Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 5 Feb 2021
The Week’s daily digest of the news agenda, published at 8am
‘Stabbing’ puts hospital in lockdown
A hospital in Scotland was placed in lockdown last night as police dealt with three “serious” incidents. Although police have not disclosed the nature of the incidents, Sky News says that a member of staff at University Hospital Crosshouse in Kilmarnock was stabbed. Police Scotland has confirmed the incidents are not being treated as terror related and insisted “there is no cause for concern for the wider community”.
Hotel quarantine within days
The government is block-booking thousands of hotel rooms hours after it confirmed quarantine rules related to Covid variant hotspots will begin on 15 February. Ministers say residents who return from places where new variants are prevalent will have to stay in hotel rooms for ten nights, with security accompanying them if they go outside. Labour accused Boris Johnson of “putting lives at risk” by not acting sooner.
Met warns of big freeze
Heavy snowfall and a month’s worth of rain have been forecast for parts of England and Scotland over the coming days. Weather warnings for snow are in place for parts of Scotland, alongside further rainfall warnings for the north-east of England and Northern Ireland. The Met Office said: “We could see a drop of about 10C in widely expected daytime temperatures.”
Biden ends support for Yemen war
Joe Biden has declared that “diplomacy is back at the centre” of US foreign policy as Washington ends all support for Saudi Arabia’s offensive operations in Yemen. “The war in Yemen must end,” said the new president in his first major foreign policy speech. The country has been devastated by a six-year war in which more than 110,000 people are believed to have died.
Public to splash ‘pent up’ £6.25bn
The Bank of England says the economy could return to pre-pandemic levels by early next year as households start splashing £125bn of lockdown savings. The central bank claims that wealthier households have built up record levels of excess savings, hoarding five times as much as in any previous nine-month period on record. It expects £6.25bn of the “pent up” savings to be spent as the economy opens up.
Hunt calls for longer lockdown
Jeremy Hunt says Covid restrictions should stay in place until cases fall to 1,000 a day. The former health secretary told The Guardian: “We mustn’t make the mistake that we made last year of thinking that we’re not going to have another resurgence of the virus.” Test-confirmed Covid cases are currently running at more than 20,000 a day and the last time new infections were consistently below 1,000 was August.
Thunberg effigies burned in India
Effigies of the environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg have been burned in Delhi after she tweeted support for India’s protesting farmers. Photos of Thunberg and the pop singer Rihanna, who has also voiced support for the farmers, were set alight and banners were held aloft warning that “international interference” in Indian affairs would not be tolerated. The farmers’ protests were sparked by three controversial new bills.
Data shows vaccine suspicion
White people are almost twice as likely to have been vaccinated as black people among over-80s in England, according to new research. Equality campaigners have blamed ministers for ignoring calls ten months ago to take urgent action to protect overexposed black, Asian and minority ethnic communities. Halima Begum, chief executive of the Runnymede Trust, said there is also “deep-seated multigenerational reservations and fear”.
Trump quits actors’ union
Donald Trump has resigned from America’s Screen Actors Guild after it launched a disciplinary hearing into him. The union said the former US “attacked the values that this union holds most sacred - democracy, truth, respect for our fellow Americans of all races and faiths, and the sanctity of the free press”. Trump, who has appeared in a number of films, responded by saying: “Who cares!”
Clergyman apologises for Moore remarks
A clergyman has been condemned after describing efforts to commemorate Captain Sir Tom Moore as a nationalistic cult. The Rev Jarel Robinson-Brown faces a Church of England investigation after he refused to join the national clap on Wednesday and tweeted: “The cult of Captain Tom is a cult of White British Nationalism.” He has since apologised and deleted the tweet.