NEWS DIGEST 09.05.2020: UK to begin gradual easing of COVID-19 lockdown



Today’s news digest is from Google News. BBC News has announced that as part of the UK’s easing of coronavirus lockdown rules, garden centres will be permitted to open for business as of next week, in England and Wales only. According to an unnamed senior government source, plant nurseries will be able to have people visit them, provided social distancing measures are followed. Customers must stay two metres apart from each other and staff, and in-store cafés must remain closed. The garden centre measure will be announced in PM Boris Johnson’s three-weekly update to the public tomorrow – Coronavirus: Garden centres in England to reopen next week (BBC News)

The Independent newspaper also covered the announcement on garden centres, but also said that the ‘once a day’ exercise rule will also be relaxed in Wales as of Monday. The Welsh first minister Mark Drakeford warned there would be no generalised lifting of the lockdown, stating: “The expert advice we have received from the chief medical office is that it is too soon to lift these restrictions, and that if we did we would see a return of the virus. The stay at home regulations much remain in place until the next review in three weeks time. We must not lose the progress that we’ve made.” The green light for modest changes to the rules has however been given, depending on the infection rate and other variables the government is keeping an eye on – ‘Once a day’ exercise rule to be relaxed and garden centres to reopen, Welsh government says (Independent)

woman in gray hoodie waiting in line
Photo by Kate Trifo on


Meanwhile, i news covered the international reaction to the UK’s handling of the pandemic, with many countries expressing exasperation at what they perceive to be poor handling by the Johnson cabinet, as well as deficient levels of testing and the British care home crisis, with fifty per cent of deaths occurring in homes for elders. An incredulous foreign press described the situation using colourful invective: it is “a shambles”, “a nightmare” reflecting “negligence”, “complacency” and “stupidity”, said i newsCoronavirus lockdown: The world reacts to Britain’s ‘incomprehensible’ response, botched testing and care home crisis (i news)

The Guardian reported that all visitors to the UK, including returning citizens, must self-isolate for two weeks to limit the spread of COVID-19, as part of ‘stringent’ quarantine measures announced by Parliament. This will apply to people arriving at airports, ports and Eurostar train stations. The measures will have to wait until June to be made live. Travellers from the Channel Islands, Ireland and the Isle of Man will be exempt and it is understood key workers and lorry drivers bringing in goods would also be exempt from the requirements. The UK had been criticised for not bringing in visitor quarantining procedures earlier on in the outbreak. They said that such measures were pointless as the disease had already gained a foothold in Britain – Visitors and Britons returning from abroad will be required to self-isolate for two weeks (The Guardian)

As the UK and Europe marked celebrations for VE Day’s 75th anniversary, Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II has said the country’s streets were not empty as they were filled with love, BBC News reported. The monarch, who herself served as an army driver in the Second World War, gave a poignant televised address to the nation as it continued to observe the lockdown, saying: “Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish….”Instead we remember from our homes and from our doorsteps.” The Queen also thanked the wartime generations in her speech – VE Day: UK’s streets not empty as filled with love, says Queen (BBC News)

The prime minister Boris Johnson also thanked WWII veterans yesterday, calling them the ‘greatest generation’, and told former soldiers that no other generation can rival their achievement for the country, in a specially released personal letter from his office. The PM visited Westminster Abbey church in London as part of the VE Day commemorations – Boris Johnson hails Britain’s ‘greatest generation’ as he thanks WWII veterans on VE Day (Express)

The Guardian reported that US president Donald Trump has said that the coronavirus will ‘go away’ without the need for mass vaccination, and that the death toll in his country would reach go above 95,000. His deputy Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller, and an unnamed member of his personal staff at the White House, are the latest in his presidential retinue to test positive for the virus – Global report: Trump says Covid-19 will ‘go away without vaccine’, expects US death toll to top 95,000 (The Guardian)

The Daily Mail asks why as we are under threat from near-earth asteroids, world leaders are still arguing with each other, in an opinion piece by John Humphreys. NASA has spotted and tracked several large asteroids coming close to our planet since April this year, the writer said as he urged the international community to get its priorities straight – JOHN HUMPHRYS: An asteroid could be heading for Earth and yet our leaders are at war with each other (Mail Online)



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