Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Saturday 22 Aug 2020

1

Second lockdown warning as ‘R’ rate rises above one

Senior government advisers say a second national lockdown could be imposed after Britain’s Covid-19 reproduction number reached between 0.9 and 1.1. Although Boris Johnson has effectively ruled out another nationwide shutdown, describing it as a “nuclear deterrent”, senior sources said “more nationwide measures” may be needed. Meanwhile, Oldham and parts of Blackburn and Pendle are already facing extra restrictions.

2

MPs urge Boris Johnson to deal with cancer backlong

More than 100 MPs have urged Boris Johnson to tackle a backlog in NHS cancer care that could cause thousands of early deaths over the next decade. The group, including former ministers, has written to the prime minister after the coronavirus lockdown caused severe disruption to cancer diagnoses and treatments. “Many cancers can become untreatable in a matter of weeks,” they warned.

3

WHO head says Covid-19 pandemic could last two more years

The head of the World Health Organization says he hopes the Covid-19 pandemic will be over in under two years. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the Spanish flu of 1918 took two years to overcome but predicted that advances in technology could enable the world to halt the virus “in a shorter time”. However, he added: “With more connectiveness, the virus has a better chance of spreading.”

4

Kremlin critic Navalny flown to Germany after suspected poisoning

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has left a Siberian hospital and has boarded a flight to Germany. The prominent Putin critic is unconscious after what is believed to have been an attempt to poison him. “Alexei's plane has taken off for Berlin,” his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh tweeted. “Massive thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexei's life and health is just beginning.”

5

Israel warns Hamas as it bombs Gaza for 10th successive day

Israel has bombed Gaza for the 10th successive day and warned Hamas that it risks a major escalation. Benny Gantz, Israel’s defence minister, said the Palestinian group, which controls Gaza, would “suffer a very severe blow” but  a Hamas spokesman said it would “not hesitate to enter battle if Israel's attacks and siege continue”.

6

Michel Barnier says Brexit deal with UK looks unlikely

Michel Barnier says Boris Johnson’s government is “wasting valuable time” and warned that a post-Brexit deal between the EU and the UK looks “unlikely”. Two months ahead of the Brussels-imposed deadline of October, the chief negotiator said he was “a little surprised” because Johnson had told EU leaders earlier this summer he wanted an outline deal by July.

7

‘Golden State Killer’ is sentenced to life in prison

The man known as the Golden State Killer has been sentenced to life in prison. Joseph DeAngelo, 74, was arrested in 2018 after his DNA was located on a genealogy website. Earlier this year, he confessed to 13 murders in a deal with US prosecutors to spare him the death penalty. He has also admitted to rapes, burglaries and other offences.

8

Has the UK's demand for cheap food helped spread Covid-19?

A World Health Organization special envoy on Covid-19 says Britain’s demand for cheap food could be fuelling the spread of the coronavirus in factories. David Nabarro says cramped conditions in some factories and in low-paid workers’ homes, may have driven infection rates in the sector. He added that the response to the pandemic “may require thinking carefully about how much to pay for particular kinds of food.”

9

Joe Biden receives unexpected praise from Fox News

Fox News has praised Joe Biden, saying the Democrat hopeful “hit a home run” with an “enormously effective” speech that blew “a big hole” in Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine him. Meanwhile, Karl Rove, a Republican strategist, also offered unlikely praise, saying: “It was a very good speech.” Biden faces Donald Trump in the November election for the White House.

10

Farmer accuses Boris of camping in field without permission

Boris Johnson has been accused of camping in a sheep farmer's field without permission. Kenny Cameron says Johnson and his fiance appeared to have been climbed over his 3ft high wire fence rather than using the gate into the field. The landowner told the Daily Mail: “Mr Johnson is meant to be leading the country and yet he is not setting a great example.”

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