Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 23 May 2020


Cummings under pressure after lockdown breach

Dominic Cummings is under pressure to quit after it was revealed that police spoke to him about breaching the government’s lockdown rules. The prime minister’s key adviser was spotted in Durham, 264 miles from his London home, despite having had symptoms of coronavirus. Labour has demanded a “swift explanation” from Downing Street and the SNP says Cummings' position is “completely untenable”.


Sunak set to unveil changes to furlough scheme

Companies will be required to pay a quarter of the wages of furloughed staff under the chancellor’s plans to phase out the state subsidy scheme. Rishi Sunak is expected to announce that employers will have to contribute from August as the lockdown is eased. More than eight million people have been furloughed, equivalent to a third of the private sector workforce.


Children half as likely to catch the coronavirus

The government has been told that children are half as likely as adults to catch the coronavirus but the risk of them spreading it when they return to schools remains unclear. Members of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies said there is no evidence that teachers are at a greater risk from the virus than people in other professions.


Washington condemns China's plan for new Hong Kong law

The US Secretary of State has condemned China's plan to impose a new security law in Hong Kong, describing it as a “death knell” for freedom. As China seeks to pass a law that would ban “treason, secession, sedition and subversion” in Hong Kong, Mike Pompeo said the decision to bypass Hong Kong's lawmakers ignores “the will of the people”.


Govt announces quarantine rules to begin in June

The home secretary has announced that two-week quarantines will be imposed on new arrivals to the UK and returning citizens from 8 June, raising questions over whether Britons will be able to go on holiday abroad this summer. Speaking at the Downing Street daily briefing on Friday, Priti Patel said the government's guidance continued to advise against all but essential travel abroad.


Trump threatens to overrule governors on places of worship

Donald Trump says churches, mosques and synagogues are “essential services” as he threatened to override governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend. “In America we need more prayer, not less,” said the US president, making the threat. However, The Guardian says Trump does not have the power to overrule governors on the matter.


Cab driver died after Covid-19 spitting attack

A cab driver died with Covid-19 after being spat at by a fare dodger who claimed to have the disease, his partner has told Boris Johnson. Trevor Belle, 61, died in hospital last month, weeks after he was spat at by a passenger who refused to pay £9 and told him: “I’ve got the coronavirus – and now you’ve got it, too.”


Biden apologises after ‘cavalier’ remark about black voters

Joe Biden has expressed regret for his “cavalier” comment that African Americans “ain't black” if they even consider voting for President Donald Trump over him. The Democratic White House candidate made the remark in an interview on Friday with a prominent black radio host, Charlamagne Tha God, about his pitch to black voters.


Boris Johnson backs down on 5G after backbench pressure

Boris Johnson has caved into pressure from Tory backbench rebels opposed to the presence of Huawei in 5G networks, reports The Guardian. Fearful of a Commons defeat, the PM has set in motion plans to reduce the Chinese company’s involvement to zero by 2023. The number of Conservative MPs willing to rebel on the issue was estimated to be as high as 50.


Man accused of killing pensioner live on a Zoom call

A man suspected of fatally stabbing his father during a live Zoom call confessed after police found him trying to wash blood off his body with Dr Pepper, a court has heard. Thomas Scully-Powers, from Long Island, was refused bail after pleading not guilty to a murder charge in the attack that left 72-year-old Dwight Powers nearly decapitated as other call participants rushed to dial 911.

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