Daily News Briefing: NHS fees to be scrapped for overseas health staff, after mounting pressure from MPs

Friday 22 May


Friday 22 May 2020 News Briefing – Today’s headlines are dominated by the global Coronavirus Pandemic. As of 6:30 am (GMT), these are the global active numbers.


Coronavirus Cases: 5,197,776

Deaths: 334,675

Recovered: 2,082,717

Today’s Outlook
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  • Coronavirus: Global cases top 5 million. 
  • China’s new outbreak shows the virus may be changing.
  • NHS fees to be scrapped for overseas health staff. 
  • More than 30,000 pubs and restaurants may not reopen after lockdown. 
  • Guatemala blasts Trump over virus-infected migrant deportation.
  • American views of Covid-19 reflect media narratives, with deep partisan divide – but unity against China.
  • Coronavirus fears grip the Middle East; 10,000 Iran medics infected.

Coronavirus: live updates

CNN says more than 5.1 million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide, including nearly 333,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

There have been spikes in cases in Latin America as the region reported more new cases than the US or Europe for three days in a row, driven by high numbers in Brazil, Peru and Mexico.

Read the full story on CNN


China’s new outbreak shows signs that coronavirus could be changing

Japan Times says Chinese doctors are seeing the coronavirus manifest differently among patients in its new cluster of cases in the northeast region compared to the original outbreak in Wuhan, suggesting that the pathogen may be changing in unknown ways and complicating efforts to stamp it out. 

Patients found in the northern provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang appear to carry the virus for a longer period of time and take longer to test negative.

Read the full story on Japan Times


NHS fees to be scrapped for overseas health staff

BBC News says NHS staff and care workers from overseas will no longer have to pay an extra charge towards the health service after mounting pressure from MPs. 

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said the PM had asked the Home Office and Department of Health to exempt NHS and care workers “as soon as possible.”

The health immigration surcharge on non-EU migrants is £400 per year and set to rise to £624 in October.

Read the full story on BBC News


More than 30,000 pubs and restaurants ‘may not reopen after lockdown’

The Guardian says more than 30,000 pubs, bars and restaurants may remain permanently closed because the coronavirus shutdown has sent a wrecking ball through the UK’s hospitality industry. 

The grim prediction follows a week in which the Casual Dining Group – which owns Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge – warned it was headed into administration, casting doubt over the future of its 250 restaurants. 

Read the full story on The Guardian


Guatemala blasts Trump over virus-infected migrant deportation

France24 says Guatemala blasted US President Donald Trump on Thursday over US deportations of migrants infected with the coronavirus. 

President Alejandro Giammattei said the deportations had saturated quarantine centres in Guatemala and heaped pressure on the Central American country’s weak health system.

Read the full story on France24


Forget figures, American views of Covid-19 reflect media narratives, with deep partisan divide – but unity against China

RT News says Americans are sharply divided about almost every aspect of the pandemic, except for overwhelming mistrust of information coming from China, a new poll shows, aligning with the mainstream media coverage of the outbreak. 

One phrase keeps coming up repeatedly in results if a new American Trends poll, released Thursday by the Pew Research Centre: “significant partisan differences.” Question after question shows a wide gap between Democrats and Republicans on almost every topic.

Read the full story on RT News


Coronavirus fears grip the Middle East; 10,000 Iran medics infected

Aljazeera News says the coronavirus has infected more than 10,000 healthcare workers in hard-hit Iran, reports said, as health officials in war-ravaged Yemen and Gaza expressed mounting concern about the waves of new cases. 

Iran’s semi-official news agencies on Thursday cited Deputy Health Minister Qassem Hanbabaei, who did not elaborate. Reports earlier in the week put the number of infected healthcare workers at 800. Iran says more than 100 of those workers have died. 

Read the full story on Aljazeera

A quick look at the other top headlines from around the world.

Ahmaud Arbery: Third man arrested on charges including felony murder

Fox News says William “Roddie” Bryan Jr., the man who recorded the deadly February shooting of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, has been arrested on charges of felony murder and criminal attempt to commit false imprisonment, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation [GBI] announced Thursday night.

Read on. 



Prosecutors demand 21-year sentence for Mosque shooting

EuroNews says Norwegian prosecutors have sought a 21-year prison sentence for a right-wing extremist who is alleged to have opened fire outside a mosque near Oslo last year.

Philip Manshaus, 22, is on trial for “homicide” and a “terrorist act”.

Read on.


Burundi awaits poll results as opposition alleges fraud

AfricaNews says polling station closed across Burundi on Wednesday in a largely incident-free process in keenly watched general elections.

The polls will usher in the post-Pierre Nkurunziza era. But voters also cast ballots for lawmakers and local level representatives. Internet connectivity for social media and messaging apps were blocked early Wednesday morning.

Read on. 

World Bank pledges $500 million to fight locust swarms in east Africa and the Middle East

FT says the World Bank will provide $500m to fight the worst locust infestation in decades in East Africa and parts of the Middle East, which it said could cause economic damage costing $8.5bn this year without a comprehensive intervention.

Read on. 

Kolkata devastated as cyclone kills scores in India and Bangladesh

BBC News says the eastern Indian city of Kolkata has been devastated by a powerful cyclone which has killed at least 84 people across India and Bangladesh.

Thousands of trees were uprooted in the gales, electricity and telephone lines brought down and houses flattened.

Read on.

NZ opposition changes leader as PM support soars

France24 says New Zealand’s conservative opposition switched leaders Friday in a last-gasp bid to counter the record support Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is enjoying for containing the coronavirus.

Read on. 


sports news

arts & ent

Micheal Jordan: A great leader - or someone who went too far?

Micheal Jordan: A great leader – Or someone who went too far? 

Read on.

Harry Potter first edition found in a skip sells for £33,000

Harry Potter first edition, found in a skip, sells for £33,000

Read on.

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