Top story: England faces three-tier Covid alert system
Morning everyone. I’m Martin Farrer and these are the top stories this Monday morning.
A surprise drive-by visit by Donald Trump to supporters outside the hospital where he is being treated for coronavirus has been described as “insanity” by a senior doctor. As he prepared to spend another night in the Walter Reed medical centre near Washington, Trump appeared in the black presidential SUV to wave to supporters camped outside the facility where he has been receiving treatment since Saturday. At least two other people, presumed to be Secret Service agents, were in the vehicle wearing respirators and eye protection. The US president, who has said his illness has made him understand Covid-19 better, was wearing a mask during the drive-by, which lasted around one minute. But James Phillips, doctor of emergency medicine at George Washington University and a visiting physician at Walter Reed, called the stunt “insanity” and said Trump had placed the lives of the other people in the vehicle at risk. Several people in Trump’s inner circle have also contracted Covid-19. Mary Trump, the president’s niece, has told NPR that the US is in a “mess” because her uncle sees being ill as an “unforgivable weakness”.
Trump’s physician, Sean Conley, said yesterday that the president’s condition was improving and that he could return to the White House today. However, Conley admitted the president had twice taken supplemental oxygen, despite denials, and conceded that his briefings were “trying to reflect the upbeat attitude” of the president’s team. Conley also said Trump had been given dexamethasone, a steroid that helps Covid-19 patients who are having breathing difficulties. Here’s a timeline of a tumultuous week for Trump. You can also follow the latest developments in the story and all other global updates on the virus at our live blog.
In another blow to Trump, Joe Biden’s lead in the latest national poll has stretched to 14 points with a month to go before the election on 3 November. The NBC/Wall Street Journal survey shows a 53-39% advantage for the Democratic party’s nominee as Trump’s advisers continued to scramble to reconfigure a campaign schedule turned upside down by the president’s Covid-19. Biden again tested negative on Sunday night.
England on alert – People in England face some of the toughest lockdown measures of the pandemic so far under a three-tier “traffic light” system being drawn up by ministers to simplify the patchwork of rules in place across the country to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The leaked plans, seen by the Guardian, would pave the way for more severe restrictions and harsher penalties for those who flout them. Under the top alert level 3, the document says, hospitality and leisure businesses would be closed, social contact would be banned outside the immediate household and there would be restrictions on overnight stays away from home. In a sign of what might be about to come to the UK, bars in Paris are closing for two weeks from tomorrow night. The leak comes after cases in the UK jumped by 22,961 yesterday after the discovery that more than 15,000 test results had not previously been transferred on to computer systems. In an interview with the Guardian, Robert Jenrick, the housing and communities minister, appealed for greater “national togetherness” to help the nation through the winter. Our science editor looks at whether an early focus on washing hands instead of wearing masks made Britain’s first outbreak worse.
‘Heartbreaking’ – One man is dead and two others are critically ill after they travelled from Northern Ireland to Turkey to have dental treatment. The trio from Belfast were found in the Turkish city of Marmaris on Saturday. The dead man was named as Richard Molloy, 33. His two friends, Declan Carson and Aaron Callaghan, were in comas but have improved. It is understood they were in Turkey to undergo a teeth whitening procedure but there is no suggestion that the medication was linked to the case, which their MP described as “heartbreaking”.
Caucasus conflict – Fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has intensified after Baku accused Armenian forces of firing rockets at the city of Ganja, which lies outside the contested territory. At least one civilian was killed and four more injured in yesterday’s attack on Azerbaijan’s second largest city, which lies outside the enclave. The incident took two former Soviet republics a step closer to outright war after eight days of clashes, and threatens to draw the regional powers Turkey, Russia and Iran into the south Caucasus conflict.
Made in Britain – US police have used British-made anti-riot gear to strike protesters during their controversial policing of Black Lives Matter demonstrations, despite assurances from the government that no UK equipment was used to repress peaceful protest. Examination of footage of the summer disturbances show police using shields made by the British-based firm DMS Plastics. Video and photographs suggest, and a lawsuit alleges, that officers charged at protesters, rather than acting in self-defence. US forces deny the allegations.
Tom talks – Capt Sir Tom Moore, the centenarian propelled to fame for his efforts to raise funds for the NHS, is to become the UK’s oldest podcaster today when he launches a national campaign to tackle loneliness among older people. The Covid crisis has worsened the isolation felt by many elderly people but the new campaign aims to encourage people to “donate their words” and have a meaningful conversation with an older person.
Today in Focus podcast
When the model Emily Ratajkowski recently wrote an essay detailing the ways she has felt exploited by the modelling industry, readers were shocked. Former model Leanne Maskell and current model Magdalena Kossewska discuss their experiences, while John Horner, managing director of Models 1, looks at whether the industry needs better regulation.
Lunchtime read: Mariah Carey, high-maintenance queen
With her “extraordinarily honest” new memoir just published, Mariah Carey tells Hadley Freeman about her tough upbringing, a traumatic marriage to producer Tommy Mottola, racism and why she has a reputation for being demanding. “You know what? I don’t give a shit. I fucking am high-maintenance because I deserve to be at this point.”
Jürgen Klopp watched his Liverpool team crash to an extraordinary 7-2 defeat at Aston Villa and questioned the desire of his players. Ole Gunnar Solskjær admitted Manchester United’s 6-1 trouncing by Tottenham at Old Trafford – the club’s record-equalling Premier League defeat – was “embarrassing” but took the blame for his “worst day ever”. Alexander Zverev revealed that he competed while sick with breathing issues and fever during his French Open loss to Jannik Sinner in the fourth round. The Rugby Football Union will launch an investigation into the 16 coronavirus cases among Sale Sharks players after it emerged the squad went drinking into the early hours after their Premiership Cup final victory 10 days before the outbreak. This short, strange cricket season finally finished with three short, strange games, and at the end of them a second T20 title for Nottinghamshire after a six-wicket defeat of Surrey. There was a shock on the St James’s Park course as Eliud Kipchoge finished eighth in the London Marathon – the first time he has failed to win a marathon since 2013.
UK and European governments give companies subsidies worth £29bn a year towards buying cars, the vast majority of which are polluting diesel and petrol models, new analysis has found. Cineworld is closing all its cinemas as the Covid-19 curbs continue to hurt the leisure business, but in more positive news Octopus Energy plans to create 1,000 new technology jobs as part of its vision to make the UK the “Silicon Valley of energy”. Reports by Trump’s doctors that his health is improving boosted markets in Asia overnight and will help the FTSE100 rise by 0.8% at the opening this morning. The pound is worth $1.294 and €1.103.
Many of the papers carry a picture of Donald Trump working on papers in hospital, but the worsening Covid situation in Britain is the main story for most. The Guardian leads with “Revealed: plan for three-tier lockdown regime in England”, while the Telegraph goes with “Covid cases ‘lost’ in test and trace blunder” and the Mail has “Fiasco over Covid count”. The Times leads with “Criminals get shorter sentences in ‘Covid bonus’”, the Mirror says “Horror at the movies” and the FT reports “Vaccinating all of UK ‘not going to happen’, warns task force head”.
The Express goes for “Brexit gives UK freedom to fast-track wonder drugs” and the i has “Trump: I’ll be back soon”. The Scotsman’s splash is “Prime Minister rules out approving second indyref”.
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