Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 3 Jun 2020
Archbishop criticises Trump as US protests continue
Demonstrators have defied curfews in dozens of US cities including New York and Washington D.C. as protests rage for an eighth night over the death of African-American George Floyd in police custody. Meanwhile, the capital’s Catholic archbishop has strongly criticised Donald Trump’s visit to a shrine in the midst of the riots. Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said the president’s photo op in front of Saint John Paul II National Shrine on Tuesday “manipulated in a fashion that violates our religious principles”.
Patel says quarantine is vital - but will PM undermine her?
Quarantining people arriving in the UK from overseas is paramount to preventing a second coronavirus peak, Priti Patel has said. In an article for The Daily Telegraph, the home secretary writes that “we will all suffer if we get this wrong”, and claims that tourism will bounce back more quickly if strict measures are taken now. However, Whitehall sources say that Boris Johnson is considering plans to relax the 14-day self-isolation rule due to come into effect next week by allowing so-called air bridges to countries with low infection rates.
China withheld Covid-19 information from WHO, recordings reveal
China withheld data on the Covid-19 coronavirus from the World Health Organization during the critical early days of the outbreak, the Associated Press reports. The news agency has obtained recordings of internal meetings held by the UN health agency in early January at which officials complained that Beijing was not sharing data needed to evaluate the risk posed to the rest of the world. China did not confirm that the virus was contagious until 20 January, with WHO then declaring a global emergency ten days later.
Starmer tells Johnson to ‘get a grip’ on lockdown easing
Keir Starmer has criticised Boris Johnson’s “mismanagement” of the coronavirus pandemic and urged the prime minister to “get a grip” in order to restore public trust. Speaking to The Guardian, the Labour leader said there were growing fears that Johnson was “winging it” over moves to reopen schools and relax shielding advice. “I’m deeply concerned the government has made a difficult situation ten times worse,” Starmer said.
Nissan: ‘UK plant unsustainable under no deal’
Nissan has warned that the UK’s largest car manufacturing plant may be “unsustainable” if the country leaves the European Union without a trade deal. Ashwani Gupta, the Japanese company’s global chief operating head, told the BBC that the EU is the Sunderland factory’s biggest customer. He said that Nissan, which has invested billions of pounds in the plant, could not maintain its commitment if there was not tariff-free EU access.
Zoom soars during lockdown
Use of video conference company Zoom’s software soared 30-fold in April, latest figures show. As coronavirus lockdowns forced millions to work, learn and socialise remotely, the firm saw a peak of more than 300 million daily participants in virtual meetings, while paying customers more than tripled. The company said it expects sales as high as $1.8bn (£1.4bn) this year - roughly double what it forecast in March.
MPs queue to vote to end virtual voting
MPs are complaining about being forced to join a kilometre-long queue outside the Commons yesterday in order to vote on a government motion to prevent the resumption of virtual voting. Tory MP Tom Tugendhat reported “queuing for half an hour”, while Labour’s Lloyd Russell-Moyle called the new physically-distanced voting process “a farce”. However, the proposal by Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg was carried by 261 votes to 163.
Food banks call for funds after unprecedented demand
Campaigners have called for emergency funds to help struggling low-income households after UK food banks reported that the first full month of coronavirus lockdown was their “busiest ever”. The Trussell Trust, the UK’s biggest food bank network, said it handed out 89% more food parcels in April, compared with the same month last year. The Independent Food Aid Network recorded a 175% increase over the same period.
Birmingham man says he was tasered because he is black
A 30-year-old man who was tasered in the throat in Birmingham says he was targeted by police because he is black. Trevaile Wyse said he had just arrived home from work when there was a car crash in the street outside his house, and that when he went out to see what had happened he was attacked by police officers. “I personally believe it was because I was black,” he said. “There could have been no other reason for it.”
Law firm reports spike in divorce inquiries during lockdown
A legal firm says divorce inquiries have increased by more than 40% during the coronavirus lockdown. Between the start of the lockdown in March and mid-May, Co-op Legal Services reported a 42% increase in divorce inquiries, compared with the same period in 2019. Divorce proceedings have been conducted via video conferencing calls while the courts have been closed.