Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 7 May 2020
UK lockdown ‘to be eased over five steps’
Britain will leave the coronavirus lockdown in a five-stage plan between now and October. From Monday, people will be able to do unlimited exercise and garden centres could reopen. In June, schools will reopen and outdoor gatherings of fewer than 30 people will be allowed. Pubs, bars and restaurants could open in late August, followed by gyms in October.
Trump says Covid-19 ‘worse attack than Pearl Harbor’
Donald Trump has described the coronavirus as the “worst attack” ever on the United States. The president said: “This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There's never been an attack like this.” Trump is considering punitive actions against China over its early handling of the emergency but Beijing says he is trying to distract from his failings.
PPE gowns flown to UK from Turkey fail UK standards
All 400,000 PPE gowns flown from Turkey for the NHS have failed UK standards. In April, ministers hailed the “very significant” imminent shipment of gowns, but last night the Department for Health and Social Care confirmed that the items were being held in a facility near Heathrow airport. It is understood that they are due to be sent back.
Government keeps missing the 100,000 daily test target
The government has failed for the fourth time in a row to hit the 100,000-a-day target for coronavirus testing. As Boris Johnson set a new target of capacity for 200,000 tests a day by the end of May, doctors and opposition MPs described his announcement as a stunt to distract from Wednesday’s shortfall, with just 69,463 tests carried out or posted to recipients.
Labour MP sacked as carer after speaking out on PPE
A Labour MP who returned to work as a carer for the elderly says she has been sacked for speaking out about the lack of PPE. Nadia Whittome had been working at Lark Hill retirement village for weeks but was axed by Extra Care charitable trust. Whittome, who did not blame the company for the lack of PPE, said she was “appalled” by the dismissal.
Ferguson’s immunity claim muddies water on official position
The government has been urged to clarify its scientific advice on coronavirus immunity after former adviser Neil Ferguson said he thought he was immune when he broke lockdown rules. Professor Ferguson resigned after it was revealed he had allowed his married lover to visit him at home during the lockdown.
Iraq appoints new prime minister
Iraq has appointed a new prime minister after months of political squabbling. Mustafa al-Kadhimi, Iraq’s intelligence chief and a former journalist, will head the new government. Iraqis say Kadhimi is acceptable to both Washington and Tehran, but he will begin his reign without a full cabinet after several ministerial candidates were rejected.
Tributes pour in for Kraftwerk's co-founder Schneider
Tributes have been paid to Florian Schneider, co-founder of electronic pop group Kraftwerk, who died at the age of 73. Singer Edwyn Collins said of the German: “He's God”. Midge Ure described Schneider as “way ahead of his time”. Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp said Schneider had created “a new Metropolis of music for us all to live in”.
Israel court ruling paves the way for coalition government
Israel’s supreme court has rubber-stamped the coalition agreement between the prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and Benny Gantz, setting the scene for a unity government to be sworn in next week. Although eight separate petitions were filed from opponents of the pact, the court ruled “there was no legal reason to prevent the formation of a government” led by Netanyahu.
John Lewis reveals middle-class coronavirus purchases
Male grooming products, pasta makers, bread machines, cocktail ingredients and elastic for face masks are among the products selling well at John Lewis and Waitrose during the coronavirus pandemic. In what The Times describes as a “barometer of the middle-class consumer,” sales data also shows a growth in interest in traditional games such as swing-ball, Scrabble, Monopoly and Lego.