Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 19 Oct 2020

1

Gove says door to Brexit trade deal is ‘ajar’

Michael Gove says the door to a trade deal with the EU remains “ajar,” as the UK prepares for talks with Brussels today. However, the minister also said the EU had “drawn stumps” on a deal by insisting that any further compromises must come from London. Meanwhile, Anglican leaders have warned the government that its internal markets bill could set a “disastrous precedent” as peers prepare to have their first say on the legislation.

2

Sage adviser forecasts Covid vaccines in early 2021

A government adviser says more than one coronavirus vaccine will be available in the next three to six months. Sir Jeremy Farrar, who sits on the government’s Sage committee of experts, told Sky News: “I think in the first quarter of next year we will have vaccines - more than one vaccine.” However, he warned that in the meantime Christmas “will be tough this year”.

3

Hospital admissions ‘fell by 90% during lockdown’

Hospital admissions plummeted by up to 90% during the coronavirus pandemic, claims the Daily Telegraph. A new report shows that consultations for the most common cancers fell by up to two thirds during lockdown, while heart-attack checks fell by almost 50%. Bowel cancer – the second most deadly cancer in the UK – saw a 39% drop in admissions.

4

New data shows China's economy continues to rally

China's economy expanded 4.9% in the July-to-September quarter compared to a year ago, according to government data. The pace was quicker than the 3.2% increase that China recorded in the second quarter. “China's economy continued its rapid rebound last quarter, with the recovery broadening out and becoming less reliant on investment-led stimulus," said Julian Evans-Pritchard of Capital Economics.

5

People sent to non-existent testing centre in Kent

People believed to have Covid-19 symptoms have been sent to a non-existent site in Kent. In the latest humiliation for England’s test-and-trace system, council officials in Sevenoaks said a mobile testing unit, which was meant to be introduced in response to a local rise in coronavirus rates, was not deployed to start on site on Sunday for “an unknown reason”.

6

Prison security reviewed after Isis-inspired attack in jail

A review of prison security is underway after the first Isis-inspired attack in a UK jail. Two inmates were sentenced earlier this month for trying to murder a prison officer at HMP Whitemoor using improvised weapons and wearing fake suicide vests. The Independent says both men had access to Isis propaganda, a smuggled SD card and mobile phones inside the high-security Cambridgeshire prison.

7

Manchester could run out of beds for Covid patients

Greater Manchester could soon run out of beds to treat those left seriously ill with Covid-19, reports The Guardian. A leaked NHS document shows that last Friday a resurgence of the disease had left hospitals in Salford, Stockport and Bolton at maximum capacity. The news comes as talks are set to resume on whether Greater Manchester will enter the highest level of Covid restrictions.

8

Torture and starvation reported in North Korean jails

Detainees held on remand in North Korea are subjected to ritual torture, humiliation and sexual assault by a criminal justice system that considers them “less than an animal”, according to a report. Human Rights Watch said: “Prisoners literally waste away from lack of food unless they can bribe guards to have their families send food.”

9

Dr Fauci ‘absolutely not surprised’ Trump got Covid-19

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert, has said he was “absolutely not” surprised that Donald Trump contracted coronavirus. In an interview with 60 Minutes, the sidelined White House coronavirus taskforce member said: “I was worried that he was going to get sick when I saw him in a completely precarious situation of crowded, no separation between people, and almost nobody wearing a mask.”

10

Aguero to escape action for linesman incident

Sergio Aguero will not be punished for placing a hand on the left shoulder of the assistant referee Sian Massey-Ellis during Manchester City’s win over Arsenal. The incident, which has created a storm online, was not deemed by Professional Game Match Officials Limited to have been an aggressive or threatening action. On Match of the Day, Ian Wright described the action as: “Unnecessarily patronising.”

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