Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 25 Apr 2020

1

Dominic Cummings attended meetings of scientific group

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s controversial chief political adviser, is on the secret scientific group advising the government on the coronavirus pandemic, according to The Guardian. Ben Warner, a data scientist on the Vote Leave campaign, is also in the group. The government says Cummings has only listened in on the meetings.

2

Ministers were warned last year about chance viral pandemic

The UK government was warned last year about the prospect of a viral pandemic hitting the UK and urged to stockpile PPE. Ministers were told to draw up plans to monitor and contact-trace infected patients and manage a surge in deaths. The Mirror says that Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance signed off the document, which warned: “A novel pandemic virus could be highly transmissible and highly virulent.”

3

Trump's bleach idea came after note from strange group

Donald Trump’s suggestion that bleach could be injected into bodies as a cure for the coronavirus came days after the leader of a prominent group in the US peddling that theory wrote to the White House. Mark Grenon told Trump that chlorine dioxide is “a wonderful detox that can kill 99% of the pathogens in the body”. He added that it “can rid the body of Covid-19”.

4

Public told to still seek medical care despite coronavirus

People should continue to seek medical care when they need it despite the coronavirus epidemic, say doctors, charities and the health service. With half the usual number of people going to A&E, and treatment for heart attacks and strokes both down, experts say those who delay seeking treatment are putting their lives at risk.

5

Bill Gates compares Covid-19 pandemic to a world war

Bill Gates says the coronavirus pandemic is “like a world war, except we’re all on the same side”. Speaking to The Sunday Times, the Microsoft founder, who has previously forecast a serious pandemic, said: “In terms of shaping your view of government and life and what’s important . . . I think this generation will be forever marked by what goes on in this pandemic.”

6

Michel Barnier says UK is running down the clock on Brexit

Michel Barnier claims the UK is running down the clock in talks over the future trade and security relationship with the European Union. The claim was denied in Whitehall but a London spokesman did say: “We regret that the detail of the EU’s offer on goods trade falls well short of recent precedent in free trade agreements it has agreed with other sovereign countries.” 

7

Brazilian politics in chaos after influential minister quits

Brazil is facing fresh political turmoil after the resignation of a powerful minister sparked calls for the president’s impeachment and an investigation into claims he had improperly interfered in the country’s federal police. Responding to the resignation and the allegations he is facing, President Jair Bolsonaro said: “Sorry Mr Minister, you won’t make a liar of me.”

8

Was a domestic assault the catalyst for Nova Scotia shootings?

Domestic violence could have been the spur for the Nova Scotia shooting rampage that left 22 people dead, says the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. A police time line suggests the 12-hour rampage began when the gunman assaulted his longtime girlfriend. The woman escaped and hid in the woods after the assault. “It very well could have been the catalyst,” said a spokesman.

9

Biden warns that Trump will try to postpone election

Joe Biden believes that Donald Trump will try to delay the November presidential election. “Mark my words, I think he is going to try to kick back the election somehow, come up with some rationale why it can’t be held,” said the Democrat hopeful. The Guardian says that Congress would have to intervene for the date of the election to be changed.

10

Could Premier League football be back within weeks?

Premier League football could be back on within weeks, according to reports this morning. In what The Sun describes as “a major boost for bored Brits,” Downing Street has been briefed on plans for matches to be played behind closed doors and broadcast on public platforms. A Whitehall source said: “It would give the whole country a huge lift.”

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