Global deaths pass 975,000
One of the key architects behind New Zealand’s successful management of the coronavirus has revealed he suffered imposter syndrome, anxiety and self-doubt during the peak of the crisis.
Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director general of health, won the hearts and minds of Kiwis for his cool, calm leadership during lockdown, fronting daily press conferences alongside the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern.
Quietly spoken and impeccably prepared, Bloomfield impressed with his depth of knowledge and quick recall of statistics and unflappable demeanour. He has become a fixture in popular culture, and his face has been printed on teaspoons, towels and even the occasional person.
But beneath his calm exterior Bloomfield has revealed there was a more vulnerable side during the height of the crisis. Bloomfield’s admission came as part of a TVNZ interview recorded during mental health awareness week in New Zealand:
Daily coronavirus cases near 3-month low in Australia’s Covid-19 hotspot
The world cannot allow the climate emergency to be overshadowed by the coronavirus pandemic, the UK prime minister Boris Johnson will warn, but must “build back better” after the crisis by cutting greenhouse gas emissions as a matter of urgency.
Johnson will announce that the UK will host an online event to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris climate agreement this December, with a call to all countries to strengthen their commitments on cutting carbon.
He will tell a round table on climate at the UN general assembly: “We cannot let climate action become another victim of coronavirus. Let us be the leaders who secure the very health of our planet for our children, grandchildren and generations to come.”
The UK will host the next UN climate summit, called Cop26, and postponed by a year from its original date of this November. The crunch summit is intended to put the world on track to meet the Paris agreement goal of holding global heating to well below 2C:
Israel announces tougher lockdown
The combination of a no-deal Brexit and a second wave of Covid-19 represents such a serious threat to the UK that a trade deal with Brussels is needed to avoid a “calamitous outcome”, according to the former head of the civil service.
In a withering attack on the government’s handling of the pandemic over the past six months, Gus O’Donnell – who headed the civil service under three prime ministers – will say on Thursday that the UK faces a perfect storm and that a trade agreement with the EU is “absolutely imperative” to head off serious disruption.
Lord O’Donnell will use the annual Institute for Fiscal Studies lecture to accuse the government of a range of failures – including weaknesses of strategy and leadership and a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver.
Britain’s Covid-19 record has been poor in comparison to its peers whether measured by the number of excess deaths, levels of wellbeing or the hit to economic activity, O’Donnell will say. He will accuse the government of having an obsession with soundbites at the expense of substance and a confused communications strategy that has left the public frustrated and baffled:
Justin Trudeau’s government has announced ambitious plans to spend billions on childcare, housing and healthcare – partly financed by taxing “extreme wealth inequality” – as Canada braces for an economically devastating second wave of coronavirus.
But opposition parties quickly dismissed the minority government’s proposals, prompting speculation that Canada will soon head into another general election.
The prime minister’s speech from the throne – which customarily starts a new session of parliament and outlines a government’s priorities – was delivered by governor-general Julie Payette on Wednesday afternoon.
The speech included calls for green investment and a plan to create more than a million new jobs, but was overshadowed by the pandemic which has killed 9,241 Canadians and left 2 million unemployed: