BBC gets 40,000 complaints in just two days after Emily Maitlis broke impartiality rule with Dominic Cummings rant – The Sun

THE BBC has been bombarded with more than 40,000 complaints in only two days after Emily Maitlis broke the impartiality rule with a rant about Dominic Cummings. 

The Newsnight presenter was swiftly reprimanded by the BBC who admitted she had crossed the line when reporting on the PM's chief advisor "breaking lockdown rules".

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The number of people writing to the BBC to lodge their anger at Ms Maitlis' monologue about Mr Cumming's trip to Durham doubled from 18,000 in 24 hours.

The BBC put out an apology the day after the controversial introduction to the program on May 26.

Ms Maitlis had told her Newsnight viewers that the Prime Minister was playing the country "for fools" and accused him of blind loyalty to his adviser – which was putting Government messaging on coronavirus at risk.

A statement the broadcaster put out on twitter said: "The BBC must uphold the highest standards of due impartiality in its news output.

"We've reviewed the entirety of last night's Newsnight, including the opening section, and while we believe the programme contained fair, reasonable and rigorous journalism.

"We feel that we should have done more to make clear the introduction was a summary of the questions we would examine, with all the accompanying evidence, in the rest of the programme.

"As it was, we believe the introduction we broadcast did not meet our standards of due impartiality.

"Our staff have been reminded of the guidelines."

According to the MailOnline, just over 20,000 people who complained thought Ms Maitlis had not been impartial, and just under 20,000 were angry at the BBC's statement.

Some complaints have not been categorised yet.

Media watchdog Ofcom said it had received 366 complaints over the broadcast.

Despite the stampede of complaints, Ms Maitlis said she had been "overwhelmed" by kind messages from fans.

She wrote on twitter: "Been overwhelmed by all the kindness, messages – and support on here – and I’ve probably missed much of it"

Rumours swirled earlier this week that Ms Maitlis had been kicked off the air, and a colleague asked to step in for the following nights program.

But Ms Maitlis insisted she had asked her colleauge Katie Razzall to fill the spot for her.

Ms Razzall took to twitter to clarify the reason for filling in: "Just for the record, Emily @maitlis has not been asked by the BBC to take tonight off – and if I thought she had been, I certainly wouldn’t have agreed to present the show."

She did not address Ms Maitlis' absence as she opened the programme yesterday evening.

And later Ms Maitlis herself tweeted: "So grateful to my friend and excellent colleague @katierazz for stepping in this evening.

"She did so because I asked for the night off -knowing tonight’s prog would be in the most excellent hands 🖐 #newsnight."


Another BBC presenter, Andrew Marr, has also been the subject of more than 1,000 messages to the broadcaster from viewers after he grilled Transport Secretary Grant Shapps over the Dominic Cummings row.


The Newsnight presenter's position on the row sparked fury from MPs.

Tory grandee Iain Duncan Smith slammed Ms Maitlis' comments, and warned it was not the job of presenters to offer a personal opinion.

He told The Sun: “It’s quite wrong of an interviewer to express their own views using a platform they have been fortunate to get.

“The charter is very clear that the BBC is not to express its own personal opinions.”

Tory MP Michael Fabricant said: "The BBC is supposed to present news in an unbiased way without a personal commentary.

"Newsnight is meant to do just that: present news and interviews. Not the personal views of its presenters.

"The BBC seems to be losing all its values as a national public broadcaster."

Former Labour MP and Brexiteer Kate Hoey added: "Understand that the BBC is being inundated with complaints about Emily Maitlis and Newsnight from last night.

"I have also put in a complaint and am sure many many more will #bbcbias".

The comments also prompted a backlash from the public on social media.

One wrote: “What a totally disgraceful speech from Emily Maitlis and the BBC Newsnight editorial team.

“Ofcom need to step in because the BBC are clearly breaking their own charter. This in nasty and not at all unbiased or impartial."

Another said: “This is a presenter's opinion and using her position to give her viewpoint. We deserve as taxpayers to have impartial broadcasters.”

Boris Johnson has far refused to sack Mr Cummings despite a Tory civil war breaking out.

The PM again stood by his chief aide who is accused of twice breaking lockdown rules to travel with his family.

More than 40 backbench Tory MPs have also publicly called for the Vote Leave guru to step down.

Some have been spooked by polls showing the PM’s approval rating has plummeted by 20 per cent and that more than half of the public think Mr Cummings should quit.

A Savanta ComRes poll from earlier this week shows Mr Johnson’s rating has dropped to minus one.

The Government’s approval is down by 16 per cent.

And a YouGov poll shows 71 per cent of Brits say Mr Cummings did break lockdown and 59 per cent think he should resign.

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Dammit, Dakota Johnson in 'The High Note' Just Made Yet Another Case for Quarantine Bangs

Who are you, really, if you haven’t taken a photo of Dakota Johnson to your hairstylist at least once and said, “How would these bangs look on me?” or sent a picture of her to your group chat and said, “Can I pull this off?” I am one of the many women in America—nay, the world—who suffer from what I like to call Dakota Johnson Hair envy, and I’m here to say it only got worse after watching her in her newest movie, The High Note.

The film follows Dakota’s character Maggie, who works as an assistant to Tracee Ellis Ross’s Grace. Grace is a major musician living in L.A., so as you can imagine, Maggie’s life as her personal assistant is… rough. Between picking up Grace’s green juices and prescriptions, Maggie struggles to become a music producer herself, and, bonus, meets a very cute guy along the way. The driving force of the movie is her relationship with Grace, who is almost a mentor, but mostly just an exhibitor of tough love.

Dakota and Tracee have great chemistry on-screen, and this movie is so damn enjoyable to watch. Not only are they super funny together, but their assistant/boss dynamic will definitely hit home for anyone who’s set foot in an office environment even once. Plus, there are original songs! There’s a love story! There’s a highly attractive male specimen who also sings! There’s an unexpected twist that I will not elaborate on for fear of spoiling this movie for all of you! It features tons of great L.A. scenery, which makes it particularly enjoyable for those of us who can’t leave our houses rn. Basically, The High Note is the type of movie you want to watch with your mom, or while cuddled up with a good cup of tea (or wine, we don’t judge).

The real star of this film, though, as previously mentioned, is Dakota’s bangs. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, when many people (rightfully) cannot leave their house to get their hair cut. It’s a small price to pay to keep other people safe, but it means that lots of people are reaching for the scissors and taking matters into their own hands, literally. And what does Dakota do during this fragile time? When we’re all already so unsatisfied with the current state of our hair? Wave THESE impeccable, just-the-right-amount-of-wispy bangs in front of my face. The nerve of this woman!!

Does it upset me? Yes. Am I about to book the first post-quarantine appointment with my stylist and bring this movie trailer to her? Also yes. The High Note is an absolute delight, but please take this as an official warning: it will make you think long and hard about getting bangs, and that’s a very dangerous position to put yourself in.

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When will schools reopen in the UK? – The Sun

BORIS Johnson has announced that schools WILL open to pupils from June 1, in a phased reopening of classrooms in the UK.

Here's everything you need to know about when kids will be heading back to school as the UK slowly begins to exit the coronavirus lockdown.

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When will schools reopen in the UK?

The Prime Minister announced today on Thursday, May 28, that primary schools and nurseries will reopen on June 1 for children in reception, Years 1 and 6 and in nursery.

Secondary schools, sixth forms and colleges will however allow open for face-to-face contact from June 15, which offers some clarity over preparation for important exams next year.

The PM first announced the Government's plans for a phased reopening of schools on June 1 early in May.

However, he was quick to add these plans were "conditional" and it would depend on the science and if coronavirus infections continued to drop.

But on Sunday, May 24, he confirmed "we will be in the position to move to step two of the plan", meaning some schools will reopen on June 1, with reception, year one and year six classes returning first.

He said: "I can confirm I do believe we will be in the position to move to step two of the plan.

"As part of step two, we set out plans for phased reopening of schools.

"Education of children is crucial for their welfare, health, long-term future and for social justice.

"In line with the approach being taken in many other countries, we want to start getting children back into the classroom in a way that is as manageable and safe as possible."

" I can announce our intention to go ahead with that as planned on June 1 – a week on Monday," he added.

"We then intend from June 15 for secondary schools to provide some contact for year 10 and 12 students to help them prepare for exams next year."

Up to a quarter of older students will attend schools at any one time, the Prime Minister said, adding: "We're taking a deliberately cautious approach after a very constructive period of consultation."

He said full social distancing "may not be possible".

However, plans to keep children separate include smaller class sizes, keeping pupils in smaller groups, staggered break and lunchtimes, as well as drop-offs and pick-ups, and increased cleaning.

The Department for Education has published detailed guidance on the issue, he added.

Progress is "conditional and provisional" he said, insisting that "we must all remember the basics", like washing hands and maintaining social distancing.

"We are beating this thing, but we will beat it all the faster if we stay alert, control the virus and save lives," he said.

"What we will do is make sure that we stagger things and we pace things and we work directly with you, with local authorities, to make sure that there is a plan," he said.

Is June 1 too soon?

Teaching unions are opposed to the Government's plan to re-open schools on June 1, claiming teachers, pupils and their families will be at risk of catching the deadly virus.

The National Education Union slammed the school plan as "reckless" and warned infection rates were still too high.

The union advised members to tell headteachers they were “[awaiting] further advice from [their] union”.

More than 2,000 schools have now refused to open on June 1.

Some local authorities, especially in the north of England, have advised their schools to stay closed on that date.

Doctors also said it was too risky to reopen schools on June 1 – however The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, has since dropped its hardline opposition to reopening.

Dame Angela McLean, the deputy chief scientific adviser, said an effective track and trace system was needed to isolate those infected by the coronavirus before changes were made to lockdown rules.

She told The Times that this should be based on "observed levels of infection . . . and not on a fixed date".

And scientist John Edmunds, another member of Sage, told Sky News that a track and trace system must be "embedded and working well" before schools reopened.

An exclusive investigation by The Sun revealed at least 28 councils have warned schools under their control could stay shut.

Analysis by The Sun found the local authorities cover 2,269 primaries.

The best way to check if your school will be open is to stay in contact with them directly by checking their website.

Which year groups will return first?

Reception, year one and year six are set to be the first year groups to return to schools after June 1.

How will social distancing work? 

The Department for Education issued guidelines on May 11 on how schools should enforce social distancing – including limiting class sizes to 15 students.

The main points are

  • Children under 2 years need 3.5 metres squared per child, two-year-olds need 2.5 metres squared per child and children aged 3 to 5 years need 2.3 metres squared per child
  • Ensuring any surfaces touched are cleaned several times a day
  • A queuing system when parents arrive to picking up children, to limit contact with carers
  • Enforcing that children with symptoms and staff who are symptomatic to not come in
  • Ensure hands are washed regularly throughout the day and children are watched doing so
  • Supplying disposable tissues throughout the setting to enforce "catch it, bin it, kill it" measures on spreading germs
  • Arrange for children to be collected at the door if possible
  • Limit visitors and keep windows open for ventilation

But union boss Kevin Courtney tweeted on May 12: "Education unions intend to work together.

"Don't engage with planning a June 1st return to wider opening – await further union advice."

Meanwhile, General Secretary of The National Association for Head Teachers Paul Whiteman told the Education Select Committee: "If social distancing is as we understand it now – the two metre rule to be applied in schools – there are very many schools that are saying it is simply impossible to achieve."

He said making sure younger year groups stay at least two metres apart from each other and their teachers and practice good hygiene such as hand washing will be particularly difficult.

Schools have been closed since March 18 – three days before the Prime Minister announced a nationwide lockdown.

What other changes will schools see?

Schools are told to stagger lunch and break times, as well as drop-off and pick-up times, to reduce the number of pupils moving around at once.

It also said schools should look at bringing in a one-way system in corridors, or putting a divider in the middle to control the flow of kids.

Institutions are advised to remove all soft toys or any toys that are hard to clean.

Ministers admitted they cannot keep kids two metres away from each other all day, so each class will form a self-contained "bubble" so they don't mix with other kids at the schools.

For secondary schools and colleges, classes will be halved, the government said.

That means that classrooms and workshops will be rearranged "with sitting positions two metres apart.

"Where very small classes might result from halving, it would be acceptable to have more than half in a class, provided the space has been rearranged.

"Support staff may be drawn on in the event there are teacher shortages," the advice added.

Williamson said if scientific advice proposed a "limited number" of children could be sent back to school, it was his duty to allow this to happen.

When did schools close and what has happened since?

  • May 24 – The PM confirmed "we will be in the position to move to step two of the plan", meaning some schools will reopen on June 1, with reception, year one and year six classes returning first.
  • May 22 – Independent SAGE group warn that it is unsafe for schools to return on June 1
  • May 20 – Justice Secretary Robert Buckland admits "doubts" schools will reopen on June 1
  • May 19 – List of schools revolting against June 1 opening date grows, as towns in the North and Midlands vow to stay closed
  • May 12 – Teaching union encourages school staff not to engage with June 1 plans, The National Education Union (NEU) advised members to tell headteachers they were “[awaiting] further advice from [their] union”
  • May 11 –  The Government publishes detailed plans on the return to school, and plans are announced for secondary school pupils facing exams to see teachers before sitting tests. The Government says they will "ensure that the youngest children, and those preparing for the transition to secondary school, have maximum time with their teachers"
  • May 10 – Boris Johnson announces plans for years one and six to get to back to the classroom
  • March 20 – Schools closed and it was announced GCSE and A Level exams would be awarded in August based on mock exam results, to much criticism
  • March 18 – It's announced all schools will be closed in two days, excluding for "vulnerable children" and kids of key workers

The councils who have cast doubt on the Government plans

Brighton and Hove
Barking and Dagenham

Will parents be fined for not sending children to school?

No10 has also confirmed that parents would not be fined if they chose to keep their kids at home over concerns for their safety.

A spokesman for No10 said: "While we will not penalise [parents] for keeping children at home, once children are eligible to return to school we will strongly encourage them to do so."

Dr Bousted urged the Government to meet tests set out by unions, which includes extra money for deep cleaning and personal protective equipment and local powers to close schools if clusters of infections break out.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said on May 12 it was "completely natural" for parents to worry about sending their kids back to school.

No10 has also confirmed that parents would not be fined if they chose to keep their kids at home over concerns for their safety.

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18 councils in Britain have not yet seen coronavirus death peak – is yours on the list? – The Sun

EIGHTEEN councils in Britain are yet to see their coronavirus death peak.

North Somerset, Preston, Doncaster and Carlisle are all among those suffering their worst weeks, according to data from the National Office of Statistics (ONS).

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Brits sighed in relief as Boris Johnson finally announced an easing in lockdown measures, with pubs and restaurants set to open next month.

But while there there has been an overall national decline in covid-19 deaths, areas in England and Wales are yet to see the worst of the pandemic.

Ministers are now concerned that restrictions may have to be re-introduced at local levels, possibly in schools and offices, as part of the government's track and trace scheme, the Telegraph reports.

In the latest set of ONS figures, analysis found there were 18 areas that endured their worst week for deaths.

Despite early concern that the North West has taken over from London as the UK covid-19 epicentre, there was no regional pattern in the figures.

The areas, none of which were in the capital, were spread across the country from Ashford in Kent, Wrexham in Wales and Doncaster in South Yorkshire.

Among them was North Somerset, where 24 coronavirus deaths were registered for the weekend ending May 15.

It is very important that we have a very sensitive test, track and trace operation in order to cope with local outbreaks.

The situation was so serious that Weston Hospital, based in the area, had to close to new patients so it could deal with those infected by Covid-19.

This suggests that easing the lockdown measures for that community could be dangerous, as it is still to see the height of its coronavirus peak.

The PM used Weston Hospital as a case study of how the government’s new tactics would work in a speech yesterday.

He told the Liaison Committee: "The other day you saw there was an outbreak in Weston-super-Mare.

“We moved very quickly to close things down there to try to sort it out.

"That is the kind of whack-a-mole tactics that we are going to use as we keep driving the virus down and keep reducing the incidents.

"It is very important that we have a very sensitive test, track and trace operation in order to cope with local outbreaks."


Ashford, Kent

Broadland, Norfolk

Carlisle, Cumbria

Doncaster, South Yorkshire

Eden, Cumbria

Fenland, Cambridgeshire


Hinckley and Bosworth, Leicestershire

Kettering, Northamptonshire

North Somerset

Preston, Lancashire

Richmondshire, North Yorkshire

Rother, East Sussex

Selby, North Yorkshire

South Norfolk

Tonbridge and Malling, Kent

Wrexham, North Wales

Wyre, Lancashire


It comes as new figures show the UK has suffered the highest rate of excess deaths during the coronavirus pandemic among all countries with comparable data.

Britain registered 59,537 more deaths than usual since the week ending March 20,

equating to 891 people per million – a higher rate than any other country with the same quality of data.

The data also shows the UK is the worst hit in Europe when it comes to a percentage increase in deaths across the same period, trumped only by Peru internationally.

Yesterday, the Department of Health revealed the nation's overall death toll from the virus is now 37,460.

The true figure, however, is believed to be much higher, with data from the Office for National Statistics suggesting more than 47,000 people could have been killed by the deadly bug in Britain already.


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Body of boy, 15, found in Hartlepool woodland

THE body of a 15-year-old boy has been found in woodland.

Emergency services were called and rushed to the woods in Hartlepool on Sunday night.

Officers arrived on the scene at 8pm and a spokesman today confirmed a body was found.

His family has been notified and officers are supporting them.

The force said: "Our thoughts and sympathies remain with them."

There are not believed to be any suspicious circumstances surrounding his death and a file will be prepared for the coroner.

A spokeswoman for the North East Ambulance Service said: "We were called at 8.19pm on Sunday, May 24 to an incident on Tremaine Close, Hartlepool.

"We dispatched a double crewed ambulance, a specialist paramedic, a clinical care manager and a doctor from the Great North Air Ambulance."

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Brit, 27, in hospital after being shot in the legs in Marbella ‘in possible settling of scores between gangs’ – The Sun

A BRITISH man was in hospital after being shot in the legs on the Costa del Sol.

The 27-year-old was dropped by a friend at A&E in Marbella in the early hours of Monday.

The incident is being investigated by a Spanish police unit set up to combat organised crime.

Well-placed sources said the victim received four shots to the leg in a possible settling of scores between gangs.

Police are yet to make any official comment about the incident.

It comes a week after lockdown was eased with bar terraces re-opening.

Six Brits were held last week after a bar stabbing in Mijas Costa in which a man was left with his “guts hanging out”.

Those arrested included fugitive alleged drug dealer Zathon Williams, of Bedworth, Warwicks.

The 28-year-old became the latest Brit fugitive to be caught on the Costas after the mass fight last week.

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I am stuck in Britain and want to leave but coronavirus means I have to stay – The Sun

DEAR DEIDRE: COVID-19 is ruining my life. I am a guy aged 19 from Brazil, studying here at university.

It’s a big deal for my family to find the money for me to study in this country and they want the best for me.

Get in touch with Deidre today

Got a problem?

My team and I are working safely from home but we are here to help you as always.

Send an email to [email protected]

Every problem gets a personal reply, usually within 24 hours weekdays.

You can also send a private message on the DearDeidreOfficial Facebook page.

Follow me on Twitter @deardeidre.

However, I’m not living my best life.

My family insist I should stay here during the pandemic because it’s so bad at home.

But I’m stuck here with a host family who are kind but not my own family. I’m feeling alone and scared.

I know I can’t change anything and feel so helpless.

DEIDRE SAYS: You are voicing the feelings of so many people of all ages – and knowing that you can’t control your present, let alone your future, is very scary.

Remember the saying: “This too shall pass.” It will and, in fact, you are gaining valuable life experience by being brave and independent.

Share your feelings with your family at home and your host family too. You can find free 24/7 crisis support by texting SHOUT to 85258.

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More Group 1 glory in pipeline for Martyn Meade's Technician as trainer eyes up shot at Royal Ascot

TRAINER Martyn Meade is hopeful his star Technician can get his season off to a flyer.

He is aiming his Group 1 winner at the rescheduled Coronation Cup before a daring bid at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot.

The four-year-old rounded off last term with a top-level victory in the Prix Royal-Oak, having previously bagged the Prix Chaudenay and Geoffrey Freer Stakes in his 10 starts in 2019.

And the Coronation Cup – now at Newmarket – looks to be the perfect warm-up before a Royal Ascot bid.

Meade said: "The Sagaro Stakes is at Newcastle, that's a Group 3 so he would have to carry a bit of weight there and I'm not so sure about the all-weather, as Mastercraftsman's progeny don't have a great record on the surface.

"There is the Coronation Cup over a mile and a half – we could have a go at that.

"The Gold Cup is his main target, so it would be nice to get a prep run in before that."

Technician has shown his best form on easy ground and Meade will be mindful of conditions for his runner.

He said: "We know he's much better with a bit of cut in the ground. We were hoping we might get a bit softer ground in the spring, but now it looks like we are heading straight into summer ground.

"It's not that he doesn't go on quicker ground, he just doesn't show his best on it. He disappointed in the St Leger on fast ground at Doncaster.

"He's currently in very good form and we're hoping for a good season with him."

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40% of people in England believe China created the coronavirus

Up to 40% of people in England believe China purposely created the coronavirus as a bio-weapon to destroy the west, study reveals

  • Experts quizzed 2,500 adults in England about Covid-19 conspiracy theories
  • Only 55% disagreed that China created the coronavirus to attack the west
  • And one in 20 people – or 5.5% – agreed with the statement entirely 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Forty per cent of people in England believe China may have purposely created the coronavirus as a bio-weapon to destroy the west, research suggests.

Psychologists quizzed 2,500 adults across the country about Covid-19 conspiracy theories, such as the bogus claim 5G is to blame for its rapid spread.

Only 55 per cent of the respondents disagreed with the claim that Beijing officials manufactured the lethal virus to attack the UK, US and Europe.

One in 20 people – or 5.5 per cent – agreed with the statement entirely, according to the study carried out by Oxford University experts.

China has repeatedly fended off accusations that the coronavirus was created in a lab in the city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began in December.

And World Health Organization officials have disputed the claims multiple times, saying there is no evidence the new coronavirus was created in a laboratory.

Psychologists quizzed 2,500 adults across the country about Covid-19 conspiracy theories, such as the bogus claim 5G is to blame for its rapid spread

Beijing health authorities have insisted the virus almost certainly came from an animal in Huanan market in Wuhan. 

They said it was ‘only a matter of time’ before they identified the crossover species behind transmission from bats to humans. 

But US President Donald Trump fueled concerns this month when he suggested that the coronavirus was the result of a ‘horrible mistake’ made by China.

His fiery remarks came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was a ‘significant amount of evidence’ the disease had escaped.

US officials believe China intentionally concealed the severity of the pandemic – which has now killed more than 330,000 people – in early January and hoarded medical supplies.

The Oxford survey also revealed that more than a fifth of people in England believe the coronavirus that has killed tens of thousands of Britons is a hoax.

Twenty-one per cent of respondents claimed they thought the virus was fake, and 62 per cent admitted they thought the virus was man-made.


China’s claims the Covid-19 pandemic emerged from a wild animal market in Wuhan last December were challenged by a landmark study last week.

The Mail on Sunday revealed analysis of the virus by specialist biologists suggested it was taken into the market by someone already infected.

They also said they were ‘surprised’ to find the virus was ‘already pre-adapted to human transmission’.

The explosive claim came as Beijing thwarted global efforts to establish the source of the virus. 

The news fuelled concerns over the Communist regime’s cover-up since the disease emerged last year in the central Chinese city.

Beijing health authorities have insisted the virus almost certainly came from an animal in Huanan market in Wuhan. 

They said it was ‘only a matter of time’ before they identified the crossover species behind transmission from bats to humans. The World Health Organization quickly backed its claims.

The poll also found almost three fifths of adults believe to some extent that the government is misleading the public about the cause of the virus.

While 79 per cent said they did not agree that coronavirus is caused by 5G and is a form of radiation poisoning transmitted through radio waves.

More than one fifth of those questioned said they do not agree the virus is naturally occurring, and 75 per cent did not agree that celebrities are being paid to say they have Covid-19.

The research – a representative online survey of 2,500 adults carried out between May 4-11 – was published in the journal Psychological Medicine.

It showed people who believe coronavirus conspiracies are less likely to comply with social-distancing guidelines or take up future vaccines.

The team wrote such ideas were also associated with general anti-vaxx sentiments and climate change conspiracy beliefs.

Lead researcher Professor Daniel Freeman said: ‘Those who believe in conspiracy theories are less likely to follow government guidance.

‘Those who believe in conspiracy theories also say that they are less likely to accept a vaccination, take a diagnostic test, or wear a face mask.’  

It comes as police were forced to break up a street party of more than 100 people in a cramped cul-de-sac this week – as one reveller asked ‘Is Covid-19 even real?’ 

Shocking bodycam footage captured dozens of Britons as they flouted lockdown rules by mingling in a street in Birmingham to enjoy a barbecue and blaring music.

The gathering involved families and young children standing ‘shoulder-to-shoulder’ despite nationwide restrictions on meetings.

In the clip, an officer is heard asking the crowd whether ‘everyone is enjoying themselves’, before he immediately tells partygoers they need to leave the area.  

‘This is a gathering that cannot happen under the current Covid-19 legislation and restrictions,’ he said.

As he continues to ask revellers to return home, a woman asks ‘is Covid-19 real?’ before explaining she isn’t sure because she ‘hasn’t had it.’ 

Shocking bodycam footage captured dozens of Britons as they flouted lockdown rules by mingling in a street in Handsworth, Birmingham to enjoy a barbecue and blaring music on Wednesday evening

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India sees a record rise in coronavirus cases with 6,000 infections

India sees a record rise in coronavirus cases with 6,000 new infections amid fears it will become Asia’s epicentre as Indonesia’s death toll soars past 1,000 and Iran fears second wave

  • India is now accounting for around a quarter of Asia’s new coronavirus cases, with another 6,088 added today
  • The Iranian regime has urged people not to travel at the end of Ramadan because millions are still vulnerable 
  • Indonesia has seen 1,242 deaths after confirming only 19,189 cases amid a huge shortage of testing capacity 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

India saw a record 6,000 new coronavirus cases today as it piles up infections at the fastest rate in Asia, while the death toll is mounting in Indonesia and fears of a second wave are growing in Iran.  

The 6,088 new cases in India have sent the total soaring to 66,330 in a country of 1.3billion where the lockdown has been partially eased and where some hospital wards are at full capacity. 

India made up nearly a quarter of Asia’s new infections yesterday, with the continent as a whole accounting for 23 per cent of the world’s daily tally – up from a figure as low as eight per cent in March and April.    

Turkey has seen 152,587 cases, the most in Asia, and suffered 4,222 deaths, although new infections have slowed and the government says it has the outbreak under control. 

China and Iran – the birthplace of the pandemic and an early hotspot respectively – are both facing fears of a second wave, and there are doubts about the accuracy of both regimes’ figures. 

Meanwhile in south-east Asia, Indonesia has already seen 1,242 deaths after confirming only 19,189 cases so far amid a shortage of testing capacity. 

This graph shows the daily number of coronavirus deaths in six of the worst-affected countries. China was the early leader after the outbreak began in Wuhan late last year, but India is now becoming Asia’s epicentre while the death toll is also mounting in Indonesia. Iran’s crisis has declined from its peak but there are fears of a second wave of the disease 

After the outbreak began in China, Asia accounted for the vast majority of new cases in January and still made up more than 90 per cent of new infections throughout most of February. 

That figure plummeted in early March when the virus began to ravage Europe, which first recorded more new cases than Asia on March 6.  

As virus cases then started to pile up in the United States, Asia’s share of new cases fell as low as 7.5 per cent on March 24 and 7.8 per cent on April 4. 

However, it has since increased again – passing 20 per cent on May 11 and only once falling below that threshold since then. 

Asia has now overtaken Europe again, although North America is still seeing more cases while South America is now the continent with the fastest growth in infections.    

The fastest growth is occurring in India, where the health ministry today reported more than 6,000 new cases in a day for the first time. Only the United States, Brazil and Russia recorded more new cases than India yesterday.  

An epidemiologist at the Public Health Foundation of India acknowledged that ‘this surge in cases has happened after movement of people has been partially allowed’ following a nationwide lockdown. 

‘But if you see overall, this is a much lower exponential trajectory as compared to the rest of the world,’ said Giridhar Babu. 

Indian PM Narendra Modi ordered the world’s largest lockdown in late March, which has been extended until May 31 but relaxed in some areas. 

Airlines will be allowed to resume flights with about a third of operations as of Monday, but only on domestic routes and under strict rules. 

India’s contagion hotspots include the capital New Delhi, financial hub Mumbai, Modi’s home state of Gujarat, and the southern state of Tamil Nadu. The country has seen 3,583 deaths. 

‘Our Covid wards have been full for the past week, and we are expanding capacity to enable us to admit more patients,’ said Dr Lancelot Pinto at the P. D. Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. 

INDIA: Health personnel wearing white and blue protective gear carry the coffin of an 80-year-old woman from a mortuary to an ambulance in Srinagar, after she died following a coronavirus infection 

INDONESIA: A motorcyclist gestures as he is questioned by an Indonesian official at a checkpoint in Jakarta today, as the government urges people not to travel unnecessarily to mark the end of Ramadan 

In the Middle East, Iran has seen 126,949 cases and revealed yesterday that around 10,000 health workers are among those infected, admitting that ‘some of them have died’. 

Iran was blamed for exporting the virus around the region in the early weeks of the pandemic, with many cases linked to the Shi’a pilgrimage site of Qom which was initially not shut down. 

The Iranian regime now fears a second wave of the disease, urging people not to travel at the end of Ramadan because 90 per cent of the population in some areas has not yet been exposed to the virus. 

The official death toll is 7,183, the highest in Asia, and since the start of the epidemic there has been suspicion that the regime’s figures are far too low. 

A report by a parliamentary research centre suggested that the actual tally of infections and deaths in Iran might be almost twice that announced by the health ministry.  

However, Iran has been easing lockdown measures in the hope of reviving an economy which was already battered by US sanctions.

Iran’s regional rival Saudi Arabia has suffered 62,545 cases, the fifth-most in Asia, although authorities have only announced 339 deaths – a very low mortality rate of 0.5 per cent.  

Saudi Arabia is also facing an economic crisis after oil prices collapsed because of the pandemic, at one stage falling into negative territory. 

The kingdom has also lost revenue from the suspension of Muslim pilgrimages to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, which were closed to visitors due to Covid-19. 

The country’s finance minister says it will need ‘strict and painful measures’ including sharp spending cuts to deal with the crisis.  

SAUDI ARABIA: People pray during Ramadan while practising social distancing at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, which has been closed to pilgrims because of the coronavirus pandemic 

IRAN: People wear masks on the Tehran metro on Wednesday, after Iran started to lift lockdown restrictions despite a continuing increase in infections – amid fears of a second wave 

Elsewhere, Turkey is home to Asia’s largest outbreak but yesterday saw the daily number of new cases drop below 1,000 for the first time in weeks.  

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan began easing lockdown restrictions earlier this month, allowing inter-city travel in some provinces and easing a curfew on vulnerable people. 

Health minister Fahrettin Koca said the country is ready to start accepting ‘medical tourists’ from 31 countries and said played down fears of a second wave of infections. 

‘If we continue to abide by the rules of social distancing, wearing a mask and a limited social life, then we don’t see a risk of second wave,’ Koca said yesterday. 

‘Like the rest of the world, we are also monitoring actively such a risk around September or October. But we are in a position to take necessary measures in the case of a second wave.’

Turkey has recorded 152,587 cases in total, but the government says that more than 110,000 of those have already recovered from the disease. The country has seen 4,222 deaths. 

In south-east Asia, Indonesia has the region’s highest death toll with 1,242 as the government struggles to increase its testing capacity. 

Indonesia has so far conducted around 50 tests per 100,000 people, compared with 2,500 per 100,000 in neighbouring Singapore. 

President Joko Widodo promised in April that 10,000 tests would be carried out per day, but the goal is yet to be reached, with testing rates hovering at less than half that figure. 

On top of that, there are fears that millions of people will leave Jakarta at the end of Ramadan in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country. 

The government has banned people from travelling for the holiday, but some people have been allowed to go if they provide proof of reasons to travel and a health certificate.

Central Java Governor Ganjar Pranowo said this week he expected one million people to return to his province from greater Jakarta this year.  

TURKEY: Municipal morgue workers in Istanbul wear protective suits and face mask as they pull the coffin of a coronavirus victim out of the building in Turkey’s largest city yesterday 

CHINA: A foreign journalist is tested by a medical worker wearing a blue protective suit and a face shield ahead of the Chines People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing yesterday 

By contrast, Vietnam has not yet reported a single coronavirus death and has limited total cases to just 324 after taking early action to close borders and quarantine thousands of people. 

By mid-March, Vietnam made the wearing of masks in public places mandatory nationwide, well ahead of most other countries. 

Kidong Park, the World Health Organisation’s representative in Vietnam, has said there is no indication of any outbreaks beyond what the government has reported. 

China has reported only a trickle of new cases and deaths in recent weeks after sealing off Wuhan for more than two months, but has recently found a cluster of cases in two north-eastern provinces. 

A medic on the National Health Commission has also voiced fears that the pathogen is changing after finding that patients in the provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang were reacting differently to those in Wuhan. 

Patients in the northeastern clusters were also carrying the virus for longer than earlier cases in Wuhan, and they were taking longer to recover, said critical care expert Qiu Haibo. 

Patients in the northeast also rarely exhibited fever and tended to suffer damage to the lungs rather than across multiple organs, he said.  

South Korea has been widely hailed as a model for its handling of the outbreak, although it recently saw a new cluster of cases linked to bars and nightclubs in Seoul. 

Some nightclubs and bars in the capital have been ordered to close again, and authorities have also delayed the planned reopening of schools by a week. 

The country has carried out more than 800,000 tests, which have shown 11,142 positive results – leading to 264 confirmed deaths. 

Secretive North Korea claims it has no virus cases at all, but many experts and North Korean defectors regard this as implausible.  

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