Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 7 April 2021

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

1

PM promises ‘easy’ holidays

Boris Johnson has vowed to make it “as easy as possible” for Britons to go on holidays abroad this summer. After it emerged that the EU should have vaccinated most of its citizens by the end of June, the prime minister promised to secure cheaper and faster Covid tests to cut down costs and delays for returning holidaymakers. The travel industry has warned that restrictions could make holidays “prohibitively expensive”.

2

Covid linked to mental illness

More than one in three Covid survivors are diagnosed with a mental health or neurological condition within six months, a major study has found. Researchers say Covid is “robustly associated” with an increased risk of conditions such as anxiety, mood disorder and dementia. Hospitalised patients were found to be at higher risk of having a stroke or a brain haemorrhage.

3

Moderna jabs launched in UK

The UK rollout of the Moderna vaccine will begin in Wales today. The jab was approved as safe and effective for use in the UK in January this year, but has not been available until now. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson has sought to reassure people about the safety of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine after a trial in children was paused while regulators investigate rare reports of blood clots.

4

Chauvin ‘not trained to use knee’

A police trainer has testified that the former officer Derek Chauvin was not trained to use his knee in a neck restraint as he did during George Floyd’s arrest. Testimony from Chauvin’s former colleagues continued on Tuesday, after the force’s chief also said his actions against Floyd were in “no way” part of his training. Chauvin is on trial on charges of second and third-degree murder, as well as manslaughter, following the death of Floyd last May.

5

Harry and Meghan announce documentary

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have revealed their first Netflix project after signing a production deal last year. Heart of Invictus, a documentary series from Harry and Meghan’s company Archewell Productions, will follow “a group of extraordinary competitors from around the globe, all service members who have suffered life-changing injuries or illnesses on their road to the Invictus Games The Hague,” said Netflix. The couple signed a multi-year production deal with the streaming company in September.

6

Betting giants ‘should face new levy’

Gambling companies have profited during the pandemic but are leaving the NHS to “pick up the pieces” of addiction, according to the head of mental health in England. Claire Murdoch, the national mental health director for NHS England, says the firms should have to pay a compulsory levy to fund treatment. The Guardian says that lockdowns have triggered a surge in spending on “high-octane” online casino games and slot machines.

7

Club cancels event after passport ‘hate’

A comedy club has cancelled a pilot event after it said it was subjected to a “hate campaign” over reports it would try out Covid passports. The owner of the Hot Water Comedy Club in Liverpool said the venue has been “significantly damaged” after receiving more than 4,000 angry messages. He said four acts have lost £300 each as a result of the cancelled event.

8

Maxwell cited for ‘dirty’ cell

Prison guards say Ghislaine Maxwell has failed to clean her cell, saying that it began to smell and became “increasingly dirty”. Staff at the Brooklyn jail told prosecutors that the former socialite “frequently did not flush her toilet after using it which caused the cell to smell”. Maxwell is awaiting trial on charges that she helped Jeffrey Epstein and enabled him to sexually abuse minors. She has pleaded not guilty.

9

Islamophobia probe accused of whitewash

An inquiry into Islamophobia in the Conservative party has been accused of ignoring individuals who wanted to submit damning evidence. Baroness Warsi, who was Britain’s first female Muslim Cabinet minister, collated a series of cases to submit to the inquiry but says at least eight complainants received no contact from the panel. The independent probe is set to report next month.

10

Kardashian West becomes billionaire

Kim Kardashian West has achieved billionaire status, according to Forbes magazine, which says her net worth reached $1bn (£720m) thanks to her cosmetics and clothing interests as well as income from TV, endorsement deals and investments. Other Americans added to Forbes’ World's Billionaires List over the past year include Bumble dating app founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, filmmaker Tyler Perry and Miriam Adelson, the widow of casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.

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