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Quarantine to be cut to 10 days for people arriving from Spain…

“Quarantine for people arriving from Spain and other countries with high levels of Covid-19 will be cut to 10 days under plans being finalised by ministers, The Telegraph has learnt. The Government hopes to announce this week a new policy of testing arrivals from high-risk countries eight days after they land. If they test negative they will be allowed to come out of self-isolation two days later, reducing the mandatory quarantine period by four days. The move will cut almost an entire working week off the self-isolation requirement, and ministers hope it will help salvage the summer holiday season for some of those already booked on flights abroad.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister, criticises the UK’s decision – Reuters
  • Whitty told ministers they had to act – Daily Telegraph
  • Shapps flies home from Spain into Coronavirus quarantine – The Times
  • No 10 tells holidaymakers to claim universal credit for quarantine – The Guardian
  • Millions face losing entire cost of holiday as Coronavirus cases increase – The Times
  • Bookings for staycations surge – The Times
Comment

… as holidaymakers are told there’s a risk to all travel

“Holidaymakers were warned yesterday that “no travel is risk-free” as concern grew that the quarantining of arrivals from Spain will be extended to other countries. Downing Street insisted that rules on overseas travel were under “constant review”, raising fears that the holiday plans of millions will be threatened. At least 11 European countries where quarantine-free travel is possible have suffered Covid-19 increases in recent days, with some reaching higher infection rates than the UK. In the past fortnight Croatia and Belgium have registered twice as many cases per head as Britain. Infections have climbed in France, Germany and Austria too.” – The Times

  • Curfews and local lockdowns make holiday resorts the new Coronavirus front line – The Times
  • Europe faces tough tourist season as result of virus – Daily Telegraph
  • Repatriation during pandemic hampered by penny pinching, say MPs – The Times
  • Foreign Office neglected Britons abroad after Covid-19 travel bans, says report – The Guardian
  • Police crack down on “illegal” staycations – Daily Telegraph
  • WHO says Covid-19 is “easily the most severe” crisis it has faced – The Guardian

Downing Street urged to toughen up on “back to work” message as big companies say they’ll keep staff working from home

“Downing Street was urged to toughen up its ‘back to work’ message last night after a string of top firms said they would not be encouraging staff back to offices for months. A Mail audit of big companies found many are not planning for the majority of workers to return to offices until at least towards the end of the year. In another worrying sign for city and town centres, several bosses said they expected working from home to become the ‘new normal’ after the crisis. Among the firms contacted by the Mail, consultancy giant KPMG said the majority of its 16,000 office-based workforce were unlikely to return until next year. Education publisher Pearson, which has about 3,600 office staff, also said workers would not be expected to return potentially until 2021.” – Daily Mail

  • Johnson warns UK businesses to prepare for second wave – FT
  • Cat diagnosed with Coronavirus in first UK case of animal infection – The Guardian

Junk food ad ban is likely to take two years

“A 9pm watershed for junk food adverts is likely to take two years to introduce as ministers give companies time to make food healthy enough to promote. Calorie labels on pub beer pumps are being considered and the government has told cafés and restaurants that they will be next for compulsory nutritional labels on menus and chalk boards. Boris Johnson promised an obesity plan yesterday that would not be “nannying or bossy” as he cited his weight-loss efforts to encourage people to use fear of the coronavirus to get in shape. The prime minister said that he had been “too fat” when he was admitted to intensive care with Covid-19 in April.” – The Times

Mark Wallace: Boris Johnson’s obesity drive is nannying – and contradicts Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme

“Yesterday, Rishi Sunak tweeted a list of restaurants, the first letters of which spelled out the slogan of his new policy to help the industry: Eat Out to Help Out. The scheme is pretty famous, and not just for its enjoyably smutty undertone. The Treasury will provide a 50% subsidy for diners in thousands of establishments for most of August. On the same day, the Chancellor’s neighbour announced another government initiative: a new obesity strategy. “Like many people, I struggle with my weight,” Boris Johnson confessed, citing his personal experience of Covid-19 as evidence of the need for the nation to get fitter and shed some flab.The plan includes a ban on pre-9pm TV advertising of unhealthy foods.” – The i Paper

>Yesterday:

Johnson will today announce £2 billion strategy to encourage cycling

“Electric bikes will be cheaper under a new subsidy to encourage older people and commuters to get out on the road. Boris Johnson will announce today a £2 billion strategy to spread “the transformative benefits of cycling” following concerns that people shun two wheels because of worries over road safety or cost. In England grants will help cyclists to buy ebikes, which typically cost £1,000 to £3,000. The subsidy level is yet to be fixed but if it mirrors the electric car scheme, it would mean a third off the price. The grants will be on top of the government’s cycle to work scheme, which gives higher-rate taxpayers up to 42 per cent off the cost of a bike, potentially providing more than two thirds off for some employees.” – The Times

The “cabinet is too large”, Sedwill tells the PM

“Boris Johnson should cull half the cabinet and the government is “too siloed” and “too rivalrous”, the departing head of the civil service said yesterday. In a valedictory speech Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, said that decision-making was being hindered by the “preoccupations of Westminster” rather than the “issues which matter to our citizens”. His call for Whitehall reform is striking because it chimes with the views of Dominic Cummings, Mr Johnson’s chief adviser, with whom Sir Mark has clashed in recent months. Whitehall sources said that both men had always agreed on the need to streamline government but fell out over what Mr Johnson and Mr Cummings saw as Sir Mark’s inadequate early response to the coronavirus.” – The Times

Hackers “based in China” targeted Tugendhat with campaign of lies

“Chinese cyberagents are suspected of being behind a campaign against a senior Conservative MP involving hacking attempts and online impersonations. Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons foreign affairs select committee, said last night that he had been subjected to concerted efforts to access his email account and discredit him professionally and personally. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a division of GCHQ, the government listening post, was called in to examine attacks on his communications and attempts to impersonate him online. Google’s security team also investigated the origins of “spoof” email accounts set up to mimic him and found that the ultimate users were based in China.” – The Times

PM told to include care workers in NHS visa scheme

“Boris Johnson is under pressure to include social care workers in a fast-track NHS visa as figures show that half a million more carers will be needed over the next 15 years. A year after Mr Johnson promised to fix the elderly care system “once and for all”, efforts have intensified in government to find a solution but no structure or funding model has been finalised. Yesterday No 10 denied reports that a tax for the over-40s to fund social care was under consideration. The prime minister’s spokesman said: “It is not true that we are considering this.” However, the idea has gained support among some in government as a way of raising billions of pounds needed to improve the system.” – The Times

Comment:

Ministers gave £275m of aid cash to firm that built “unsafe” schools in Pakistan

“A company that failed to build schools for 115,000 pupils in Pakistan was awarded an extra £112 million by the British government for projects around the world. IMC Worldwide was awarded a £184 million contract to rebuild earthquake-damaged schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab in 2014 by the Department for International Development (Dfid). However, six years later some students are still being taught in tents after safety concerns revealed serious design flaws in 92 per cent of the schools. It has now emerged that Dfid awarded the company responsible a further £112 million of business for projects ranging from road construction in Nepal to water sanitation in Sierra Leone.” – The Times

Cummings leads push for light-touch UK state-aid regime after Brexit

“Leading members of the UK government are pushing for a minimal, light-touch regime for state aid for British business after Brexit — a stumbling block for talks between London and Brussels over an EU-UK trade deal. Influential Brexiters led by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s most senior adviser, are arguing against any legislation that would see the UK’s internal market subsidy regime between England, Scotland and Wales governed by an independent regulator. The light-touch regulatory approach would be opposed strongly by Brussels, with the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier saying last week there could be no future economic partnership without “robust guarantees” on a level playing field for future trade — including on state aid.” – FT

Government draws up extension to Help to Buy scheme

“UK ministers are drawing up plans to extend the Help to Buy property support scheme beyond its December deadline to prevent buyers losing out due to Covid-19 delays. The government is set to prolong the Help to Buy Equity Loan programme, which allows people in England to buy a new-build property with a tiny deposit, to protect several thousand people whose purchases have been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic. Introduced in 2013, the initiative helps people buy a home with a deposit of as little as 5 per cent of the property’s total value, with the government providing a further 20 per cent equity loan, or up to 40 per cent in London.” – FT

Bercow, Watson and Corbyn’s ex-chief of staff “will not get peerages”

“John Bercow, Tom Watson and Jeremy Corbyn’s former chief of staff Karie Murphy will be formally rejected for peerages this week when the Dissolution Honours are published. Whitehall sources said the trio – who were all nominated by Mr Corbyn – have been dropped from the final list following concerns raised by the House of Lords Appointments Commission, known as Holac. Former Conservative Party treasurer Peter Cruddas has also been left off the list, and two other major Conservative donors are in doubt. However, Holac has approved around 30 new peers, including the England Cricket legend Sir Ian Botham, former Tory chancellors Kenneth Clarke and Philip Hammond and former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson.” – Daily Mail

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