Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 7 Jun 2020

1. Johnson eased lockdown ‘after warning of jobs bloodbath’

Boris Johnson ordered ministers to lift the lockdown quickly to avoid “jobs bloodbath,” says The Sunday Times. The prime minister made the decision at a meeting on Tuesday in which he was warned by Alok Sharma, the business secretary, that failure to reopen the hospitality sector for the summer could cost up to 3.5 million jobs. Johnson replied: “Christ!”

2. Fresh Black Lives Matter rallies held in US and UK

Huge rallies have taken place across the US on the 12th day of protests sparked by George Floyd's death. Tens of thousands gathered in Washington DC, in the city's largest protest so far and people also demonstrated in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. In the UK, thousands joined protests in London, Manchester, Cardiff, Leicester and Sheffield.

3. Places of worship to begin re-opening on June 15

Places of worship will be allowed to open for private individual prayer from 15 June. Under plans to be announced by Boris Johnson next week, individual churches, mosques, synagogues and temples will be asked to manage the numbers of worshippers attending. The permitted gatherings are not yet expected to include weddings of any size, or full services.

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4. Brexit uncertainty set to deepen economic chaos

Uncertainty over Brexit is set to worsen economic havoc caused by the coronavirus pandemic. With just three weeks left for Britain and the EU to agree to an extension to the transition period of up to two years, James Smith, an economist at ING, said: “Markets are beginning to brace for no extension to the transition period, and the possibility that neither side can agree on a trade deal this year.”

5. Scientists ‘close to antibody treatment breakthrough’

Scientists may be close to a breakthrough on an antibody treatment that could save the lives of people who become infected with Covid-19. British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca says a dose of cloned antibodies could help those in the early stages of infection. A spokesman said “by having both you reduce the chance of resistance developing to one antibody”.

6. Met receives hundreds of tip-offs over McCann disappearance

British police have received almost 400 tip-offs about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann since a new suspect was identified on Wednesday. The Mail on Sunday says a witness has claimed to have spotted McCann getting into a German-owned VW van with a man just weeks after her disappearance. Meanwhile, German media says the new suspect has also been investigated over the disappearance of a German girl.

7. Ivanka Trump lashes out after university speech is cancelled

Ivanka Trump has criticised what she calls “cancel culture and viewpoint discrimination” after plans for her to give a commencement speech to students in Kansas were cancelled over Donald Trump’s response to the killing of George Floyd. After Wichita State University and WSU Tech announced their decision, Ivanka Trump tweeted: “Our nation’s campuses should be bastions of free speech.”

8. Opec agrees to extend record oil production cuts

Opec, Moscow and allies have agreed to extend record oil production cuts until the end of next month. The move prolongs a deal that has helped crude prices double by withdrawing almost 10% of global supplies from the market. “Demand is returning as big oil-consuming economies emerge from pandemic lockdown. But we are not out of the woods yet and challenges ahead remain,” said the Saudi energy minister.

9. Health leaders tell Boris to prepare for second wave

Health chiefs have told Boris Johnson to ditch “cheap political rhetoric” and plan to tackle a second wave of coronavirus infections. Senior figures from the NHS have warned of a “dramatic” drop in capacity at NHS hospitals. Meanwhile, a poll for The Observer found that public confidence in the government’s ability to deal with the pandemic has dropped 21 points since the beginning of lockdown.

10. Did China cover-up the outbreak of the coronavirus?

There are fresh allegations that China covered up the Covid-19 outbreak after it was claimed that samples taken from sick patients and analysed by at least five laboratories had confirmed the existence of a lethal new coronavirus before Beijing informed global health authorities. “China knew the new virus was prevalent last December but failed to inform the public or share with the international community,’ said a pro-democracy activist.

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