Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Thursday 28 May 2020

1

England launches coronavirus test-and-trace system

The government's coronavirus test-and-trace system will launch today. Anyone in England who has been in close contact with someone who has been infected with coronavirus will be asked to isolate for 14 days even if they have no symptoms. Announcing the launch, Boris Johnson conceded that being told to self-isolate was a “huge imposition”.

2

US passes 100,000 coronavirus deaths milestone

The US has passed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths due to the coronavirus pandemic. The death toll stands at 100,276, according to Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, and the US has 1.69 million confirmed infections - accounting for about 30% of the worldwide total. President Donald Trump says that without his administration’s actions the death toll would be 25 times higher.

3

Government may review UK’s two-metre distancing rule

Boris Johnson says he has asked government scientists to review the two-metre social distancing rule in the “hope” that it can be reduced. The UK currently has one of the strictest contact gap rules in the world, double the one-metre gap recommended by the World Health Organisation. He said that the advice from experts “may evolve”.

4

Charity warns of cancer ‘ticking time bomb’

A cancer charity has warned of a “ticking time bomb” as the disease goes undiagnosed for up to 2,000 people a week due to Covid-19 concerns in hospitals and GP surgeries. Macmillan Cancer Support said the disease risks becoming “the forgotten c” of the coronavirus pandemic, as patients have appointments cancelled or postponed. Many awaiting possible diagnosis are resisting attending hospitals due to concerns about contracting the virus.

5

BBC reprimands Emily Maitlis over Newsnight monologue

BBC bosses have reprimanded Emily Maitlis over a monologue in which she attacked the government’s handling of Dominic Cummings’ lockdown trip to Durham. “The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output,” the corporation said in a statement. It added that “the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality. Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines.”

6

US complains over Russia’s ‘irresponsible’ jet interception

Washington says two Russian fighter jets “unsafely” intercepted one of its patrol planes over the Mediterranean Sea. Two Russian SU-35 jets flew alongside a US P-8A Poseidon for one hour and four minutes on Tuesday, the US defence department said. It added that Russia's behaviour was “irresponsible”. The Kremlin has not commented on the issue.

7

Scotland set to begin to ease lockdown restrictions

Nicola Sturgeon is expected to confirm that the country’s lockdown restrictions are to be eased slightly. Scotland’s first minister, who unveiled a four-phase “route map” last week, will make an announcement on the easing measures in her daily briefing at 12:30. She has previously said that the first steps in the process will be “proportionate and suitably cautious”, and will focus on outdoor activities.

8

Tributes as veteran Aids activist Larry Kramer dies at 84

The author, playwright and Aids activist Larry Kramer, has died aged 84. Kramer co-founded the Gay Men’s Health Crisis in the early 1980s. He died in a New York hospital with pneumonia yesterday. His death is not believed to be related to the coronavirus pandemic. Elton John said: “We have lost a giant of a man who stood up for gay rights like a warrior.”

9

Prince William says poor eyesight eased speaking nerves

Prince William says that his poor eyesight has made public speaking much easier for him because the faces of his audiences become a blur. The royal told the BBC he has suffered from anxiety during public appearances but his failing eyesight helped because he now sees “just a blur of faces and because you can’t see anyone looking at you… actually that really helped with my anxiety.”

10

Ryanair slowest at refunding cancelled flights

Ryanair is the worst major airline for refunding British customers whose flights have been cancelled during the coronavirus pandemic, according to figures from Which?. More than eight out of 10 people are still waiting for their money back, according to the consumer rights group. Refunds are also moving along slowly at easyJet, with 60% of customers still waiting to be refunded.

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