4 August: Your round-up of the issues leading today's agenda
- The UK government signed deals for quick-turnaround tests for Covid-19 as the country prepares for a winter resurgence of the disease, with officials warning that lockdown restrictions could return, Bloomberg reports. Amid criticism that its initial response to the crisis was too slow, the government said millions of the tests, which can give results in 90 minutes and check for flu and other viruses, will be sent to hospitals and care homes. “The fact these tests can detect flu as well as Covid-19 will be hugely beneficial as we head into winter, so patients can follow the right advice to protect themselves and others,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said in an emailed statement Monday. The tests will help “break chains of transmission quickly,” he said.
- Manufacturing activity across the euro zone expanded for the first time since early 2019 last month as demand rebounded after more easing of the restrictions imposed to quell the spread of the new coronavirus, a survey showed on Monday, according to Reuters. IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index bounced to 51.8 in July from June’s 47.4 - its first time above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction since January 2019. An initial “flash” release had it at 51.1.
- The number of British nationals emigrating to other EU countries has risen by 30% since the Brexit referendum, with half making their decision to leave in the first three months after the vote, research has found, according to The Guardian. Analysis of data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and Eurostat shows that migration from Britain to EU states averaged 56,832 people a year in 2008-15, growing to 73,642 a year in 2016-18. The study also shows a 500% increase in those who made the move and then took up citizenship in an EU state. Germany saw a 2,000% rise, with 31,600 Britons naturalising there since the referendum.
- French pharmaceutical firm Sanofi is being investigated for possible manslaughter charges in France over the deaths of four babies whose mothers took the anti-epilepsy drug valproate, the BBC says. Marketed in France as Depakine, it was found to carry a high risk of birth defects if taken by pregnant women. Sanofi denies wrongdoing and says it warned of the potential risks long ago. It is already being prosecuted in France for allegedly providing misleading information about the drug.