Ten Things You Need to Know Today: Sunday 25 Oct 2020

1. Elderly were denied intensive care during Covid peak

Over-80s were denied intensive care treatment at the peak of the Covid-19 crisis, according to The Sunday Times. The paper says new guidelines were also used to prevent many elderly coronavirus patients from receiving ventilation. Hospitals in Manchester, Liverpool, London, the Midlands and the south east reportedly followed the guidance.

2. Thousands of doctors demand u-turn on school meals

The government is under intensifying pressure to reverse its decision not to provide free school meals over the holidays in England. As Labour threatens to push for another Commons vote, Tory MPs have joined over 2,000 doctors in calling for a u-turn. Children’s doctors have praised Marcus Rashford as a “source of inspiration” for his campaign.

3. Joe Biden leading among pivotal demographic groups

The latest polling shows that Joe Biden enjoys significant leads in key demographics, notes The Observer. Analysts say that the election could rest on two crucial groups that appear to be deserting Donald Trump: elderly people and suburban women. Jacobs, director of the Center for the Study of Politics and Governance at the University of Minnesota, said the two blocs “are absolutely dooming Donald Trump”.

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4. Barnier extends London stay as hopes of deal grow

Michel Barnier may extend post-Brexit talks in London for a further three days, as optimism grows on both sides during revived negotiations. The EU's chief negotiator, who was due to return to Brussels today, is understood to have decided to remain in the UK until Wednesday. The Sunday Telegraph says sources have effectively set Halloween as a deadline to decide whether there will be a deal.

5. NHS staff could receive Covid-19 vaccine before Christmas

Frontline NHS staff could receive a coronavirus vaccine within weeks, according to an email seen by the Mail on Sunday. The message sent by an NHS Trust chief to his staff reveals the health service is preparing for a national vaccination programme before Christmas. Glen Burley, chief executive of George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Warwickshire, writes: “A coronavirus vaccine should be available this year with NHS staff prioritised prior to Christmas.”

6. At least 18 die in suicide bombing in Kabul

At least 18 people have been killed in a suicide bomb attack outside an education centre in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Dozens were wounded in the explosion at the private facility, which offers courses for students in higher education. The Islamic State group has claimed it was behind the attack but the BBC points out it has not provided any evidence.

7. Johnson under fire for alliances with neo-Nazis

Boris Johnson is under fire over an “appalling” Tory alliance with neo-Nazi and anti-Muslim parties across Europe. The Tory peer, Lord Balfe, says the prime minister told him it was going on “a long way away and no one understands it”. Conservative representatives sit alongside the “heirs of Mussolini” and an Estonian party that celebrates its collaboration with Hitler.

8. Nigerian chief calls for mobilisation of police resources

Nigeria's chief of police has ordered the immediate mobilisation of all police resources amid ongoing street violence and looting. Police officers said they had been ordered to end the “violence, killings, looting and destruction of property” after Mohammed Adamu claimed that criminals had hijacked anti-police brutality protests and taken over public spaces.

9. Isolation for Covid-19 trace contacts could be halved

The Sunday Telegraph says the 14-day isolation period for contacts of those infected with coronavirus could be halved amid fears about levels of compliance with the Test and Trace system. Boris Johnson is said to have become “disillusioned” with data provided by the service, after some of it was proved to be incorrect.

10. Treaty to ban nuclear weapons official after 50th signatory

An international treaty to ban nuclear weapons has been ratified by a 50th country, allowing the symbolic text to become official. The UN secretary general, Antonio Guterres, called it “the culmination of a worldwide movement to draw attention to the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of any use of nuclear weapons”. However, no nuclear powers have signed up.

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