Thursday, October 22, 2020

Tuesday morning news briefing: Sage wanted harsher lockdown

Tuesday morning news briefing: Sage wanted harsher lockdown

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PM overruled scientists who wanted tougher measures

The tiers are here, but do they go far enough? It has emerged that Boris Johnson overruled government scientists who wanted him to impose tougher lockdown measures. Shortly after the Prime Minister announced a new three-tier system of regional restrictions, documents showed that a “circuit-breaker” shutdown was recommended for England by expert advisers three weeks ago. Read the papers from the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) calling for an immediate introduction of national interventions. They emerged soon after Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer and Sage member, warned the new measures did not go far enough during a televised press conference. Standing on the other side of Mr Johnson was Chancellor Rishi Sunak. Associate Editor Camilla Tominey says Mr Sunak left little room for doubt over who is pulling the strings. And sketchwriter Michael Deacon noticed an unmistakable lack of optimism in Mr Johnson’s grim message to Britain. Read everything we know about life under new local lockdowns and search for which tier your area is in.

If there is a silver lining, could it involve property? These are the hotspots where lockdown restrictions could push up house prices. And Matt, of course, finds the funny side of the pubs ban in today’s cartoon.

Trump feeling ‘powerful’ back on the campaign trail

Deprived of his campaign trail for 10 days by Covid-19, President Donald Trump took centre stage again last night in Florida, vowing that he is in “great shape” with 22 days until he faces Joe Biden in the election. “I went through it and now they say I’m immune,” he told cheering supporters, few of whom wore masks. “I feel so powerful. I’ll kiss everyone in that audience.” US Editor Ben Riley-Smith writes from the rally in Sanford that, whatever the state of the polls (our tracker has the latest), Mr Trump is ready to fight for his political life. Part two of our series on how the President has changed the world asks if he has irrevocably altered how countries speak to one another. I can also recommend the final episode of The Trump Card, our new podcast with Nigel Farage.

Stay positive: Your six-month hibernation plan

Here we go again. The thought of another six months in lockdown feels daunting. And, as we settle into the colder months, a growing number of people could struggle with the prospect of further restrictions. But there are ways to lighten the load. From gardening to music, these are six things you can do to stay positive throughout the winter. For a mood-booster, try our Good News newsletter packed with uplifting stories.

At a glance: More coronavirus headlines

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

EU talks | France’s Emmanuel Macron will show “no weakness” during tough trade negotiations over Brexit fishing rights, his Europe Minister warned. Boris Johnson threatened to quit discussions if the “shape” of a trade deal is not in sight by Thursday’s EU summit. But Clément Beaune, a close ally of Mr Macron, said: “We will not accept a bad deal.” Brussels Correspondent James Crisp has the latest as the deadline looms.  

Around the world: Protesters may face live fire

Belarusian authorities threatened to shoot protesters with live ammunition, as the regime of Alexander Lukashenko tried to put a stop to relentless demonstrations. Read our dispatch from Nataliya Vasilyeva and view our gallery of more striking world pictures.

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