Brexit

Express
BORIS JOHNSON’s chief negotiator with Europe has urged Michel Barnier to treat Britain as a sovereign state if he wants to secure a post-Brexit trade deal. During the latest round of talks, David Frost insisted the EU negotiator would have to rethink his positions in order to end months of deadlock. The pair had dinner on Monday night in London before holding further “informal” discussions on the future relationship pact. Officials on both sides were privately confident a deal can still be reached after good progress was made in talks last week. But a UK Government spokesman said Brussels has not yet decided whether it is ready to accept the Prime Minister’s offer of a Canada-style free-trade agreement. “We have had constructive discussions and both sides have shown pragmatism and willingness to move on difficult areas,” the spokesman said. “What is needed now is internal reflection on the EU side on whether what they’re asking us is consistent with our status as an independent country.

Fisheries

Express
IRELAND’S fishing chiefs have warned of an “unmitigated disaster” if the UK and the EU cannot agree a trade deal before the end of the Brexit transition period on December 31. The country’s fishing industry could see up to 5,000 jobs slashed if European trawlers are kicked out of Britain’s rich waters, bosses have said. The warning comes after Brussels’ chief negotiator Michel Barnier last week admitted that a deal looked “at this point unlikely” as he wrapped up a round of talks with David Frost in London. The Killybegs Fishermen’s Association which represents fishermen in County Donegal said a no-deal Brexit would have devastating consequences for the local economy.

EU

Telegraph
The Europeans called him Dr No for opposing a no-strings-attached EU coronavirus bailout but in The Netherlands there’s support for prime minister Mark Rutte’s “careful” stance. In tense negotiations in Brussels earlier this month, Rutte was slammed as ringleader of the ‘frugal four’ nations, with Austria, Sweden and Denmark. They ensured more of a Next Generation EU €750bn (£677bn) corona bailout fund consisted of loans rather than subsidies, with an “emergency brake” if states are deemed to be dragging their feet on reforms intended to make their economies more resilient.

Trade deal

Sun
BRITAIN will sign the first post-Brexit trade deal within weeks after talks with Japan. The discussions, in the wake of 40-plus years of being tied to the European Union, were carried out at breakneck speed. Negotiations opened on June 8 and have been conducted daily until today’s “significant breakthrough”. The top-level dialogue is at an “advanced stage” and ministers believe they could wrap it up by September. The accord will reduce the cost of Japanese tech devices, such as PlayStations, and allow the UK to sell more luxury cars there. The arrangement will be implemented on January 1, 2021 — as soon as the UK’s transition period out of the EU expires.

Alzheimer’s

Mail
A simple blood test can diagnose Alzheimer’s disease, sometimes decades before symptoms even begin. Scientists revealed a protein involved in the damage of brain cells accumulates in the blood of patients up to 20 years before memory declines.  P-tau217 clumps abnormally in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients — and some tiny fragments can leak into the bloodstream. Researchers found a blood test that measured levels of the protein was 98 per cent accurate at identifying people with the memory-robbing disease.  The breakthrough has been described as ‘extremely important’ for the development of treatments.

Second wave

Mail
Boris Johnson fears a second wave of coronavirus could start within a fortnight. A senior government source told the Mail the Prime Minister was ‘extremely concerned’ by outbreaks ‘bubbling up’, both at home and abroad. Although the number of UK cases is relatively low, rises were recorded each day last week for the first time since the April peak.  The seven-day average stands at almost 700 – 28 per cent up on three weeks ago. Ministers have been warning of a potential second wave of the pandemic this winter but now fear it could come sooner.

Yahoo News
Boris Johnson said on Tuesday that the UK could impose further restrictions on European countries if a “second wave” of coronavirus hits the continent. It comes after England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty reportedly told ministers that 10 Britons who tested positive for coronavirus after July 1 said they had come back from Spain. The Iberian nation has seen a large spike in cases, with 900 in the past two days alone, as Spanish authorities warn the country could be facing the start of a second major outbreak.

Sun
THE coronavirus pandemic is not like the seasonal flu and is coming in “one big wave” the World Health Organisation has said. The global health body’s warning comes amid fears of a second wave in Europe with Brits returning from Spain forced into quarantine. Holiday plans for millions were thrown into chaos after an effective travel ban was slapped on Spain over the weekend due to a spike in coronavirus cases. The WHO summer said Covid-19 did not behave like influenza, which tended to follow seasonal trends. Margaret Harris, from the WHO, said some of the hardest-hit countries are currently in the midst of different season.

Sky News
Boris Johnson has warned the signs of a “second wave” of coronavirus are surfacing in Europe, as he defended changing travel advice on Spain. The prime minister backed the decision taken over the weekend to tell any travellers returning from Spain to the UK to quarantine for 14 days over fears COVID-19 levels there are growing. “What we have to do is take swift and decisive action where we think that the risks are starting to bubble up again,” he said on a visit to Nottingham on Tuesday. “Let’s be absolutely clear about what’s happening in Europe: Amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.”

Deaths

Telegraph
Twice as many people are now dying at home from unexplained causes rather than Covid-19, with experts calling for an urgent investigation into what is causing the excess deaths. New figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) show there were 766 more deaths at home than usual in the week to July 17.  In contrast, just 295 deaths involved coronavirus in England and Wales, and only 29 of those occurred at home.  It brings the total excess deaths at home during the pandemic to more than 20,000.

Furloughed jobs

Mail
The cost of the Government’s furlough scheme passed £30billion this week but will not stop unemployment rising above ten per cent, a leading thinktank has warned.  Ending the scheme ‘prematurely’ in October is ‘a mistake’ and will cost 1.2million jobs, a National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) report says.  It has warned that without an extension unemployment will surge above three million by the end of the year – the highest it has been since 1993.  If Chancellor Rishi Sunak extends the scheme into next year it will curtail the damage by protecting 1.2million jobs and the policy would pay for itself, the report says.

Telegraph
There are more than forty people chasing every vacancy in parts of London – higher than any other city in Britain, new research seen by this newspaper shows.   Vacancies in the capital have fallen by almost 60pc since the start of the coronavirus pandemic while the number of people unemployed and claiming benefits has more than doubled, according to jobs site Adzuna, which led the analysis. This is the highest rate of increase of any region in England.  Since March the number of available jobs in London has fallen from 200,000 to 85,000. At the same time, the number of people claiming unemployment-related benefits has risen by 150pc, from 185,000 to 460,000, data from the Office for National Statistics shows.

City AM
UK unemployment is set to rise to 10 per cent by the end of the year after the government made the “mistake” of winding down the job retention scheme, a respected economic forecaster has predicted. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (Niesr) also said the UK economy would take three years to return to its 2019 size. It predicted GDP would fall by an enormous 10 per cent this year and grow six per cent in 2021. Niesr praised the government’s job retention scheme as an “undeniable success”. Under the programme, the state pays 80 per cent of the wages of workers who may otherwise have been laid off.

Independent
The government’s decision to end its furlough scheme in October is a “mistake” and will likely see unemployment rise to nearly 10 per cent this year, Britain’s oldest independent economic research group has warned. The National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) forecasts that unemployment levels will then recede in 2021 if the economic recovery gathers speed, but will remain around two per cent higher than than if the scheme were extended, at around 6.4 per cent. Based on these forecasts and Office for National Statistics data, The Independent estimates that this rise in 2021 would roughly equate to an additional 700,000 people losing their jobs.

Social care

Independent
Ministers have been accused of a “slow, inconsistent and at times negligent” approach to social care during the coronavirus pandemic that has exposed years of delayed reforms to the sector. In a damning report, the cross-party Public Accounts Committee said the decision to discharge around 25,000 patients from NHS hospitals into care homes – without first testing them – was “an appalling error” in the initial weeks of the outbreak. On personal protective equipment for social care staff, the committee chair Meg Hillier said that failure to provide kit for workers and volunteers who risked their lives through the first peak of Covid-19 was “a sad, low moment in our national response”.

Mirror
The Government has been slammed for its “at times negligent” approach to social care during the coronavirus crisis. Advising hospitals to discharge thousands of patients without testing them for the deadly disease first was a “reckless” and “appalling” error. The powerful Commons public accounts committee also said it was concerned the Department of Health continued with the policy even once the problem was clear. More than 20,000 people in care homes have died during the pandemic despite ministers claiming to have “put our arms round” the vulnerable sector. Hospitals in England were asked on March 17 to discharge patients, but patients did not require a coronavirus test prior to discharge until April 15.

ITV News
Advising hospitals to discharge thousands of patients into care homes without knowing if they had coronavirus was a “reckless” and “appalling” policy error, a Commons report argues. Discharging around 25,000 patients to free up beds was an example of the Government’s “slow, inconsistent and at times negligent” approach to social care, the cross-party Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said. It added that it was “concerned” that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) had continued with the policy “even once it was clear there was an emerging problem”. Hospitals in England were asked on March 17 to discharge patients, but patients did not require a coronavirus test prior to discharge until April 15. And it was the end of April when the government said all care home residents and staff, regardless of symptoms, would be able to access tests.

BBC News
The decision to allow hospital patients in England to be discharged to care homes without Covid-19 tests at the start of the pandemic has been described as “reckless” by MPs. The Public Accounts Committee said there had clearly been an “emerging problem” with official advice before it was “belatedly” changed in April. It accused ministers of being slow to support social care during the crisis. The government said it had been “working closely” with the sector. The committee said around 25,000 patients were discharged into care homes in England between mid-March and mid-April to free up hospital beds.

Quarantine

Independent
Holidaymakers wanting to visit Spain’s sunshine islands have been given a glimmer of hope as a government minister suggested that quarantine rules may be fine-tuned to allow travel to regions less affected by coronavirus. Baroness Vere’s comment came as prime minister Boris Johnson warned of the possibility of further travel restrictions due to a “second wave” of the Covid-19 virus in Europe. Mr Johnson defended Saturday’s decision to impose a controversial 14-day quarantine on holiday-makers returning from any part of Spain, including the popular Balearic and Canary Islands which are hundreds of miles from the mainland and have experienced far lower levels of infection.

Mail
A furious childminder yesterday slammed the decision to include the Canary Islands in the Spanish quarantine rules, saying it cost her a week’s wages – as well as almost half her family holiday. Vicki Hedley, 45, had spent a relaxing nine days in sunny Gran Canaria with daughters Megan, 20, and Katie, 15, forgetting about the stresses of months under lockdown. All that was turned upside down by Saturday’s news: the islands were included in the Government’s rules enforcing two weeks of quarantine when travellers return to Britain.

Guardian
People returning to the UK from Spain have spoken out about how they are facing a shortfall in income after the government introduced a 14-day quarantine period, as they cannot work and do not receive occupational sick pay. “The government’s decision is ridiculously unfair,” said Alejandro Castrillo, 29, who works at a hotel in London and had been visiting family in Asturias, northern Spain. “I don’t have the option to work from home and having to quarantine will mean unpaid leave or enforced holiday. Quarantine is not remunerated and I do not get sick pay. This is only generating higher levels of uncertainty.”

Mail
Travellers to Britain from high-risk countries could safely stop quarantining if they test negative after seven days, scientists have suggested.  Fresh modelling has found that testing arrivals a week after entering the UK would identify 94 per cent of coronavirus  cases. It means that those who test negative would be almost certain they were not infected and could cut short their 14-day isolation at the midway point. Ministers are still grappling with whether to reduce the two-week isolation period for arrivals from non-exempt countries, such as Spain which had its air corridor revoked suddenly last week.

Treatment

Mail
Scientists have identified 21 compounds that could help treat coronavirus, including everything from an already-approved leprosy drug to a failed allergy drug and experimental cancer treatments, recent study reveals.  And 13 of those drugs have already proven safe at doses that are unlikely to pose dangers to coronavirus patients in trials for other purposes, according to the study published in Nature.  The researchers from Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in California are particularly encouraged by finding that four of the drugs might work well in combination with remdesivir, which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already given emergency approval to treat COVID-19.

Vaccine

Reuters
Britain has signed a deal for up to 60 million doses of a possible COVID-19 vaccine being developed by Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline, it said on Wednesday, its fourth such arrangement as the race to tame the pandemic heats up. No vaccine has yet been approved for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus that has killed more than 659,000 people and unleashed economic havoc worldwide. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. Sanofi and GSK confirmed in a statement that regulatory approval for their vaccine could be achieved by the first half of 2021 if clinical data was positive.

Testing

Telegraph
The chief executive of Heathrow Airport has urged the Government to allow passengers to be tested for Covid-19 on arrival in a trial to rescue the summer tourism season. John Holland-Kaye told The Telegraph that Heathrow could have a test “up and running” in two weeks, meaning holidaymakers who have just set off for Spain could be checked – at a cost of £150 – when they arrived home. They would be tested on arrival and, if the result was negative, would be tested again five or eight days later. A second negative test would allow them to come out of quarantine up to six or nine days early, depending on how quickly tests are processed.

Cheap meals

Mail
A newly-released postcode checker shows which pubs and restaurants are offering up to £10 off meals in August under Rishi Sunak‘s new scheme.  Diners will receive a 50 per cent discount, up to a maximum of £10 per head, on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in the month of August under the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ programme. The diner discount, which will only apply to participating business, was announced earlier in the month by the chancellor to boost spending on Britain’s ailing High Streets. It is set to launch next week just days after the government launched an new anti-obesity strategy, spelling the end of confectionery displays at store checkouts and deals such as ‘buy one get one free’ on unhealthy foods’.

Meat

Order-order
An eco-warrior administration at Enfield Council is set to become the first elected body in the UK to ban meat in an attempt to tackle climate change. Buried on page 36 of their “Enfield climate action plan 2020” it is spelt out that from December 2020 onwards, “all events held by Enfield Council where catering is provided [will] offer only vegan or vegetarian options”. Guido will be sure to turn down any Enfield Council soirée invitations in future… The new plan, written by the Labour council’s Deputy Leader Ian Barnes, clearly took inspiration from some hard left universities like Goldsmith’s, who are currently the only public bodies to have implemented such authoritarian policies.

Madeleine

Mail
Madeleine McCann suspect Christian Brueckner has dropped his bid for an early release from prison, on the same day that German police dug up an allotment near his former home and removed possible evidence in bags in the hunt for the missing girl.  Brueckner is currently in prison in Kiel for drug offences and had launched legal proceedings for an early release after serving two-thirds of his sentence. The two-thirds benchmark passed on June 7, leading to fears he could be released and subsequently disappear before the Maddie case was resolved.  However, he has now dropped his bid, though he is still appealing against a conviction for the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old woman, also in Praia da Luz.

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