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Boris Johnson backtracks on refusal to self-isolate

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UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has rethought his refusal to self-isolate after coming into contact with a positive Covid-19 case

The British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has changed his mind about refusing to isolate after coming in contact with Covid-19. The UK Health Minister Sajid Javid recently tested positive for the virus, just days before the country is due to reopen.

Shortly after this news, the government announced that PM Johnson and chancellor Rishi Sunak would participate in a trial program that would allow him to return to work and avoid isolating. However, less than three hours later Johnson backtracked on this decision amid a wave of criticism.

“I think it’s far more important that everybody sticks to the same rules,” Johnson said after opposition leaders called his refusal to isolate ‘hypocritical’. The trial program would allow certain people to test every day rather than needing to isolate.

“Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak have been busted yet again for thinking the rules that we are all following don’t apply to them,” Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said.

Jonathan Bartley, co-leader of the Green party also expressed his anger at the revoked decision. He highlighted that the education of many young people across the nation has been impacted even after “dutifully and responsibly isolating”.

“Anger doesn’t begin to cover it,” Bartley said.

England set to reopen despite high case numbers

The move comes just days before Britain is set to completely drop all remaining Covid-19 restrictions. The nation’s so-called ‘Freedom Day’ will remove the requirement to wear face masks. The government will also lift limits of social gatherings, and allow high-risk business to nightclubs to reopen.

Covid-19 cases in Britain continue to rise by about 50,000 a day. Almost 70% of the UK’s adult population are fully vaccinated. The health secretary who tested positive is fully vaccinated, and only has mild symptoms. He will be isolating and working from home.

Covid-19 attacks athletes’ village in Tokyo

The UK isn’t the only place facing Covid-19 controversy. Britain’s plans to reopen come as the rest of the world also continues to face Covid-strife.

Tokyo 2020 chief executive Toshiro Muto confirmed a foreign visitor tested positive with the virus. The 60-year-old only had mild symptoms, but went to hospital due to their age.

Athletes are just starting to arrive for the Games which will run from July 23 to August 8. Organisers have promised that the Games will be “safe and secure”. Tokyo had 1,308 new cases on Thursday and another 1,271 on Friday.

Authors

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

Global Politics

Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens

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As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day

On his agenda?

  • Ending the pandemic
  • Restoring the economy
  • Pursuing voting rights
  • Social equity
  • Racial justice
  • Gun control
  • Confronting climate change
  • And restoring America’s leadership in the world

In each area, there is progress – and challenges

With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated

of the 164 million Americans who are inoculated, 99.9% have not tested positive for Covid

Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.

The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment.  (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)

What about the economy?

Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.

Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.

While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted. 

On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia

U.S President Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talk during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool Photo via AP)

However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.

In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now 

He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care. 

Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.

As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. 

Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.  

Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future. 

He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.  

Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding.  His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse. 

Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.

The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress.  Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.

In this Washington summer, Biden is steady at the helm, but the waters are choppy.  And Trump keeps making waves whenever he plunges into the pool.

Author

  • Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Global Politics

Love Actually in real life – Brits unite with U.S vaxxed travellers

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At 4 am local time, Britain officially opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from both the US and EU, allowing friends and family to reunite after months apart

LONDON’S HEATHROW AIRPORT

The border restrictions apply to all of the countries on the UK’s so-called “amber list” – except for France which is suffering from a recent uptick in Covid-19 infections.

Travellers wanting to arrive in Britain will be required to take a test prior to departure as well as another swab on the second day after touching down.

Since July 19, all people in who were vaccinated in the U-K have been able to travel freely to and from amber nations – but these new laws open the borders up to travellers who were vaccinated in other countries.

It follows major airline companies welcoming the changes to border restrictions, saying it will provide a much needed boost to the aviation and travel sector.

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Global Politics

Less than 1% of fully vaxxed Americans ending up in hospital

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A new US based study on Covid-19 has found that less than one percent of fully vaccinated Americans experience a breakthrough infection

UKRAINE – 2020/04/29: In this photo illustration the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases world map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) seen displayed in internet on a pc screen. The number of the COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed cases in the United States exceeded one million and exceeded three million in the world, according of COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The federal government data from the Centre for Disease Control says vaccinated people have a 0.004 percent chance of ending up in hospital with Covid-19 and it’s an even lower figure when it comes to developing severe illness which results in death.

Out of 163 million vaccinated citizens, only around 6,000 have experienced a severe breakthrough Covid-19 infection

The statistics are a promising sign on the road to normalcy as many nations continue to open up and move into a post-pandemic world.

The analysis also found that more than 90 percent of current Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths are being recorded in unvaccinated people.

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