Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Wednesday 7 Oct 2020

1

English hospital admissions reach four-month high

Coronavirus hospital admissions have hit a four-month high in England as the UK recorded another 14,542 cases - almost 2,000 more than the previous day. Another 76 deaths linked to the virus were also reported yesterday, taking the total to 42,445. Yesterday, Boris Johnson said: “Even in the darkest moments we can see the bright future ahead. And we can see how to build it and we will build it together.”

2

Universities scrap face-to-face teaching

Three of the country’s largest universities have ended face-to-face teaching. As more than 80 universities in the UK have reported at least 5,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 among students and staff, the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Sheffield have stopped teaching in person. Teaching unions have accused Boris Johnson of “untested, rushed plans”.

3

Joe Biden calls for national unity amid ‘too many crises’

Joe Biden has delivered an appeal for national unity from the battleground state of Pennsylvania. The Democrat portrayed the election as a “battle for the soul of the nation” and said: “Today, once again we are a house divided. But that, my friends, can no longer be. We are facing too many crises. We have too much work to do.”

4

Brexit drives a surge in government consultancy fees

Brexit has pushed government consultancy fees to £450m in three years, reports The Guardian. Deloitte, the professional services firm, profited the most, earning fees of £147m from public funds in 2019-20, compared with £40m two years earlier. In a speech yesterday, Boris Johnson hailed the private sector, saying “free enterprise” must lead the recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

5

Unfavourable perception of China soars in Western nations

Negative views towards China have soared in the past year in the US and several other advanced economies, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. The study found that a majority in each of the countries polled had an unfavourable opinion of China. In several countries, including Britain, Australia and Spain, negative views reached their highest points since Pew began polling on the topic more than a decade ago.

6

Tributes paid to Van Halen and Johnny Nash

Eddie Van Halen, the legendary guitarist and co-founder of Van Halen, has died of cancer, his son has announced. Paying tribute, Kiss singer Gene Simmons described him as a “guitar god”. Meanwhile, Johnny Nash, the singer-songwriter and performer of the million-selling anthem I Can See Clearly Now, has died of natural causes at the age of 80.

7

Sunak to usher in new national security laws for FTSE

The chancellor will take on new powers to block companies from listing on the London Stock Exchange on national security grounds. The Times says Rishi Sunak is understood to be acting after the limitations of current rules were exposed three years ago when the stock exchange listed EN+, an energy company associated with the controversial oligarch Oleg Deripaska. The new powers are expected to require primary legislation.

8

Warning over ‘disgraceful’ backlog of mental health patients

One in four people with mental health problems has to wait at least three months to start NHS treatment, new research has found. The backlog and delays are leading to patients ending up in A&E and experiencing problems with their work, finances or relationship. The Royal College of Psychiatrists said “it’s disgraceful that people are waiting years for potentially lifesaving mental health treatment”.

9

Singapore government will pay people to have babies

Singapore will pay people to have babies during the coronavirus pandemic. The deputy prime minister said the one-time payment to aspiring parents would help reassure people who face financial pressure and are worried about their jobs. “We have received feedback that Covid-19 has caused some aspiring parents to postpone their parenthood plans,” he said. The government has not confirmed how much would be paid out.

10

Researchers find cities are as kindly as small towns

A study has found that you are as likely to be helped by a stranger in urban Britain as in much smaller towns. The researchers carried out nearly 1,400 experiments in neighbourhoods across 12 cities and 12 towns to gauge the kindness of strangers. “There's no evidence that urbanicity or population density affects the chance that you get help,” said Nichola Raihani, a professor at University College London.

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