Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 24 Jan 2021

The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am

1

Vaccinated may spread Covid

People who have received a Covid-19 vaccine could still pass the virus on to others, England’s deputy chief medical officer has warned. Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, Prof Jonathan Van-Tam said that scientists “do not yet know the impact of the vaccine on transmission,” so even the vaccinated should continue following lockdown rules. He said “no vaccine has ever been” 100% effective.

2

Johnson speaks to Biden

Boris Johnson has become the first European leader to speak to Joe Biden since his inauguration, claims The Sunday Times. Following the call, the prime minister said on Twitter that he looked forward to “deepening the longstanding alliance” between the UK and the US. The BBC says the order in which a new occupant of the White House speaks to other world leaders is a “crude metric of relative importance”.

3

Polls reveal independence support

A majority in Scotland and Northern Ireland want referendums on the break-up of Britain, says The Sunday Times. In Northern Ireland, a majority — 51 per cent to 44 per cent — want a referendum within five years. Voters there think there will be a united Ireland within 10 years by a margin of 48 per cent to 44 per cent. In Scotland, 50 per cent want a referendum.

4

Man charged with Ocasio-Cortez threat

A Texas man who participated in the attack on the US Capitol has been charged with threatening to “assassinate” the New York Democratic representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Garret Miller of Texas allegedly tweeted: “Assassinate AOC.” He is also accused of saying an officer who shot and killed a Trump supporter inside the Capitol “deserves to die”.

5

DVLA outbreak sparks fury

The transport secretary Grant Shapps is under fire over mass Covid outbreak at the DVLA office in Swansea. More than 500 cases have been recorded at the office, where employees claim people with symptoms were encouraged to return to work while vulnerable workers have had requests to work from home turned down. It is believed to be the largest workplace outbreak of the virus.

6

Chinese bombers in Taiwan airspace

Eight Chinese bomber planes and four fighter jets entered Taiwan’s air defence identification zone yesterday. Taiwan’s air force said it deployed missiles to “monitor” the incursion, which it says was made up of eight nuclear-capable H-6K bombers and four J-16 fighter jets. China claims Taiwan as its own territory. It has previously said it carries out exercises to defend the country’s sovereignty and security.

7

No 10 accused of media imbalance

Downing Street has sent only one female cabinet minister to answer questions on either The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One or Sky’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday since the start of the first lockdown on March 23. When he addressed a group of female MPs late last year, Boris Johnson described himself as a feminist but critics accuse him of paying lip service to equality.

8

Dutch police arrest alleged drug lord

Police in the Netherlands have arrested the alleged head of one of the world's biggest drugs gangs. Tse Chi Lop, believed to be the head of The Company, which dominates a $70bn illegal drugs market across Asia, was detained at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The 56-year-old is often compared to the Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. Sky News says he is “one of the world's most-wanted fugitives”.

9

Parents face months more homeschooling

Children may not return to the classroom until after the Easter holidays, says The Sunday Times. Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, is expected to rule out children returning to the classroom after the February half-term holiday. Education leaders said they did not expect them to reopen fully until mid-April or even as late as May. Last week, Williamson said he would “certainly hope” schools could reopen before Easter.

10

Tributes as Larry King dies

The broadcaster Larry King has died at the age of 87. King died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to his production company. King hosted “Larry King Live” on CNN for over 25 years, interviewing presidential candidates, celebrities, athletes and movie stars. Jeff Zucker, CNN President, said “the scrappy young man from Brooklyn had a history-making career”.

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