Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 16 Sep 2020
Care homes prioritised amid Covid tests chaos
The government will give precedence to NHS staff and patients and people living in care homes with its plan to prioritise coronavirus tests. Amid widespread problems with the system, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would “not shirk from decisions” about who should be at the front of the queue. Boris Johnson has previously described the testing system as the best in Europe.
Welby warns government over impact of ‘rule of six’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has told the government it must stop trying to control people’s lives from Westminster. Expressing concern over the “rule of six” restriction and its impact on family life, he warned that the winter months “will only be sustainable - or even endurable - if we challenge our addiction to centralisation and go back to an age-old principle: only do centrally what must be done centrally”.
Privacy concern over plans to record pregnancy drinks
Women who drink just a single glass of wine in their first week of pregnancy will have it noted on their child’s medical records under controversial new proposals. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence is proposing that all alcohol consumed by expectant mothers should be recorded, regardless of whether they consent or whether they knew they were pregnant when they drank it. Experts believe the move would breach the data protection regulations.
Trump says he ‘up-played’ the threat of coronavirus
Donald Trump has denied that he downplayed the seriousness of Covid-19, despite a recorded interview in which he admitted doing so. At a televised event, the US president said he had in fact “up-played” it. Asked why he had downplayed the threat, he responded: “Yeah, well, I didn't downplay it. I actually, in many ways, I up-played it, in terms of action. My action was very strong.”
Union warns of ‘redundancy floodgates’ when furlough ends
The Unite union says many workers can expect a “miserable Christmas” unless the government extends the furlough scheme with targeted support to prevent “redundancy floodgates” from opening at the end of next month. A Treasury spokesperson said the government has “not hesitated to act in creative and effective ways to support jobs and we will continue to do so” but the furloughing programme will end on 31 October.
India records a million more Covid cases in 11 days
India has reached a total of five million coronavirus cases after reporting 90,123 new infections in the past 24 hours. It has taken the country just 11 days to move from four million to five million cases. A leading virologist says India's nationwide lockdown imposed in March was ineffective and led to people having to stay in overcrowded homes when it was implemented without sufficient warning.
Mantel misses out as debutants dominate Booker shortlist
Four debut novels have made the shortlist for this year's Booker Prize: Diane Cook, Tsitsi Dangarembga, Avni Doshi, Maaza Mengiste, Douglas Stuart and Brandon Taylor. To the surpise of many, the two-time winner Hilary Mantel has missed out, despite being hotly tipped for a record third win with The Mirror and the Light.
Japanese giant to pull out of Welsh nuclear project
Hitachi has scrapped plans to build a new nuclear power station on Anglesey, off the coast of north Wales, dashing hopes for thousands of jobs. The Tokyo-based multinational is expected to announce it is abandoning plans for the £16bn Wylfa power station. The Guardian says the move is a blow for the UK’s ambition to become a “net zero carbon” emission country by 2050.
Trump hails Israeli deals with Bahrain and the UAE
Donald Trump has hailed “an incredible day for the world” after Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed agreements to establish formal relations. Ari Shavit, an Israeli writer, said the ceremony was “more than just a dazzling photo-op” but critics say that the agreements will make little practical difference and are a ploy by Trump to shore up the evangelical vote in November’s election.
Survey finds widespread ignorance of Holocaust in the US
Almost two-thirds of young adults in America do not know that six million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, a new survey has found. According to the study of US adults aged between 18 and 39, more than one in ten believe Jews caused the Holocaust and almost half could not name a single concentration camp or ghetto established during the Second World War.