Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 9 May 2020

1

UK scientists slam ‘Stalinist censorship’ of advice

Government scientists have condemned a “Stalinist” attempt to censor Covid-19 advice. Large chunks of text in a report, produced by a subcommittee of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies, were entirely blanked out. Several sub-committee members told The Guardian that the redacted portions of the document contained criticisms they had made of potential government policies they had been asked to consider in late March and early April.

2

Treasury now mulling a more gradual exit from furlough

The Treasury is considering a more gradual exit from the furlough scheme than originally planned, reports the Financial Times. Ministers have signalled it will be phased out gradually over the summer, with some workers allowed to return part-time. Politics Home says the scheme will be extended beyond June. An announcement is expected on Tuesday.

3

Unions warn of risk to teachers when schools reopen

Teaching unions say schools should not reopen unless key measures are introduced to stop the spread of coronavirus. There is speculation schools may return in England from 1 June but the British Irish Group of Teacher Unions has warned of the “very real risk of creating a spike in the transmission of the virus by a premature opening of schools”.

4

Six-week old baby dies of the coronavirus in England

A six-week-old baby has become the youngest known person to die from coronavirus in England. It is unclear whether the baby had any underlying health problems. The infant was among 332 people who are the latest to have died after testing positive for the virus, bringing the total death toll in English hospitals to 22,764. 

5

Queen says British streets are ‘filled with love and care’

The Queen has paid tribute to Britain's lockdown spirit in a speech on the 75th anniversary of VE Day. During the address, which the Daily Mail described as “electrifying”, she said those who fought in the Second World War would admire the nation’s response to the pandemic. She added: “Our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.”

6

More figures around Trump test positive for Covid-19

Several White House figures have contracted Covid-19, bringing the pandemic closer to home for President Donald Trump. Ivanka Trump's personal assistant has tested positive for coronavirus, and so have Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary one of Trump’s Oval Office valets. CNN says the news does little to boost confidence the nation is ready to return to normal.

7

Ministers to introduce 14-day quarantine for arrivals

The government will bring in a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland, UK airlines have been told. The measure is expected to take effect at the end of this month. However, industry body Airlines UK said the policy needed “a credible exit plan” and should be reviewed on a weekly basis.

8

Scientists say warm weather has little effect on spread of virus

Researchers in Canada say warm weather is unlikely to significantly reduce the spread of coronavirus. The scientists examined the spread of Covid-19 around the world in late March in places with different humidity levels and latitudes. Dr Peter Juni, of the University of Toronto, said that the team found little or no link between infection spread and temperature or latitude, and only a weak association with humidity.

9

Economists tells governments to print free money

A leading economist has urged governments to follow in the footsteps of Donald Trump and give away “free money” to boost economies. David McWilliams, a former economist at the Central Bank of Ireland, said money should be printed and put into the accounts of the public and businesses in a bid to boost consumer spending and battle deflationary shock.

10

UK council backs down on transgender toilet guidance

Oxfordshire county council has scrapped guidance urging schools to allow transgender pupils to choose which toilets they use after a 13-year-old girl challenged it at the High Court. The girl said the council’s “trans toolkit” infringed on her right to privacy. She said she was also “worried about girls in other schools around the country who have these guidelines”.

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