Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 11 May 2020


Johnson’s speech leaves Britain ‘confused and divided’

Boris Johnson’s announcement of changes to the nationwide coronavirus lockdown has been met with criticism. The prime minister yesterday revealed a “conditional plan” that allows people in England to spend more time outdoors from Wednesday, but Labour leader Keir Starmer said Johnson’s televised address raised “more questions than it answers”, while The Guardian says the relaxation of the rules has left Britain “confused and divided”.


Scientists fear coronavirus is mutating to humans

Scientists say they have found evidence of mutations in some strains of coronavirus that suggest the pathogen may be adapting to humans. An analysis of more than 5,300 coronavirus genomes from 62 countries by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine revealed mutations in some that may help the virus spread more quickly. The development will be watched closely by teams working on a vaccine.


Covid-19 cases increasing again in China

The Chinese city of Shulan has been placed under lockdown following a rise in new cases of Covid-19. State media says the city has reported 11 new virus cases in the past day - all linked to an infected laundry woman. The development comes just a week after China designated all regions in the country as either low or medium risk.


Chomsky blames Trump for thousands of US deaths

Noam Chomsky says Donald Trump has caused the deaths of thousands of Americans by using the coronavirus pandemic to boost his electoral prospects and support the business community. The professor says the US president has cut government funding for healthcare and research into infectious disease in order to further line the pockets of wealthy corporations.


Sunak ‘will extend reduced furlough scheme’

The UK government will continue bankrolling wages until the end of September at a reduced rate of 60%, The Daily Telegraph reports. Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce reforms this week to the coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is costing an estimated £16bn a month. 


Saudi Arabia triples VAT and suspends key allowance

Saudi Arabia is tripling its VAT and suspending its cost of living allowance as part of strict measures to support its coronavirus-hit economy. The oil-rich kingdom has suffered serious economic challenges as the impact of the pandemic forces down global energy prices. State spending has outstripped income, pushing the economy into a $9bn (£7.2bn) budget deficit in the first three months of the year.


Iranian ship sunk during ‘friendly fire’ incident

A ship carrying dozens of sailors has been sunk after an Iranian navy “friendly fire” incident, according to local media. The frigate Jamaran was reportedly testing a new anti-ship missile that locked onto and struck Konarak, a logistical vessel. Iranian news agency Fars says that one sailor was killed and several others were injured in the naval exercise.


Syrian asylum seeker dies after being moved to hotel

A 30-year-old man died after being moved from his asylum housing in Glasgow to a hotel in the city as part of the Home Office’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, it has emerged. Emergency services were called to the hotel last week following the sudden death, which police say is being treated as “unexplained”. Refugee activists have called for an independent inquiry into the decision to move asylum seekers from their flats.


Top chef warns restaurant industry is on brink

A Michelin-starred chef has warned that the UK restaurant industry is in danger of collapsing unless it receives more help from the government. Marcus Wareing told Sky News there will be widespread restaurant closures and a “huge amount” of unemployment if more is not done to support the sector, which is worth £100bn a year to the UK.


Premier League officials meet after players test positive

Premier League football officials will meet today to continue talks on Project Restart. The government is expected to announce that some elite athletes can start an initial phase of restricted group training within days, in what the BBC describes as a “decisive week” in deciding when or whether to begin professional matches again. Meanwhile, players have tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, Germany and Spain.

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