Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 18 May 2020

1

UK, Italy and Spain record lowest Covid-19 death rates

The UK, Italy and Spain have recorded their lowest coronavirus death rates. The UK death toll rose by 170 on Sunday - the lowest daily increase since 24 March, the day after lockdown was introduced. In Italy, the tally was 145, the lowest since 9 March, while in Spain, the death toll was 87 - the first time in two months that the daily tally has been below 100.

2

New social distancing measures for public transport

Commuters returning to work have been warned to expect crowd management and social distancing measures as public transport services ramp up. Passengers could be prevented from boarding trains in order to prevent overcrowding, with security guards in place at some stations. Other measures also being considered include requiring passengers to book time slots for when they can arrive at stations.

3

UK aiming for 30 million vaccine doses by end of September

Up to 30 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine have been ordered by Britain, providing trials of the drug succeed, under a deal between Oxford University and drugmaker Astrazeneca. Ministers have pledged £65.5m in additional funding for the Oxford project. A second potential British vaccine, being developed at Imperial College London, will receive £18.5m.

4

Police interview man in coronavirus spitting death case

British Transport Police say officers have interviewed a 57-year-old man in connection with the Covid-19 death of a rail worker who had been spat at by someone claiming to be infected with the coronavirus. Belly Mujinga was on the concourse of London’s Victoria Station when a man spat at and coughed over her. A police spokesperson said: “Detectives are not looking to identify anyone further in relation to the incident.”

5

Sao Paulo hospitals ‘at risk of collapse’ as demand soars

The mayor of Brazil’s largest city has warned that the region’s health system is at risk of collapse as demand for beds soars during the coronavirus pandemic. Bruno Covas said Sao Paulo’s public hospitals had reached 90% capacity and could run out of space in about two weeks. The city is one of the country’s worst-hit regions, with almost 3,000 deaths so far.

6

Refugees ‘scared to seek medical help during pandemic’

The coronavirus pandemic is increasing the misery of refugees, with many undocumented migrants failing to seek vital medical help because they fear being deported, according to a new report. The researchers, from the University of Birmingham, took witness testimonies from more than 90 people and organisations in five countries, including the UK.

7

Netanyahu sworn in, paving way for West Bank annexation

Israel has sworn in a unity government headed by Benjamin Netanyahu under a power-sharing agreement that could see the annexation of large parts of the West Bank. The deal ends more than 500 days of deadlock during which the country has held three elections. Netanyahu will rotate the leadership with his former rival Benny Gantz after the pair agreed to press ahead with a controversial plan to annex parts of the Palestinian territories this summer.

8

Employers slash number of entry-level openings by a quarter

School leavers and graduates have been dealt a blow as firms slash entry-level jobs by nearly a quarter as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Institute of Student Employers says all types of entry-level roles have been reduced this year by 23%, with the “volatile” jobs market forecast to shrink further as 15% of employers expect to scale back recruitment further in 2021.

9

Trump hits back at Obama as war of words continues

Donald Trump has hit back at Barack Obama, accusing the former US president of being “grossly incompetent” during his time in office. Trump was responding to Obama’s criticism of his administration’s handling of the coronavirus crisis. Obama said: “More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing.”

10

China’s ambassador to Israel found dead

China’s ambassador to Israel was found dead inside his official residence yesterday morning. Du Wei’s death comes days after his embassy launched a scathing attack on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had criticised China’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic during a visit to Israel. An Israeli official told the BBC there was no sign of foul play.

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