NEWS DIGEST 19.05.2020: A president on drugs, while coronavirus rages on



On the second day of Mental Health Awareness Week, this morning’s News Digest is taken from Google News. U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she fears for the health of President and political rival Donald Trump, whom she described as ‘morbidly obese’ after it was revealed he was taking the drug hydroxychloroquine to stave away coronavirus. The drug, an anti-malarial, has not been tested for its effect on the virus. The president’s own team of ministers has warned against using hydroxychloroquine outside of hospital or research settings as it has potentially fatal side-effects – Nancy Pelosi fears for ‘morbidly obese’ Trump after hydroxychloroquine admission (The Guardian) The same newspaper also said that the drug had not been approved for use in fighting the epidemic by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), partially as it may cause irregular heartbeats and potential damage to the heart. Trump admitted that he had been taking hydroxychloroquine for a ‘couple of weeks’ and claimed it had benefits in protecting people from being infected, and that it was a medication of choice among American frontline workers – Trump says he’s taking hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19 despite FDA warnings (The Guardian)

white tablets on clear bottle
Photo by Karolina Grabowska on


The American president has also served an ultimatum to the World Health Organization (WHO) threatening to pull his nation’s funding to the international body for COVID-19 research. Trump gave the WHO thirty days to accelerate its research progress or risk losing both funding and US membership of the Organization, BBC News reports. Trump has been a heavy critic of the WHO, recently calling it a ‘puppet of China’ and claimed it ignored the initial spread of the virus in Chinese city Wuhan, from where it is believed the coronavirus first appeared in humans – Coronavirus: Trump gives WHO ultimatum over Covid-19 handling (BBC News)

The virus has wrought havoc in Brazil, with infected numbers of people increasing so rapidly that the country now has the fourth highest in the world, overtaking the previous hotspots of Italy and Spain, The Sun newspaper reports. Reports of mass graves being dug have come in the country’s ministry of health disclosed figures of around 21,000 new cases this weekend alone, taking the total number of Brazilians with COVID-19 to 241,080. Officials warned that the real tally could be much, much higher as national testing is delayed considerably in its quantity. Around 15,633 people have died so far – GRIM TOLL Brazil coronavirus cases overtake Spain and Italy to become 4th worst in world… but official stats ‘just tip of iceberg’ (The Sun)

The British government have unveiled a new plan to resurrect the UK’s beleaguered tourism industry – ‘air bridges’. This consists of exempting people coming into the UK from countries with low or controlled viral outbreaks from undergoing the obligatory two weeks of quarantine which was mandated by the parliament last week in order to tackle the pandemic in the islands. The concept was put forward by the country’s transport secretary Grant Shapps – Coronavirus: Boost for holidaymakers as ‘air bridges’ plan backed by government (Sky News)

Meanwhile, Metro newspaper spoke with a holidaymaker named Jane Peacock, who travelled by car to the beachside destination of Lulworth Caves in the county of Dorset, England, and expressed surprise that 2,500 other tourists had also done the same, as the country celebrates the easing of the national curfew. She described the beach there as being ‘packed’ like a trip to the British supermarket chain Tesco, and claimed that beachgoers were not respecting the rules of social distancing, which requires that people remain at least two metres from each other. Peacock, who visited with her daughter Ellie, was however branded ‘hypocritical’ and ‘selfish’ by viewers of the BBC News segment where she did her interview with the media – Woman who drove to beach is shocked at other people who did the same (Metro)

Remaining in the UK, Sky News looked at what items could be cheaper to buy under a new trade regime being managed by the government, which is planning to end levies on up to £30 billion of imports when the nation leaves the European Union this December. Household appliances such as fridge freezers, microwave ovens and dishwashers will no longer have tariffs applied to them to bring them into the country. Food items such as baking products, spices and cocoa powder will also have zero tariffs applied, as well as a varied basket of other consumables such as scissors, padlocks, tins of paint and even Christmas trees. Exports, however, will have tariffs still applied to them while the UK negotiates new trade deals post-Brexit transition period – Which items could be cheaper under government’s new trade regime? (Sky News)



Karolina Grabowska/Pexels. 

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