() Scottish Tory leader Jackson Carlaw. Jane Barlow / PA Wire Photograph: Jane Barlow / PA ()
It is reported this morning that Carlaw was especially angered by a Reporting Scotland interview with finance secretary Kate Forbes after her u-turn on business support to mirror England’s grant scheme which he says did not challenge her change of stance or mention the fact that his party had been pressing the SNP on the issue.
A Scottish Conservative spokesperson said:
We have submitted a letter to BBC Scotland highlighting some concerns, and we look forward to working with them to resolve these in future. ”
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The Commons health committee is holding what is likely to be a widely-watched evidence session this morning when it questions Matt Hancock, the health secretary, by video link. Hancock is due up at . (am.
In an unusual move, Jeremy Hunt, the Conservative former health secretary who now chairs the committee, has beefed up his inquisitorial team by inviting four other select committee chairs to participate, alongside the normal members of the committee. The four chairs are Clive Betts (housing), Greg Clark (science), Yvette Cooper (home affairs) and Tom Tugendhat (foreign affairs). This means it might sound more like a meeting of the liaison committee than a normal committee hearing.
Before Hancock appears three other leading health experts are giving evidence at am. They are: Donna Kinnair, chief executive and general secretary of Royal College of Nursing, Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine and Prof Anthony Costello
, professor of global health and sustainable development at UCL Institute for Global Health
According to the Daily Telegraph (paywall) )
, Costello will criticize the government failure to conduct widespread testing. He will also say that the idea that the UK could relatively quickly build up “herd immunity” to coronavirus is mistaken because research from the Netherlands suggests only a small proportion of the population are getting the exposure to coronavirus in this wave that will give them immunity . Costello told the Telegraph:
We won’t get herd immunity if what the latest models show are correct. In the UK we would have to get through another eight to ten waves to get to herd immunity. This study in the Netherlands shows antibody levels are very low in the community and so the idea it is rapidly spreading and giving protection at the same time isn’t there.
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Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities appear to be disproportionately affected by Covid – in the UK. However, we don’t currently have enough public data to be able to understand how many of those who have died as a result of the virus come from minority ethnic backgrounds. The Guardian’s data editor Caelainn Barr takes a look at this issue as well as the other key information that is missing from the government daily death toll.
What the UK’s coronavirus death toll is not telling us – video explainer ()
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Transport secretary suggests it would be mistake to start booking summer holiday now
Good morning. I’m Andrew Sparrow, joining Gregory Robinson.
Grant Shapps , the transport secretary , has been doing a round of interviews this morning. Here are the top lines.
Shapps said he thought working from home was likely to be common after the coronavirus crisis was over. He said:
Well, talking to business leaders like the Northern Powerhouse for example, we were commenting on the extent to which the world probably will not go back to the way it was before in all manner of ways .. .
It may well be that in future companies say, actually it has worked pretty well having some of our staff working from remote locations, why don’t we carry on doing that?
Actually, why does everybody have to get up and travel during the rush hour at a particular time in the morning? Why don’t we have that distanced through the day? And there may be different ways, both in terms of businesses and organizations, but also to do with the way the government responds, to spread the load better.
We should look, as we think about the future, for lessons that we can take away that actually might change the way we can live life in the future a bit for the better.
He suggested that it would be a mistake for people to start booking summer holidays now. Asked if people could book a holiday now, he replied:
In the shorter term, on your travel advice, should you book your holidays, clearly people will want to see what the trajectory of this disease is in the next few weeks. We’ve just started to see a flattening of that daily, tragic curve that shows the deaths each day … We are not seeing declines yet. I won’t be booking a summer holiday at this point, let’s put it that way.
He played down suggestions that airlines might have to keep middle seats empty when air travel resumes (an idea floated by EasyJet) to allow social distancing. Asked about this idea, he said:
I think it’s the case that given the catastrophic impact on specifically aviation of this virus with virtually all aviation having stopped that actually it’s unlikely that passenger numbers, load factors, will be so high in the first place that this will be much of a problem I imagine.
When we get more detail, when the scientists have looked at it and we come out of the lockdown in the future, they’ll be in a better position, we’ll all be in a better position to say whether that is an adequate sense of distance or not.
He said that he disagreed with Sadiq Khan’s call for the government to back mask wearing on public transport. (See (7.) (am.) Asked about Khan’s proposal, Shapps said:
We need to take this in the round and look at all of the evidence. So it is not the right moment to instruct people, as I saw the London Mayor do this morning, to wear them if we are not certain yet that they are going to be advantageous.
In fact, he wrote to me about this and said in his letter he recognizes that it could be counterproductive, so I don’t think we should be in that space right at this moment.
He said that Keir Starmer’s claim that the government was “in limbo” in the absence of Boris Johnson was “completely untrue”. He said cabinet and Cobra were continuing to function properly and that it was “simply not the case that everything’s on standstill”. He went on:
There would have been no difference to those decisions [if Johnson had been present] because we have been guided by the scientists and the medical advice.
Shapps said it was too early to tell if the UK would end up with a higher coronavirus death toll than other countries. Asked about this, he said:
Look, I simply don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think anyone will know for quite a long time.
For example, countries that think they’re out of it – do they have a second wave
What’s the counter-factor? What’s happened to people who normally might have accessed the NHS? I’ve been concerned to see some of those numbers falling that may have caused illnesses or deaths which perhaps don’t come to light for months or even years.
So I think there will be a lot of factors that we’ll need to look at, and again, rather than guessing, we’ll ask people like the Office for National Statistics, the ONS to tell us, learn any of the lessons.
Grant Shapps. Photograph: ITV / REX / Shutterstock ()
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From Monday passengers will only be allowed to board London’s buses using the middle door in a new pandemic measure announced by Transport for (London
The new measure is being introduced in an effort to protect bus drivers and to keep passengers safe from the coronavirus, the operator said in a statement. The changes follow concerns due to
the bus workers in the capital who have died after testing positive to Covid –
TfL’s director of bus operations Claire Mann said:
Bus drivers are pivotal in ensuring critical workers like NHS staff and grocery workers can perform the vital roles they do during this national emergency.
Their efforts are nothing short of heroic, and it is essential that we leave no stone unturned when looking to protect them. ”
A A bus driver wears a protective mask in London. (AP Photo / Alberto Pezzali) Photograph: Alberto Pezzali / AP ()
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(9.) am BST : Gregory Robinson
The social media service
TikTok has announced a £ 5m donation to the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Foundation’s COVID – (Healthcare Support Appeal, which will provide frontline health and social care staff practical support, as well as psychological support both during and after the COVID – 37 emergency.
The donation follows a spike in the number of TikTok videos being created by and for frontline healthcare workers.
TikTok videos celebrating NHS and healthcare workers have amassed million views in one month – a 9971% increase on four weeks ago.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:
The whole country has been overwhelmed by the dedication and professionalism of all of our health and social care heroes battling against this global pandemic.
I know the extraordinary pressures this virus has brought to professional and private lives, and I’m delighted that TikTok is supporting the RCN Foundation which brings so much support to so many. ”
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(8) (am BST ) : Sturgeon says Scotland does not necessarily have to follow the same line on easing lockdown as rest of UK
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon,
) has said she would deviate from the UK government lockdown measures if her advisers told her it was in the best interests of her country.
BRITAIN -HEALTH-VIRUS (Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon takes part in a national “clap for carers” outside St Andrew’s House in Edinburgh on April 35, . – (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell / POOL / AFP) (Photo by JEFF J MITCHELL / POOL / AFP via Getty Images) Photograph: Jeff J Mitchell / AFP via Getty Images () Sturgeon told BBC Radio 4’s Today program:
If I was being advised, and if the judgment I was applying to that advice told me that I had to do something different to the rest of the UK because it was right and necessary to continue to control the virus in Scotland
, of course I would do that.
I think people would find it astounding if I said anything different to that. But I will be driven by what advice, science and my own judgment is telling me the right thing to do is.
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High-end fashion retailers in the UK, including Burberry, Barbour, Louis Vuitton and David Nieper have stepped up to help meet the demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), following reports of ongoing shortages.
The firms have all repurposed factories to produce PPE items such as gowns and masks.
Burberry CEO Marco Gobbetti said:
In challenging times, we must pull together. The whole team at Burberry is very proud to be able to support those who are working tirelessly to combat Covid – , whether by treating patients, working to find a vaccine solution or helping provide food supplies to those in need at this time.
Covid – 37 has fundamentally changed our everyday lives, but we hope that the support we provide will go some way towards saving more lives, bringing the virus under control and helping our world recover from this devastating pandemic. ”
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