England’s ravaged public health system just can’t cope with the coronavirus | Gabriel Scally

On top of huge cuts, regional bodies have also been decimated in the past 10 years. It’s left us ill-prepared for a crisis like this

  • Gabriel Scally is a former regional director of public health

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About 20 years ago I was sitting with my family in a small cafe in the village of Trefin in west Wales. Apart from a small number of family groups, there was a large table with eight elderly women sitting around it. They were chatting and I was paying no attention until my ears pricked up on hearing the term “Spanish flu”. Fortunately the table was large, and their voices loud, so I was able to follow most of the discussion.

Related: In this crisis, the Tory cuts can no longer be hidden by empty gestures | Nesrine Malik

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UK coronavirus live: rate of infection may be ‘just about’ slowing, says expert

All the day’s developments in the UK’s Covid-19 crisis, as Prof Neil Ferguson says hospital admissions appear to be slowing slightly

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser, is self-isolating after developing symptoms in line with those of Covid-19 over the weekend, a Downing Street source has confirmed to the PA news agency.

They added that Cummings would remain in contact with his colleagues at No 10 during his quarantine period.

Hundreds of British technology startups could fail during the pandemic without government intervention because they rely on regular rounds of new investment which have effectively dried up.

Daniel Korski, a former Downing Street adviser who now runs venture capital firm PUBLIC, said new businesses are particularly vulnerable as “unlike other businesses they need fresh capital injections frequently because even the best of the bunch are normally loss-making as they grow”.

He has used an article in City AM to call for the government to spend around £1bn supporting startups to reduce the economic damage after the pandemic is over, with the state-owned British Business Bank to be used to “distribute funding, support new funds and get money into the hands of startups”.

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Islamic State prisoners escape from Syrian jail after militants riot

Unconfirmed reports of deaths as inmates overwhelm SDF guards in city of Hasakah

Several members of Islamic State have escaped from prison after militants sparked a riot and seized control of part of a large jail in north-east Syria, Kurdish and US military sources have said.

Prisoners broke down walls and tore off internal doors during the unrest on Sunday night at Ghouiran prison in the city of Hasakah, overwhelming guards from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Washington’s Kurdish-led ground partner in the fight against Isis.

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Revealed: Monsanto predicted crop system would damage US farms

Internal documents describe how to profit from farmer losses and desire to oppose some independent testing

The US agriculture giant Monsanto and the German chemical giant BASF were aware for years that their plan to introduce a new agricultural seed and chemical system would probably lead to damage on many US farms, internal documents seen by the Guardian show.

Risks were downplayed even while they planned how to profit off farmers who would buy Monsanto’s new seeds just to avoid damage, according to documents unearthed during a recent successful $265m lawsuit brought against both firms by a Missouri farmer.

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Investigation into death in custody after Indigenous man’s ‘condition deteriorated’

Aboriginal man was arrested and detained in regional Victoria on Thursday and was taken to hospital later that day

An Aboriginal man has died in custody after his “condition deteriorated” in a regional Victoria police station last week.

Police said the man, aged 30, was arrested on Thursday in Horsham, about 300km northwest of Melbourne, for allegedly breaching a court order.

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