NEWS DIGEST 20.04.2020: Coronavirus government misadventures and denials


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Today’s news digest comes in via Google News. Sky News reports that the British government has rejected an allegation made by the Sunday Times newspaper that it lost five weeks from when coronavirus was first reported in the UK to commence combative procedures against the disease. In a 2,000-word rebuttal, ministers from the Department of Health picked apart the allegations and claimed they were ‘plainly untrue’ and ‘ridiculous’, in light of the prime minister Boris Johnson missing five COBRA meetings with his cabinet in the early weeks of the crisis – Coronavirus: Government rejects Sunday Times claims in unusual 2,000-word rebuttal (Sky News)

man in gray sweater covering his face with face mask
Photo by Gustavo Fring on


i news in turn lambasted Johnson, claiming he did not take the virus seriously enough and that his carelessness had cost the UK dearly. The paper also focussed on the leader’s lack of attendance at crucial emergency meetings with Parliament during the first weeks of the crisis, saying it was reflective of his “character as a self-serving bluffer filled with bravado and fuelled by hostility to the “nanny state” “, as national testing levels failed to be reached and the National Health Service (NHS) runs out of protective equipment for its staff – Boris Johnson did not take coronavirus seriously enough and the UK is paying for his carelessness (i)

Metro reported on the tragedy that occurred in Canada yesterday where a Nova Scotia man dressed as a police officer gunned down ten innocent people in the town of Portapique. The death toll has now increased to sixteen, including Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Heidi Stevenson. The shooter, Gabriel Wortman, was himself gunned down by police after a 12-hour manhunt in which he was reported to have been driving around in a car with pretend RCMP livery plastered on it – Pictured: Mountie shot dead by man in fake police car who killed at least 16 people in Canada (Metro)

Back in the UK, BBC News South Wales reported that researchers in the country are to begin trialling plasma products derived from the blood donated by people recovering from COVID-19 to treat hospital patients afflicted with the virus. NHS Blood and Transplant will manage the donations and extract vital antibodies to help shore up patients’ immune systems. A similar project is also underway in the US – Coronavirus: Plasma treatment to be trialled (BBC News)

At a briefing held by American president Donald Trump, he used the opportunity to play a series of ‘misleading’ clips of New York state governor Andrew Cuomo that suggested that the governor supported him. The two have clashed in the past over the handling of the viral outbreak. Trump was criticised for turning the briefing into a ‘campaign ad’ by playing the doctored footage – Trump plays misleading clips of ‘support’ from Cuomo at coronavirus briefing (The Guardian). Meanwhile, Governor Cuomo visited the Northwell Health Core Lab in New York where antibody testing for the virus is taken place, after announcing that his state had passed its infection peak. New York has the largest running rate of infections in the United States – Governor Andrew Cuomo visits coronavirus testing lab ahead of large scale anti-body testing beginning today after he declared New York state had ‘passed its peak’ (MailOnline)



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