Coronavirus news you may have missed overnight: Pressure mounts on Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings as R rate of infection remains steady

Kate Ng

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect the lives of millions all over the world, governments are trying to strike a balance between getting economies moving again while keeping people safe from the virus.

In the UK, 254,195 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed. Tragically, 36,393 deaths have involved the highly-contagious virus.

Here is your daily briefing of coronavirus news you may have missed overnight.

Boris Johnson faces pressure over reports police spoke to Dominic Cummings for flouting lockdown

The prime minister is facing calls to sack his most senior adviser Dominic Cummings after it was alleged the top aide broke lockdown rules to travel to Durham to self-isolate from coronavirus.

The situation is made even worse by one of the worst locust infestations the region has seen in decades. Hundreds of billions of the voracious insects have ravaged crops, severely impacting food supplies and sources of income.

Dr Simon Missiri, who oversees the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) response in Africa, said: “The ongoing flooding crisis is exacerbating other threats caused by Covid-19 and the invasion of locusts.

“Travel and movement restrictions meant to slow down the speed of Covid-19 are hampering the efforts to combat swarms of locusts that are ravaging crops.

“Flooding is also a ‘threat amplifier’ with regards to the spread of Covid-19 as it makes it hard to implement preventive measures.”

The organisation has since deployed a £5.9m aid response in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda.

Half of Fox News viewers think Bill Gates is using coronavirus pandemic to microchip them

A recent survey has suggested that half of Fox News viewers believe that billionaire Bill Gates intends to use a coronavirus vaccine to implant microchips into Americans for global surveillance.

According to a poll undertaken by Yahoo News and YouGov, 50 per cent of respondents who named Fox News as their primary news source believe the conspiracy about Mr Gates.

The theory originates from attempts to link the Mr Gates and the Melinda Gates Foundation to the outbreak, due to a multi-million dollar grant given to the research group by the foundation.

Just 26 per cent of Republicans identify the theory as false, while 19 per cent of Democrats said they believe it is true, according to the survey.

And 44 per cent of those who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 also said they believed in the conspiracy. Neither Fox News or Mr Trump has promoted the theory.

Travel industry reacts to new quarantine rules as loopholes emerge

The UK travel industry has reacted furiously towards new measures introduced by home secretary Priti Patel requiring travellers to the UK to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival into the country.

The new rules also stipulate a £1,00 fixed penalty for anyone who skips self-isolation in England. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will impose their own fines for breaches.

The open-ended quarantine plan is to begin from 8 June. Industry bosses have accused Ms Patel of wiping out any further bookings for 2020 holidays.

Charlie Cornish, chief executive of Manchester Airports Group, described the move as a “brick wall to the recovery of the UK aviation and tourism industries, with huge consequences for UK jobs and GDP”.

“The move will seriously jeopardise the long-term future of the sector and put tens of thousands of jobs, and billions of pounds of economic value, at risk,” he added.

However, loopholes have begun emerging in the new rules. Travellers can dodge the new measures by arriving by midnight on 7 June or choosing between two “Dublin dodges”.

Any UK-bound passenger can circumvent the obligation to isolate for a fortnight by travelling through the Irish capital.

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