Newslinks for Thursday 30th July 2020

Isolation for Covid-19 ‘to be increased by three days’…

“People with symptoms of coronavirus will be told to stay home for 10 days, amid fears that Britain is facing a second wave of the virus. The period of isolation – which is currently seven days – will be increased by three days, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer will announce. However, the Health Secretary will on Thursday say that ministers are now exploring ways to reduce the 14-day quarantine period for those entering the UK, which could mean that quarantine and self-isolation periods are standardised at 10 days. All this comes after Boris Johnson expressed fears about the threat of a second coronavirus wave across Europe, with concerns that it could arrive in the UK in the next two weeks.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister ‘scrambles to avoid new lockdown’ – Daily Express
  • Johnson faces demands from Tory MPs and industry for airport testing – Daily Telegraph
  • Davis leads calls for Boris Johnson to introduce shorter isolation periods – Daily Mail
  • MPs urge government to provide targeted emergency support – The Guardian

Comment:

  • The figures on a second wave don’t add up – Ross Clark, Daily Mail

….as Government to expand Covid-19 rescue loan scheme

“The government is expanding its Covid-19 rescue loan scheme to cover small businesses on the edge of collapse, a move that Labour warned would come too late for many troubled firms. With less than a week before the furlough scheme covering 9 million employees is cut back, plunging more employers into debt, the Treasury said it would use a change in EU state aid rules to allow firms previously locked out of the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS) to access government funds. The economic secretary to the Treasury, John Glen, said he would write to major lenders advising them of the change, which will make more small businesses – specifically those that have racked up large losses and debts – eligible for loans of up to £5m. By the end of June, more than £11bn had been lent to more than 50,000 businesses under CBILS.” – The Guardian

  • Furlough scheme has cost taxpayer more than £30 billion, Treasury data reveals – Daily Telegraph
  • UK strikes deal for 60m Covid-19 vaccine doses with Sanofi and GSK – FT

More:

  • Baffling advice raises risk of second wave, says BMA chief – The Times
  • MPs claim care homes were ‘thrown to the wolves’ – The Sun
  • Outbreaks highlight disparities in UK test and trace regimes – FT

Shapps arrives back in UK to start quarantine

“Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has arrived back in the UK after cutting short his Spanish holiday. The minister was on a family holiday when new travel restrictions came in to force at the weekend and will now have to self-isolate for two weeks himself. The move to scrap the so-called travel corridor with Spain, which came following a spike in cases in the country, has caused chaos for airlines and the travel industry at the peak of the summer holiday season. But speaking on his return Mr Shapps said he “cannot rule out” that other countries could be included under the UK’s quarantine measures. He told reporters  that the decision to require travellers arriving in the UK from Spain to isolate for 14 days was the “right thing to do”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Fears over coronavirus second wave starting to roll across Europe, warns Hancock – The Sun
  • Britain must plug ‘alarming’ gaps, MPs warn – Daily Express
  • Doctors should use WhatsApp to give patients test results, says Hancock – Daily Mail

Comment:

  • Stranded Britons should take more responsibility – Clare Foges, The Times
  • Ditch overseas holidays to eliminate coronavirus – David Hunter and Neil Pearce, The Guardian

No 10 ‘wants woman’ for daily White House-style press briefings

“No 10 is on the hunt for a female broadcaster to host daily White House-style televised briefings and broadcast its message directly to the public. Boris Johnson wants to build on the success of the coronavirus press briefings with the new format starting in October. The successful candidate will be paid more than £100,000 to field questions from lobby journalists — more than MPs and on par with most cabinet ministers. It is understood that the government is determined to hire a woman to counter the impression that Mr Johnson has a “woman problem”. Three quarters of his cabinet ministers are men, and No 10 has been criticised for the lack of women fronting its coronavirus briefings.” – The Times

Paul Goodman: Johnson’s majority may not survive the tough decisions ahead

“Are Tory MPs really up for the hard choices ahead? Two examples suggest they may not be. The first took place in the plain light of political day. Marcus Rashford, the Manchester United footballer, led a campaign to extend free meals for schoolchildren during the summer holidays. Prominent Tory MPs, such as Robert Halfon and Tracey Crouch, threatened to vote with Labour to support it. The Government caved in. The second was less blatant, but it worried the Treasury more. Most Conservative MPs like to think of themselves as champions of lower taxes and a smaller state. But when Covid-19 came, their response was much the same as the Labour big state politics they had denounced at the election only a few weeks previously.” – Daily Telegraph

Gove urges sceptical businesses to embrace £50m customs broker scheme

“The government has urged business to take advantage of a £50m grant scheme to boost the training and recruitment of 50,000 new customs brokers for the coming trade border with the EU, despite industry warnings that the scheme is insufficient and “flawed”. Customs, logistics and haulage industry leaders said the drive to expand capacity in the customs sector before border checks come into force in January next year was facing headwinds caused by Covid-19 and the uncertainty around EU-UK trade talks. “I urge the intermediary sector and businesses to take advantage of the help on offer now,” said Michael Gove, the cabinet office minister, adding that brokers, freight forwarders and express parcel operators will play a “critical role for businesses” from January.” – FT

  • Johnson’s new immigration system ‘risks opening up UK to over 600 million people’ – The Sun
  • French minister says ‘No Deal Brexit is better than a bad deal’ – Daily Mail

Johnson ‘planning second peerages list to reward donors in autumn’

“Boris Johnson is understood to be planning a second list of peers as early as September to reward leading businessmen and financial donors to the Conservative Party. A list of dozens of new members of the House of Lords, including ex-cricketer Sir Ian Botham, Sir Eddie Lister, Mr Johnson’s Number 10 chief of staff, and the former Labour MP Gisela Stuart is due to be announced within days. However, financial supporters including Peter Cruddas and Johnny Leavesley, who have backed the party in the past, have been shunted to a second list in the early autumn. It is also understood that Michael Spencer, a businessman and the party’s treasurer from 2006 to 2010, will also have to wait until the autumn for his peerage.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Donations of £1bn trigger calls for parties to adopt corruption checks – The Times

Britain is in ‘panicked’ discussions with Five Eyes allies to combat the West’s reliance on China

“The UK government is in ‘panicked’ discussions to revive the Critical 5 alliance to combat the West’s dependence on China for its infrastructure. Five Eyes countries – Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are said to be in ‘feverish discussions’ to resurrect the Critical 5 branch of their agreement from 2012 which deals with critical infrastructure such as water, energy and communications… ‘They haven’t met for five years but fears over supplies and our ability to secure ourselves have grown so great that the governments are resurrecting this historic body in order to tackle security together.’ The source added that many ministers in the UK Government see the Critical 5 initiative as an ‘oven-ready’ structure to deal with the challenge of China’s stranglehold on the supply chain on a ‘multilateral basis’.” – Daily Mail

Corbyn acted in ‘self-interest’ when deleting Wiley tweet, says anti-Semitism charity

“Jeremy Corbyn has been accused of “acting purely out of self-interest” after he deleted an old tweet thanking Wiley but failed to condemn the rap star’s anti-Semitic rant. The former Labour leader became the latest public figure to distance themselves from the 41-year-old rapper, known as ‘the Godfather of grime’ following his anti-Semitic rants over social media. Mr Corbyn – whose five-year leadership of the Labour Party was repeatedly dogged by complaints of anti-Semitism and became embroiled in multiple scandals – deleted a tweet from December thanking the musician for his support at the 2019 general election, in which his Conservative Party rival, Boris Johnson, won an 80-seat majority.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Corbynite rebellion crumbles after plot to undermine Starmer backfires – Daily Express

More:

  • Khan ‘thought Brexit was bigger risk’ than coronavirus – The Sun

Comment:

  • To rebuild the left, let’s look beyond the Labour leadership – Neal Lawson, The Guardian

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