Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 1 Jul 2020

1

US snaps up global supply of Covid-19 drug remdesivir

The US has bought up virtually all the world’s stocks of one of the two drugs proven to work against Covid-19. “They’ve got access to most of the drug supply [of remdesivir], so there’s nothing for Europe,” said Dr Andrew Hill, senior visiting research fellow at Liverpool University. Experts now fear what the US would do if a vaccine became available.

2

Nearly 50% of black UK households live in poverty

Nearly half of black UK households are living in poverty, an independent study has revealed. Black and minority ethnic households in the UK are more than twice as likely to live in poverty as their white counterparts, leaving them disproportionately exposed to job losses and pay cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, says the Social Metrics Commission.

3

More local lockdowns likely as misleading government data exposed

Experts say there could be further local lockdowns as parts of Kent, London, north Wales and Scotland still battle significant coronavirus outbreaks. Meanwhile, the Financial Times says the government’s published numbers of new cases at local authority level exclude a second “pillar” of data, meaning as many as 90% of new cases are missing from the stats.

4

Bank of England chief says UK set for V-shaped recovery

The UK is set for a V-shaped recovery as the economy rebounds from the lockdown much faster than expected, according to the Bank of England’s chief economist. Andy Haldane said the lowpoint of the recession was likely to be less than half as bad as the Bank had feared in May. “Early evidence is so far, so V,” he said.

5

China ushers in controversial legislation in Hong Kong

China’s central government has imposed a sweeping national security law in Hong Kong. Critics say the controversial legislation has stripped the territory of its autonomy and civil and social freedoms, cementsing Beijing's authoritarian rule. The new laws target secession, subversion and terrorism with punishments up to life in prison.

6

Immunity to coronavirus could be twice as high as thought

Up to a third of healthy people without symptoms of coronavirus may have developed immunity to it, new research has found. The news means public immunity could be as much as twice that found in antibody tests, meaning infection hotspots such as London could be further along the path to herd immunity than thought. The Karolinska Institutet's study was carried out in Sweden.

7

China accused of campaign of genocide against Uighur minority

China has been accused of waging a “demographic campaign of genocide” against its Uighur minority amid claims that the government had used mass sterilisation to suppress birth rates by as much as 80%. A report suggested that up to 34% of married Uighur women have been targeted with a campaign of sterilisation surgery and contraceptive implants.

8

Tony Blair dragged into row over pro-China lobbying group

Tony Blair is embroiled in a row over a “mysterious” pro-Beijing lobbying group accused of using Chinese propaganda to groom British elites, reports The Times. The former PM has denied claims that he was a fellow of the 48 Group Club. The body, which names Lord Heseltine, as a founding patron, took down its website after Hidden Hand, a book exposing Chinese influence networks, was published in Australia.

9

Calls for statue for player dropped by England for being black

A campaign is underway to build a statue of a footballer dropped by England when selectors found out he was black. Jack Leslie would have been the first black player to play for England when he was selected in 1925 but he was subsequently dropped after selectors watched him. “They were looking at the colour of his skin,” said his granddaughter. “And because of that, he was denied the chance of playing for his country.”

10

Prospect of deadly temperatures in the UK ‘rapidly accelerating’

Scientists say the chances of the UK experiencing deadly 40C temperatures are “rapidly accelerating” due to the climate crisis. A study shows that such conditions could become a regular occurrence by the end of the century unless carbon emissions are cut to zero. The highest temperature recorded in the UK is 38.7C, set in Cambridge in July 2019.

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