Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Monday 4 May 2020

1. New lows for Covid-19 deaths in France, Italy and Spain

Italy, France and Spain have registered their lowest daily death tolls for weeks as they gradually lift lockdown measures. France reported 135 deaths; Spain’s 164 was its lowest tally since mid-March; and Italy’s 174 was the lowest in two months. Meanwhile, a French doctor has claimed new tests on samples from patients show the virus was present in the country last year - long before the first officially recorded case.

2. Reduced hot-desking among UK plans for reopening offices

A reduction in hot-desking is among the measures being considered to allow UK workplaces to reopen. The BBC says a draft government document to ease anti-coronavirus measures also urges bosses to minimise numbers, stagger shift times and maximise home-working. The document says additional hygiene procedures, physical screens and the use of protective equipment should be considered where maintaining social distancing between workers is not possible.

3. Trump says US will have coronavirus vaccine by 2021

US President Donald Trump says the US will have a vaccine for the coronavirus before 2021. “We are very confident that we're going to have a vaccine at the end of the year, by the end of the year,” he told Fox News. Boris Johnson will describe the race to develop a vaccine as “the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetimes”, as he joins fellow world leaders today in a virtual summit on the global response to Covid-19.

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4. Government set to allow Year Six pupils back to school first

Government scientific advisers are considering allowing children in their final year of primary school to return to classrooms from 1 June. It is believed that the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is prioritising older primary school children because of their need to transition to secondary school in September. Boris Johnson is expected to announce the move next Sunday.

5. Murder inquiry launched after farmhouse shooting in Suffolk

A murder investigation is under way after the mother of eight-year-old twins was shot dead at a farmhouse in Suffolk yesterday morning. The victim was named as Silke Hartshorne-Jones, a solicitor in her early 40s who lived with her husband, Peter, a dealer in shotguns, and sons, Henry and Harry. A 51-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder.

6. Amazon mayor appeals to Thunberg for coronavirus help

An Amazonian mayor has appealed to environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg for help with the region’s fight against the coronavirus. As bodies are put in mass graves, the mayor of Manaus, Arthur Virgilio Neto, said: “My very dear Greta Ernman Thunberg... I’m telling you that we are needing help. We have to save the lives of the protectors of the forest.”

7. Joe Biden’s accuser pulls out of TV show after threats

A former assistant to Joe Biden who claims that the then senator sexually assaulted her 27 years ago says she has received death threats. Tara Reade had been considering an appearance on Fox News but pulled out after the Democratic presidential candidate denied the allegation in his first television interview about the claims. Biden also called for Senate records to be searched for evidence of her complaint.

8. Bored Brits producing a flood of patent applications

There has been a rush of patent applications in the UK as locked-down Britons are inspired to come up with new inventions. Three law firms told The Daily Telegraph that April saw a flood of science and technology ideas. “I think one of the main reasons is that people are sitting at home bored,” said a partner at Mathys & Squire LLP.

9. Pompeo says Covid-19 originated in lab

The US secretary of state has claimed there is “enormous evidence” that the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory. However, when Mike Pompeo was reminded by a television interviewer that US intelligence had officially recognised the scientific consensus that the virus was not man-made or genetically modified, he replied: “That’s right. I agree with that.”

10. Dozens die during riot in Venezuela prison

At least 46 people have died in a riot at a prison in Venezuela, according to reports. Inmates at Los Llanos jail, near the western city of Guanare, staged the uprising over a lack of food and water, according to the Venezuelan Prison Observatory. However, other sources claim the unrest began during an alleged escape attempt.

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