Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 30 Apr 2020

1

Johnson to lead Covid-19 briefing on tests deadline day

Boris Johnson will this afternoon lead the government’s daily Covid-19 briefing for the first time since his recovery from the virus and a day after becoming a father again. The prime minister - who spent a week in hospital early this month - is returning to the spotlight on the deadline date for the government’s target of 100,000 daily coronavirus tests. Johnson and his fiancee Carrie Symonds announced the birth of a son yesterday.

2

Global trial boosts coronavirus treatment hopes

A drug used to treat Ebola has shown “very promising” early results in trials involving more than 1,000 coronavirus patients admitted to hospitals worldwide, scientists say. US chief medical officer Dr Anthony Fauci said Remdesivir had a “clear-cut significant positive effect in diminishing time to recovery” for people with Covid-19, with patients put on the drug getting better 31% faster on average than those given a placebo. 

3

Wetherspoons boss hoping to reopen pubs in June

The founder and chair of pub giant JD Wetherspoon says he hopes to start reopening his bars and hotels in late June. Tim Martin - who before the nationwide lockdown vowed to keep his pubs open as long as possible - says the chain’s large buildings and beer gardens would make it possible for customers to observe social distancing. The company has furloughed 99% of its 43,000 employees, after closing all of its 867 pubs on 20 March in compliance with government orders.

4

Socially distanced Tube ‘would be overwhelmed’

An internal briefing to government emergency planners warns that the London Underground would be “rapidly overwhelmed” if social distancing rules were maintained once the coronavirus lockdown is lifted, the BBC reports. The broadcaster, which has seen the document, says the briefing also warns of added pressure on police, who could be called in to manage crowds and enforce restrictions.

5

Fundraiser promoted to colonel on 100th birthday

Tom Moore has been promoted from captain to colonel as he celebrates his 100th birthday today, in recognition of his achievement in raising almost £30m for the NHS on a sponsored walk in the garden of his Bedfordshire home. Moore was granted the rank of honorary colonel with the approval of the Queen. The RAF has organised a Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flypast of a Spitfire and a Hurricane to mark his birthday.

6

Island communities ‘could exit lockdown first’

Cabinet minister Michael Gove yesterday suggested that pilot schemes to lift coronavirus lockdown restrictions could be tried on island communities in the UK. Addressing a House of Commons select committee, Gove said he personally favoured lifting the lockdown across the whole nation, rather than regionally, but could see a case for island trials.

7

Sainsbury’s boss: ‘social distancing until September’

Sainsbury’s boss Mike Coupe says customers are likely to have to observe social distancing by queuing to enter the chain’s stores until September. The company has warned that around £500m is likely to be wiped from its annual profits, as social distancing measures together with falls in clothing and fuel sales offset a surge in grocery trade.

8

Harrison Ford investigated over piloting error

Hollywood veteran Harrison Ford is being investigated by the US civil aviation regulator after his plane crossed a runway as another aircraft was coming in to land last week. Ford was flying alone and said he misheard an instruction not to taxi over the runway at Hawthorne airport in Los Angeles. A collector of vintage aircraft, he has held a private pilot’s licence for more than 20 years.

9

Emma Thompson stars in Extinction Rebellion film

A 12-minute film being released online tomorrow stars Oscar-winner Dame Emma Thompson as a climate change protester with the group Extinction Rebellion. In keeping with the organisation’s beliefs, the production of the movie, called Extinction, was entirely vegan, and the crew and cast – including Thompson – travelled to the set on public transport each day.

10

Briefing: is Trump on course to win the 2020 election?

This year’s US presidential election will take place against the backdrop of never-before-seen circumstances, with a rising death toll from the new coronavirus and an economy reeling from the pandemic’s impact.

CNN reports that President Donald Trump’s response to the virus has “upended Republican plans for how to run against Democrats”, leaving the party “worried about November’s election”.

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