Government and policy update from the New Statesman

6th April 2020 (Last Updated April 6th, 2020 10:17)

The prime minister, Boris Johnson, was admitted to hospital on Sunday evening with persistent symptoms of Covid-19. He was diagnosed on 27 March, and is one of several high-profile members of the UK government to fall ill. Downing Street has described the admission as a “precautionary step”.

Keir Starmer, who succeeded Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the Labour Party this weekend, pledged to ask “difficult questions” of the Conservatives amid the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the UK had been too slow in its testing process and that safety equipment for workers was lacking. Starmer has made Oxford East MP Anneliese Dodds the new shadow chancellor, and Nick Thomas-Symonds, MP for Torfaen, the shadow home secretary.

Dr Catherine Calderwood, Scotland’s chief medical officer, has resigned following the publication of photographs that showed her visiting her second home, 44 miles from her home in Edinburgh, in contravention of lockdown rules.

United States: At a press conference, Donald Trump once more advocated the use of the unproven drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19. Trump said that his administration has ordered 29 million doses to be distributed across the country.

France: The rate of deaths from Covid-19 has slowed. The health ministry reported yesterday that 357 people had died in hospitals due to Covid-19, compared with 441 in the previous 24 hours.

Bangladesh: The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has announced a £6.5bn stimulus package for a range of businesses.

Singapore: 20,000 migrant workers have been ordered to remain quarantined for 14 days. Around a quarter of Singapore’s population is comprised of foreign workers, most of whom work in construction.

Libya: The former prime minister Mahmoud Jebril, one of the leaders of the interim government that ousted Muammar Gaddafi during the 2011 civil war, has died from Covid-19.

Read more on the New Statesman:

Tony Blair on why the UK needs mass testing

Lawrence Freedman on how the WHO’s inertia contributed to the coronavirus crisis

Leo McKinstry on why the pandemic could hand power to Labour