Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 15 May 2020

1

Boris Johnson plans war on fat after his hospital spell

Boris Johnson is preparing to launch a war on fat after his spell in hospital with the novel coronavirus. The Times says the PM is planning a “much more interventionist” drive to tackle obesity as researchers say being obese doubles the risk of needing hospital treatment for Covid-19. He reportedly remarked “it’s all right for you thinnies” when discussing the disease in Downing Street. 

2

Coronavirus ‘could be wiped out in London in weeks’

The Covid-19 coronavirus could be wiped out in London within weeks as the rate of infection slows, claims Sky News. The number of people becoming infected each day in the capital has fallen to 24, with the rate of infections in England also slowing, according to modelling by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge's MRC Biostatistics Unit.

3

Union says teachers can legally refuse to return to school

Teachers can legally refuse to return when schools reopen due to health risks, one of the UK’s leading teaching unions has declared. The NASUWT is threatening legal action to defend teachers against being forced back into schools in June. “Stringent guidance has been issued for the NHS, for care homes and for employers across the UK. It is unacceptable that this has not been the case for schools,” it says.

4

WHO says 250m people will catch Covid-19 in Africa

Nearly a quarter of a billion people in Africa will catch coronavirus over the next year, predicts the World Health Organization. About one in four (22%) of the one billion people in the 47 countries measured will be infected in the first year of the pandemic, the model suggests. The continent’s younger demography will result in lower death rates, the authors say.

5

Government's PPE warehouses are ‘in chaos’

The warehouses of the private firm running the government’s stockpile of personal protective equipment (PPE) are in “chaos,” according to drivers and other sources. The Guardian says there is now doubt over whether Movianto, the subsidiary of a US healthcare giant, is able to adequately manage and distribute the nation’s emergency stockpile.

6

More than 19 million Brits may have already had Covid-19

More than 19 million Britons may have already been infected with coronavirus and recovered, according to experts at Manchester University. Meanwhile, health experts at the University of Washington predict the UK is on course to have its first day with no Covid-19 deaths on 30 July and the death toll will dip below 100 by 14 June.

7

Diabetes sufferers one-quarter of UK's Covid-19 deaths

One in four coronavirus deaths in hospitals are people who have diabetes, according to health service data. The NHS England report also shows that a fifth of those dying had dementia and a sixth had chronic pulmonary disease. Partha Kar, national speciality adviser for diabetes for the NHS, said it is now clear that diabetes increases the risk of dying from the infection.

8

Government was warned ahead of care home statement

Ministers were warned of serious transmission of coronavirus weeks before they told care homes it was “very unlikely” residents would be infected. Although the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling committee warned on 10 February that there was a “realistic probability” that there is already a “sustained transmission in the UK,” on 25 February, Public Health England told care homes that there was “currently no transmission of Covid-19 in the community”.

9

Use of Tasers against black men ‘disproportionately high’

The police watchdog says Tasers are being used disproportionately against black men and mentally ill suspects. The Independent Office for Police Conduct is asking for transparency after a government drive to arm up to 10,000 more police officers with the stun guns. Amid a surge in use, 20% of incidents involved black people, who make up only 3.3% of the population. 

10

Coronation Street star wanted in Ghana over military jet sales

A former Coronation Street actor is wanted for questioning by police in Ghana in relation to the sale of military planes to the west African government. Philip Middlemiss, who played the role of the womaniser Des Barnes during the 1990s, has been linked to an alleged bribery scandal in the country, which he moved to after quitting the soap.

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