• Isabelle Osborne

The Monthly Wrap-Up: July 2020

This is the first post in a new series - The Monthly Wrap-Up! In this series, I will be summarising the major events of the previous month, including political, economical, international, cultural and social affairs that dominated headlines in the UK and across the world. This is not an exhaustive list, but rather aims to refresh and summarise the major headlines that gained attention during the month.


United Kingdom


COVID-19


Tackling obesity: following Boris Johnson's claim that his weight made his battle with COVID-19 more severe, and medical advice suggesting being obese can increase the need for hospital attention for treatment of the virus, the government announced measures to reduce the obesity level in the UK. Currently, the UK has one of the highest obesity levels in Europe.


Face coverings made mandatory: from Friday 24th July, it was made mandatory to wear face coverings in enclosed public spaces, such as shops, banks and takeaways. Police can give out fines of up to £100 to anyone refusing to comply.


Flu vaccines: approx. 30 million people will be eligible for a free flue vaccine. This is in an attempt to prevent the NHS from being overwhelmed by seasonal flu and Covid 19. Those eligible include Y7 pupils, those with an underlying health condition, and those who have been shielding as well as those who they live with.


Pet cat catches COVID-19: a pet cat tested positive for coronavirus, thought to be caused by the cat catching the virus from its owner, who had previously tested positive for the virus. Experts say it is the first confirmed case of infection in an animal in the UK, but does not mean the disease is being spread to people by their pets.


Local lockdowns: following the release of national lockdown, Leicester was the first city to be locked down, as the number of positive cases in Leicester were considerably above the rest of the country.


Social and Cultural


Wiley and anti-semitism: Rapper, grime music artist and MBE holder, Wiley had his Twitter account temporarily locked after he shared anti-semitic content. This was followed by a Twitter boycott, whereby various Twitter uses decided not to tweet or use the app for 48 hours, including Lord Alan Sugar and Rachel Riley. Wiley is now being investigated by the Metropolitan Police.


Three convicted in death of PC Andrew Harper: after the tragic death of PC Andrew Harper last year, three have been found guilty of manslaughter, despite all three standing trial for murder. The wife of Harper is dissatisfied with the verdict, claiming 'For many, many agonising months we have hoped that justice would come in some way for Andrew'.


Johnny Depp's libel trial: in an attempt to reinstate his reputation, Depp sued The Sun for claiming he was a 'wife beater' back in 2018. During the trial, the actor admitted to years of drug abuse, but denied beating ex-wife Amber Herd.


Economical


Rishi Sunak's Summer Statement: the UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined the government's plans for reducing the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. His statement included the 'Eat Out to Help Out' scheme to encourage public support for local restaurants and cafes, the job retention scheme which offers employers £1,000 for each furloughed employee retained until January 2021, and a kickstart scheme which will see £2bn to fund hundreds of jobs.


International relations


Spain quarantine: in late July, the government decided to impose a two week quarantine rule for all travellers arriving from Spain to the UK, due to COVID-19 infection rates soaring. The quarantine initiated was significantly stricter than the one the country faced in March, as travellers are not permitted to leave their home for exercise or shopping. Almost a quarter of all arrivals in the country from the UK and thus are instrumental in supporting the tourism industry.


Hong Kong citizenship offer: up to three million Hong Kong residents were offered the chance to settle in the UK and ultimately apply for citizenship. This law was installed after the Security Law imposed by China violated Hong Kong's freedoms and threatened the 'one country, two systems' mantra. Approximately 350,000 UK passport holders, and 2.6 million others eligible, will be able to come to the UK for five years, before being able to apply for citizenship after one year of their stay.


Miscellaneous


Harry and Meghan sue over drone photos: the Duke and Duchess of Sussex launched legal action in the US after drones were allegedly used to take pictures of their son Archie whilst in their home during lockdown. The royal couple claim it was an invasion of privacy.


Liverpool win Premier League: for the first time since 1990, Liverpool won the Premier League in an near-empty stadium.


Ghislaine Maxwell arrested: British socialite and ex-girlfriend of convicted pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Maxwell was arrested and faces charges in the US after being arrested by the FBI on suspicion of having assisted Epstein's abuse of minors by helping to recruit and groom victims known to be underage.



Global news


Political


Chengdu and America: American diplomatic staff left their consulate in the Chinese city of Chengdu. China ordered the closure in response to the US closing the Chinese consulate in Houston, after it was alleged that it had become a hub for spying and property theft.


Putin extended his rule until 2036: former KGB officer and ruler of Russia, Vladimir Putin won the right to run for two more six-year terms after the current one ends in 2024, meaning he could rule till the age of 83.


Social and Cultural


Tick Tock trouble: the Chinese owned app has taken the internet by storm, but has been caught up in international tensions over concerns that Bytedance (it's parent company) shares user's data with the Chinese government. This month, it was banned in India, the app's biggest overseas market, as it was considered a national security threat. The USA, UK and Australia are also considering banning the app.


Miscellaneous


Further enquiry into disappearance of Madeline McCann: following suspicion of a prisoner was involved in the disappearance of Madeline McCann in June, this month German police uncovered a hidden cellar at a former home of the suspect in the case; a neighbouring plot owner said the allotment was previously rented by the main Madeline McCann suspect.




All information, facts and figures used in this article are cited to the BBC News website.

Words are all we have.

 - Samuel Beckett

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By Isabelle Osborne