Five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday morning.
Here are five things you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic this Thursday evening. We’ll have another update for you this evening.
1. Pressure on PM despite cabinet support
In Parliament on Wednesday, Boris Johnson admitted attending a drinks party in Downing Street last May – when the country was in Covid lockdown – for 25 minutes. He said he thought the gathering was a work event – but he apologised and accepted that, “in hindsight”, he should have sent everyone inside. At least four MPs – including the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, Douglas Ross – have called for him to go. But Foreign Secretary Liz Truss tweeted that she was behind Mr Johnson “100%”. Rishi Sunak – another tipped as the next PM – said Mr Johnson was right to apologise, and that he “supported his request for patience” while an inquiry takes place. Meanwhile, Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg dismissed Mr Ross as “lightweight”.
2. Djokovic in Australian Open draw
Novak Djokovic has been drawn in the Australian Open, as the decision over whether the defending champion can stay in the country drags on. Djokovic will play fellow Serb Miomir Kecmanovic in the first round – if he’s allowed to stay. The draw was originally supposed to be announced at 3pm local time (04:00 GMT) on Thursday but was delayed by 45 minutes without reason. At a news conference, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he did not want to comment on Djokovic’s visa status – and that it was up to the immigration minister to decide whether to revoke it or not.
3. Omicron piles pressure on struggling care system
The care system faces grim and relentless pressure compounded by Omicron, an organisation representing not-for-profit providers says. The National Care Forum says existing staff shortages, absences caused by the Covid variant and delayed PCR results have left many services struggling. The government says it has put significant additional money into social care. But the NCF says this amounts to “crumbs from the table”.
4. Anti-viral tablets ‘kept me out of hospital’
A patient taking part in trials for Covid antiviral drugs says she started feeling better within 24 hours of taking the tablets. Amy-Claire Davies, of Swansea, said Molnupiravir pills were delivered to her door within an hour of speaking to the prescription service. “If I hadn’t taken them I would have ended up being hospitalised,” Ms Davies said. The tablets were prescribed as part of a trial led by Oxford University.
5. Downing Street drinks party angers families
Ruby Fuller, 18, died from leukaemia five days before the Downing Street garden party in May 2020, which Boris Johnson apologised for on Wednesday. Lockdown rules meant Ruby had to say goodbye to her friends, grandparents and other relatives via video call. Her mother, Emma Jones, tells the BBC she now feels “stupid” for following the rules, and thinks Mr Johnson should resign. Other families have also voiced their anger – click here for more.
And there’s more…
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