Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Friday 10 Jul 2020

1

WHO says coronavirus pandemic is ‘getting worse’

The spread of Covid-19 is accelerating globally, with infections doubling in the past six weeks, the head of the World Health Organization has warned. Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic has yet to reach its peak. “In most of the world, the virus is not under control,” he said. “It is getting worse … more than 544,000 lives have been lost. The pandemic is still accelerating.”

2

Court rules that prosecutors can see Trump tax returns

The US Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump’s financial records can be examined by prosecutors. However, the court said they did not have to be shared with Congress. The ruling has “cemented the fact that the public isn't going to get a look at his tax returns before the November election”, says CNN. His predecessors have made their financial records public voluntarily. 

3

‘Work out to help out’ as gyms set to re-open

Gyms, pools, nail bars and tattooists will be allowed to re-open from 25 July as the government lifts restrictions on leisure facilities and beauty services in England. Team sports - starting with cricket – will also be permitted to resume. Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden urged people to “work out to help out”. Two reports charting coronavirus cases in England show the number of people with the disease is falling.

4

Government ‘will borrow half a trillion’ as Covid costs mount

The government is on course to borrow half a trillion pounds over two years as the cost of its response to the coronavirus pandemic mounts. The Institute for Fiscal Studies estimates that this year’s deficit will reach £350bn - a record for any peacetime year. The Daily Telegraph says the “debt mountain” will “pose a challenge to Rishi Sunak and his successors as chancellor for many decades to come”.

5

US announces China sanctions over Muslim camps

Washington has announced sanctions against China for its human rights violations against Muslim minorities in Xinjiang. Beijing is accused of mass detentions, religious persecution and forced sterilisation of Uighurs and others. Rights groups say up to a million Muslims have been detained in high-security prison camps across Xinjiang province. However, the authorities deny any mistreatment of Muslims.

6

Boots and John Lewis announce 5,300 job cuts as retail wobbles

Dozens of stores will close and more than 5,300 people will lose their jobs as the coronavirus pandemic takes another chunk out of retail. Boots is cutting 4,000 jobs – or 7% of its workforce – by closing 48 opticians outlets and reducing staff at its head office in Nottingham. John Lewis says it plans to permanently shut eight of its 50 stores, including branches in Birmingham and Watford.

7

BBC suggests staff include gender pronouns in their emails

The BBC is encouraging staff to include their preferred pronouns in email signatures, to make transgender and non-binary colleagues feel more welcome. New guidance, posted on the corporation’s intranet, says adding pronouns at the foot of emails - for example, if they prefer to be referred to as he, she or they - is a “small, proactive step that we can all take to help create a more inclusive workplace”.

8

Boris Johnson to roll out anti-obesity initiative

The prime minister is poised to launch an anti-obesity drive, starting with a ban on supermarket promotions of unhealthy food. Stores will be prevented from offering buy one, get one free deals on targeted products. However, campaigners are disappointed that Boris Johnoson is likely to delay the introduction of a 9pm watershed on the advertising of unhealthy food.

9

Top charities say lockdown is harming dementia patients

Charities say that families of care home residents with dementia should be treated as key workers. They have written to the government to argue that visits and care from family members are “essential” to residents’ mental and physical health and that lockdown restrictions have had “damaging consequences”. The letter is signed by the leaders of charities including Dementia UK and the Alzheimer’s Society. 

10

China warns of virus deadlier than Covid-19 in Kazakhstan

Chinese officials have warned that an “unknown pneumonia” with an alarming mortality rate has broken out in Kazakhstan. “The death rate of this disease is much higher than the novel coronavirus,” the Chinese embassy wrote in a warning to Chinese citizens in Kazakhstan. The local health ministry says it has recorded more than 32,000 cases of pneumonia between June 29 and July 5 alone, along with 451 deaths.

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