Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 14 May 2020

1

WHO says Covid-19 ‘may never go away’

The World Health Organization has warned that the Covid-19 coronavirus may never be wiped out entirely but instead become endemic like HIV. Emergencies director Dr Mike Ryan said: “It is important to put this on the table: this virus may become just another endemic virus in our communities, and this virus may never go away.” He added that even if a vaccine is found, controlling the new coronavirus will require a “massive effort”.

2

Antibody test approved for use in UK is ‘100% accurate’

Public Health England says that a new coronavirus antibody test has been approved for use in the UK after being found to be 100% accurate. Scientists who carried out an independent evaluation at the health body’s Porton Down facility have concluded that Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche’s serology test is “highly specific”. The test looks for antibodies to see if a person has already had the virus and may now have some immunity.

3

Up to 100 UK children affected by disease linked to virus

Up to 100 children in the UK have been afflicted by a new disease believed to be linked to the coronavirus. At least one child, a 14-year-old boy, has died after suffering a stroke caused by complications of treatment for the new syndrome, which leads to an inflammatory response in the body’s immune system causing blood vessels to swell.

4

Rishi Sunak warns ‘significant recession’ is on cards

The chancellor has warned it is “very likely” that the UK is in a “significant recession”. Newly published figures shows the economy is contracting at the fastest pace since the financial crisis of 2008. Rishi Sunak told the BBC that just “a few days of impact from the virus” in March was enough to push the economy into decline, and analysts expect an even greater slump in the current quarter.

5

NHS workers ‘facing two-year pay freeze’

NHS staff and key workers may face a two-year pay freeze under government cost-cutting plans, according to The Mirror. A Treasury paper says scrapping public sector wage rises could save £6.5bn, but the Police Federation has warned Chancellor Rishi Sunak that such a move would be a “deep betrayal” of the workers, who have been praised for their sacrifices during the coronavirus pandemic.

6

No pedestrians fatally hit by cars in NY streets for record 58 days

No pedestrian in locked-down New York City has been fatally struck by a car for 58 days - the longest period since records began. However, the city’s Department of Transportation commissioner warned: “Unfortunately, some drivers are taking advantage of our empty streets to speed recklessly, and we know we can never let up our vigilance.”

7

EU fears Isis terrorists may exploit pandemic

A European Union official has warned that Islamic State has “incited its supporters in the West to take advantage of the current [Covid-19] crisis to stage attacks”. In a confidential briefing to member nations seen by the Associated Press, counterterrorism co-ordinator Gilles de Kerchove said that right-wing extremists and Islamic militants “could view attacks on medical personnel and facilities as highly effective, because they would generate a massive shock”. 

8

White men least likely to study at postgraduate level

White men from disadvantaged backgrounds are the least likely social group to study at postgraduate level, according to a new study. The paper from the Higher Education Policy Institute also found that more young women are taking postgraduate qualifications than ten years ago and that universities have become heavily reliant on China for a supply of students to take the lucrative courses.

9

Brexit: ministers admit there will be Irish Sea checks

Boris Johnson’s government has conceded that there will be post-Brexit checks on goods crossing the Irish Sea. Months after the prime minister insisted there would be no such trade barriers, the government has written to the executive office in Stormont to confirm there will be border control posts at three ports: Belfast, Warrenpoint and Larne.

10

Football ace Dele Alli held at knifepoint in his home

Football star Dele Alli was held at knifepoint during a burglary at his home in the early hours of yesterday morning. Two men broke into the 24-year-old’s house in north London and threatened and punched the Spurs and England midfielder. The thieves escaped with watches and jewellery worth thousands of pounds from the star’s £2m home.

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