Thursday evening UK news briefing: Scale of Britain’s long Covid suffering revealed

More than one million people in the UK are living with long Covid, the first nationwide survey of the phenomenon reveals.

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, said today he is “very worried” about the impact, with almost one in seven people who test positive for the virus still suffering the effects three months later. 

Click here to see the key symptoms of long Covid.

It comes as Professor Chris Whitty said lockdowns are unlikely to be needed again as Britain learns to treat coronavirus like flu.

Here is a reminder of the rules over Easter now lockdown has been eased.

Meanwhile, the Office for National Statistics revealed vaccine hesitancy among black British adults has halved in around a month.

Emmanuel Macron faces a backlash in France

Emmanuel Macron faces a backlash in France

Emmanuel Macron came under heavy fire today over his lockdown U-turn as opposition groups pledged to boycott a parliamentary vote on tougher restrictions saying they would not rubber-stamp the whims of “a monarch”.

Criticism over Mr Macron’s belated decision to enact tougher measures came as the French government confirmed that these would include an alcohol ban in public places after scenes of crowds enjoying beers in parks and gardens in Paris and other big cities.

Experts have warned France faces a €15bn (£12.8bn) economic hit from the move.

Elsewhere, Michel Barnier called for a ceasefire in the UK-EU vaccines war in a speech marking his farewell to the European Commission.

Headmaster caves in to pupils who burned Union Flag

A headteacher has caved in to students’ demands to take down the “racist” Union Flag outside the school. Last September, a Union Flag erected outside the school was reportedly ripped down and set alight by pupils, while the walls of Pimlico Academy were also vandalised with graffiti over the weekend, with messages including “ain’t no black in the Union Jack”. It comes as Boris Johnson’s most senior black adviser has quit Downing Street, as the Government defends its controversial report into race disparity. Samuel Kasumu, the Prime Minister’s special adviser for civil society and communities, resigned having previously claimed the Conservatives were pursuing “a politics steeped in division”.

Egyptians fear ‘curse of pharaohs’ in mummies parade

Egypt will hold a “golden parade” to rival a royal funeral procession this weekend as it transfers the mummies of ancient Pharaohs to a new showcase museum in Cairo. The preserved remains of 18 kings and four queens, all more than 3,000 years old, will be processed through the capital’s streets from 6pm on stylised gold barges on Saturday, accompanied by fireworks, fanfares and honorary salvoes of gunfire. But superstitious Egyptians on social media have suggested that moving the mummies will cast a curse on their country. Read on for details.

At a glance: Coronavirus evening briefing

Also in the news: Today’s other headlines

Far-Right police officer | A Met Police officer has been found guilty of being a member of a banned neo-Nazi organisation. Pc Benjamin Hannam was a member of the extreme Right-wing group National Action, which was banned in 2016 for its white supremacist ideology, and is the first serving British police officer found guilty of terrorism offences. When he was arrested, police seized material including the manifesto written by the Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik.

Around the world: ‘Father of democracy’ faces jail

Nine veteran Hong Kong activists face jail after they were convicted today over their roles in an unauthorised assembly at the height of the protest movement that engulfed the city in 2019. The defendants feature some of the city’s most prominent and moderate pro-democracy figures, including distinguished barristers Martin Lee, 82, and Margaret Ng, 73. Mr Lee is known widely as the “father of democracy” and helped draft Hong Kong’s mini-constitution. Read on for details.

Thursday big-read

‘After defending Meghan I’ve suffered relentless racism’

Alex Beresford

Alex Beresford

Credit:  Heathcliff O’Malley

Since clashing with Piers Morgan on TV, presenter Alex Beresford has been abused online and says we need honest conversations about racism

Read his full story

Comment and analysis

Editor’s choice

  1. Stateside summer holiday | 50 wonderful reasons to rediscover America
  2. Harry’s Garage Meet the David Attenborough of classic cars
  3. Enjoy it while it lasts | Germany are the laughing stock of world football

Business and money briefing

Hiring surges | More jobs are available now than at any point since the pandemic struck as companies limber up to reopen over the coming months – but the capital continues to lag the rest of country.

Sport briefing

Euro 2021 | Not so long ago England lacked creative playmakers – the emergence of two in recent times leaves Gareth Southgate with an interesting choice. Sam Dean analyses who should play behind Kane.

Three things for tonight

And finally… for this evening’s downtime

Strangely prophetic | In 1968, an incendiary film set out to expose the violence behind British public schools. Tom Fordy looks at how Lindsay’s Anderson’s If…. gave them a brutal, sharp panning.

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