Government and policy updates from the New Statesman

8th April 2020 (Last Updated April 8th, 2020 11:37)

United Kingdom: Prime Minister Boris Johnson has spent a second night in intensive care, where he has not been diagnosed with pneumonia or required mechanical ventilation, the government has said.

Dominic Raab, in his role as First Secretary, has been deputising for the Prime Minister, but needs the agreement of the Cabinet in order to make policy changes. When questions were raised about whether this would affect the UK’s ability to respond quickly to emergencies, a Number 10 spokesperson said “the First Secretary of State and Cabinet have the authority and ability to respond in the Prime Minister’s absence”.

Europe: Finance ministers from across the EU negotiated from yesterday afternoon into the early hours of this morning on a co-ordinated economic response to Covid-19. EU members have borrowed billions from markets with little co-ordination, prompting fears of a debt crisis. The results of the negotiations are expected to be announced this morning at 10am.

United States: In Wisconsin, the Democratic primary and Supreme Courts elections went ahead despite concerns about infection control. A bid by the state’s governor to delay the election until June and switch to entirely postal voting was defeated by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature.

Kenya: Special sittings of parliament to debate the coronavirus response in the East African country have been cancelled due to fears that a significant number of parliamentarians may have already contracted the virus. Fifty MPs have been tested so far and are awaiting their results.

China: Lockdown restrictions in Wuhan City have been lifted further, with the first trains now running out of the city.

Mexico: The government of Mexico has warned it has an acute shortage of doctors and medical staff as health services prepare to be potentially overwhelmed with cases. “We require 200,000 physicians, of which 123,000 are general practitioners … and around 76,000 specialist physicians,” said Health Minister Jorge Alcocer.

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