Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 8 October 2021

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

1

Flu ‘could kill 60,000 this winter’

The NHS is to embark on the largest programme of flu jabs in its history as government officials warn that up to 60,000 people could die from the virus this winter. A record 35m people will be offered vaccinations. Scientists have said the coming flu season could be particularly deadly because the population will have lost much of its immunity to the virus over the past 18 months. With a seasonal rise in Covid and other infections such as respiratory syncytial virus, scientists fear there will be a “triple whammy” for the NHS.

2

Coronavirus alert issued in 2016

Health chiefs who “war-gamed” the impact of a coronavirus pandemic in 2016 warned of the need for stockpiles of protective equipment, a computerised contact-tracing system and screening for foreign travellers, The Guardian reported. The previously unpublished 2016 report was put together by Dame Sally Davies, then chief medical officer, with officials from NHS England, the Department of Health, Public Health England, and observers from the devolved administrations.

3

Inflation ‘will last longer’

The Bank of England’s new chief economist has said that inflation is rising faster than expected and will last for longer than anticipated. Speaking to the Commons Treasury select committee, Huw Pill said that the recent rise in prices would prove to be temporary but the “magnitude and duration of the transient inflation spike is proving greater than expected”. Markets are pricing in a 15-basis-point rate rise from 0.1% to 0.25% by the end of the year.

4

Putin ‘choking off’ gas supplies

The UK has accused Vladimir Putin of “choking off” Europe’s gas supply to increase energy prices and secure approval for a new gas pipeline. Ministers believe Moscow is deliberately restricting gas exports to force the EU into approving Nord Stream 2, a pipeline under the Baltic Sea. The shortage of gas in Europe has led to higher household energy bills in the UK and pushed a string of suppliers into administration.

5

Tourism bosses welcome new rules

Travel companies are hoping for a boost after the latest relaxation of quarantine rules, in which 47 countries were taken off the “red list”. The airline Jet2 told the BBC there was a “genuine reopening” of international travel, with bookings trebling in some cases. The Times said the cost of a family holiday will fall by about £200 when PCR tests for returning foreign travel are scrapped by half-term.

6

Footballer ‘attempted to murder referee’

A footballer in Brazil is facing a charge of attempted murder after kicking a referee in the head and knocking him unconscious. William Ribeiro was arrested after attacking referee Rodrigo Crivellaro during a match in Venancio Aires, in the south of the country. Crivellaro, who left the stadium unconscious in an ambulance, was discharged from hospital after tests and observation.

7

Meat consumption falls by 17%

A study has shown that daily meat consumption in the UK has fallen by 17% in the past decade. The research, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, found that while most people are eating significantly less red and processed meat compared to a decade ago, they are eating more white meat. The overall reduction is not happening quickly enough to meet the National Food Strategy’s goal of a 30% drop in meat consumption over the next ten years.

8

Man charged with murdering neighbour

A Gloucestershire man has been charged with killing his next-door neighbour. Matthew Boorman, a 43-year-old father of three, bled to death on his doorstep in front of his wife after being stabbed in Walton Cardiff, near Tewkesbury, on Tuesday. Can Arslan, 51, who rented a house next door, will appear in court today accused of murder. Gloucestershire Constabulary has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct because of “previous contact with the suspect and victim”.

9

Prince Andrew has ‘strong family values’

The Duchess of York has insisted that she and Prince Andrew share “strong family values” despite the allegations against him. Speaking at the Henley Literary Festival, where questions were vetted in advance to avoid any mention of her former husband’s sexual abuse lawsuit, the 61-year-old said of their grandchildren: “We have strong family values and these two little naughties are phenomenal enhancers of an already unified family.”

10

‘Pariah’ Saudis take over Newcastle

A £305m takeover of Newcastle United football club has been approved by the Premier League after it said it had received "legally binding assurances" that the Saudi state would not control the club. The new owner is a Public Investment Fund chaired by the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman. The deal brings an end to Mike Ashley's 14-year spell as the owner of the club.

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