Portrait of the week

Portrait of the week: Second wave fears, cash for cyclists and a cat catches Covid

1 August 2020

9:00 AM

1 August 2020

9:00 AM


At a few hours’ notice, the government removed Spain from the list of countries from which it was possible to enter Britain without spending two weeks in quarantine. Among those caught by the regulations was Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, whose department regulates so-called ‘travel corridors’. Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, said: ‘In Europe, amongst some of our European friends, I’m afraid you are starting to see in some places the signs of a second wave of the pandemic.’ Oldham followed neighbouring Rochdale in imposing stricter regulations, prohibiting social visits to houses. A Siamese in southern England was found to be the first cat in Britain to have been infected with coronavirus.

On 26 July, total deaths from Covid-19 stood at 45,738, with a seven-day average of 67 deaths a day. In Scotland no deaths from Covid-19 were reported for ten days running. The coronavirus furlough scheme was being used by 9.5 million people, costing the Treasury £31.7 billion. Westminster Abbey, having recently raised £22 million for a new museum in the triforium, decided to sack one in five of its staff because coronavirus had closed the church to tourists who would have paid £12 million to see it. England won the third Test against West Indies at Old Trafford, with Stuart Broad securing his 500th Test wicket.

In a new campaign against obesity, the government decided to make manufacturers put the number of calories on bottles of wine, beer and spirits, to ban buy-one-get-one-free offers on high fat, salt and sugar products, and to ban their broadcast advertisement before 9 p.m. Other wheezes included £50 vouchers for bicycle repairs and the provision of bicycles by the NHS. Some 125 British organisations, including the National Trust and the University of Newcastle, were found to have been affected by the hacking in May of Blackbaud, a cloud computing provider, which had paid a ransom to its hackers. Three teenagers were cleared of murder but convicted of the manslaughter in August 2019 of PC Andrew Harper, who died after being dragged along a road by a car for more than a mile. The policeman’s widow said she was ‘immensely disappointed’ by the manslaughter verdict. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, asked Twitter and Instagram why they hadn’t removed more quickly anti-Semitic posts by the rapper Wiley, 41, known as the ‘Godfather of Grime’, who was appointed MBE in 2018. Dame Olivia de Havilland, whose most celebrated role was in Gone with the Wind, died aged 104.


The total number of people in the world who had died with coronavirus was 647,574 by the beginning of the week; a week earlier it had been 604,445. Spain reported an increase in new cases in Catalonia and Aragon. Lothar Wieler, the head of Germany’s public health agency, said that he was ‘very concerned’ by rising infections in his country. The price of gold, which has risen by 23 per cent in 2020, reached a new high of $1,944 an ounce in response to the effects of coronavirus on the American economy.

Australia declared to the UN that it rejected China’s claims in the South China Sea, such as sovereignty over the Spratly Islands, named after a whaling captain who died in Ealing in 1870. China said Hong Kong would suspend extradition treaties with Britain, Canada and Australia, which had suspended their own over China’s imposition of security laws on the city. The University of Hong Kong sacked Professor Benny Tai, who is awaiting an appeal hearing against his conviction for his part in the 2014 pro-democracy protests. Assembly began on the world’s biggest nuclear fusion project, at Saint-Paul-lez-Durance in the Bouches-du-Rhône, a collaboration between China, the EU, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia and America.

William Barr, the US Attorney General, told the House Judiciary Committee that federal agents had been deployed to cities like Portland, Oregon, because protesters were committing ‘an assault on the government of the United States’. Nightly protests had been going on in Portland for two months. Maltese armed forces rescued 95 migrants found in distress on a dinghy taking in water off Libya and brought them ashore to a military base near Valletta. Libyan authorities shot dead three Sudanese said to have been trying to escape when 70 people were sent back by the Libyan coast guard after their vessel was intercepted. Greece saw 63 forest fires in a day. CSH

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