Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 29 Jun 2020
Fears of second wave in ‘knife edge’ Britain
Sir Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, says that the UK remains “on a knife edge” as coronavirus lockdown restrictions are eased. Sir Jeremy Farrar told the BBC he is “worried” about a surge in cases ahead of pubs and restaurants reopening this week. The UK's coronavirus death toll rose by 36 on Sunday to 43,550.
Moscow denies it is the source of radiation leak
Russia insists that a leak of nuclear material detected over Scandinavia did not come from one of its power plants. After nuclear safety watchdogs said they had found higher-than-usual amounts of radioactive isotopes in the atmosphere, a Dutch public health body said it believed the material came “from the direction of western Russia”. Moscow says its nuclear power stations are working normally.
Concern as Covid-19 cases surge in Texas and China
The spread of the new coronavirus has taken a “swift and very dangerous turn” in the US state of Texas, governor Greg Abbott has warned. Over the past few weeks, the daily number of cases have gone from an average of about 2,000, to more than 5,000, he said. Meanwhile, China has reinstated a lockdown near Beijing, affecting around 400,000 people, after a surge in cases there.
Victory for Cummings as top civil servant says he will quit
The UK’s most senior civil servant has announced he will stand down in September, “after losing a power struggle with [Boris] Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings”, The Daily Telegraph reports. After weeks of growing tensions, Sir Mark Sedwill said in a letter to the prime minister that he would quit as cabinet secretary and head of the civil service.
New Richard Desmond allegations hit Conservatives
Richard Desmond hired a PR company co-owned by the co-chairman of the Conservative Party to help change gambling rules in his favour. It has also been revealed that Priti Patel, the home secretary, lobbied for the relaxation of lottery rules, telling MPs that Desmond’s Health Lottery was an “astonishing vehicle for bringing direct support” to grassroots charities.
Coronavirus survivors should be checked for PTSD
Leading doctors say that people who were seriously ill in hospital with coronavirus need to be urgently screened for post-traumatic stress disorder. The Covid Trauma Response Working Group said those who had been in intensive care were most at risk. One woman who spent a week in intensive care said: “It was like being in hell. I saw people dying, people with the life being sucked from them.”
Online customers may face mandatory delivery charge
People who order goods online could face a compulsory delivery charge as part of a campaign to cut congestion and toxic emissions, says The Times. With a surge in delivery vans on British roads, the government is considering a range of measures to reduce the impact of the e-commerce boom. Advisers say the introduction of free and next-day delivery deals has led to “unnecessary over-ordering”.
Anger after Donald Trump re-tweeted ‘white power’ video
Donald Trump has come under fire after he re-tweeted a video showing one of his supporters loudly shouting “white power”. The supporter was among a group of people taking part in a pro-Trump rally at a retirement complex in Florida. Tim Scott, the only black Republican in the US Senate, said the video was “offensive”. Trump’s spokesman says the US president did not hear the “white power” comment.
Boris Johnson promises funding for new schools
Boris Johnson is promising to spend £1bn for 50 major school building projects in England. The PM says there will also be a further £560m for repairs to crumbling school buildings. “It's important we lay the foundations for a country where everyone has the opportunity to succeed,” he said. However, head teachers said the National Audit Office had identified a backlog of £6.7bn worth of repairs needed at English schools.
Fracking pioneer files for bankruptcy protection
The shale gas drilling pioneer that helped transform the US into a global energy powerhouse has filed for bankruptcy protection. Chesapeake Energy said that it had been forced to take the decision because its debts of $9bn (£7.3bn) were unmanageable. The company was valued at around $115m (£93m) at the close of trading on Friday.