorts of decisions”.

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