Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 10 January 2022

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

1

Signs of hope as Covid cases fall

Covid cases are falling in many places and the rest of England shows signs of nearing the peak. New data showed that case numbers are beginning to fall in the South East and the East of England, as well as in London, which peaked more than a week ago. The number of people on mechanical ventilators has dropped to its lowest level since October. “I think it's beginning to look quite hopeful, but we’ve been here in the past,” said Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia.

2

Judge criticises Djokovic case

The judge hearing Novak Djokovic’s case has questioned “what more” the tennis player could have done to prove his medical exemption. Judge Anthony Kelly also criticised the Australian government for reneging on a deal to give the tennis champion more time to defend his visa from cancellation. In an expedited hearing, the federal circuit court began to hear the case on Monday morning after the world No 1 was dramatically denied entry at Melbourne airport last week.

3

PM warned of costs ‘catastrophe’

A third of voters expect their energy bills to become unaffordable this year, a YouGov survey has found. As pressure grows on Boris Johnson to act against the rising cost of living, three select committee chairmen told the Daily Mail that failure to take decisive action could cause support for the Conservatives to collapse. Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said a “cost of living catastrophe that is fast approaching needs to be addressed”. 

4

New York flat fire kills 19

A fire in an apartment block in the Bronx, New York, has left 19 people dead, including nine children. A further 63 people were injured, 32 of whom are in hospital with life-threatening conditions. Mayor Eric Adams described the incident as one of the worst fires the city has experienced in modern times. Last week an apartment fire in Philadelphia killed 12, including eight children.

5

Cannabis addiction up in over 55s

A record number of people over the age of 55 are seeking treatment for cannabis addiction. Over the past 15 years there has been a 777% increase in the number of people in the age group receiving substance misuse treatment for cannabis. However, the figure has fallen by 22% among people aged between 18 and 24. Dr Tony Rao, a consultant psychiatrist, said cannabis is “still regarded as a recreational drug with little awareness of the harm associated with its use”.

6

New party claims hits No 10

Downing Street is facing calls to ensure that Boris Johnson will be personally interviewed by the Sue Gray inquiry about alleged lockdown parties in No 10 after news emerged of another event he may have attended. No 10 did not deny on Sunday that the PM and his wife attended a gathering on 20 May 2020, with food and wine set out on tables. The Guardian has previously reported a “wine and pizza” party in Downing Street in the garden and inside No 10 on 15 May, during the first lockdown.

7

Police covered up misconduct

Police officers and staff are said to have covered up more than 100 cases of misconduct by colleagues in an 18-month period. Quoting figures obtained by freedom of information requests, The Times reported that dozens of officers have been accused of failing to act in cases where their colleagues behaved inappropriately, such as by making discriminatory comments or engaging in sexual misconduct.

8

Gove cladding plan ‘not enough’

Campaigners say Michael Gove must spend billions more on ending the fire safety crisis in homes across England. As the secretary of state for levelling up, housing and communities prepared to unveil a £4bn package to replace all Grenfell-style cladding, a spokesperson for the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign said “this feels like it could be the beginning of the end of our cladding scandal, but we are still a long way away from solving it”.

9

Euthanasia milestone in Colombia

A man in Colombia has become the first person in the country with a non-terminal illness to die by legally regulated euthanasia. In a video message recorded before he died, Victor Escobar, 60, said “we reached the goal for patients like me, who aren't terminal but degenerative, to win this battle, a battle that opens the doors for the other patients who come after me and who right now want a dignified death”. Escobar, who suffered from end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, added: “I’m not saying goodbye, just ‘see you later’.”

10

Corbyn may form own party

Jeremy Corbyn is considering forming his own political party after privately accepting he will never be reinstated as a Labour MP, The Telegraph reported. The former Labour leader’s wife is among those who have urged him to upgrade his Peace and Justice Project charity into a political party, and run under its banner at the next election. His team believes he has enough of a “personal vote” to win his Islington North seat without Labour’s backing.

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