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Charities call for clarity amid confusion over end to virus shielding

Conflicting reports sow doubt about whether extremely vulnerable will be told to stop isolating in July * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage Healthcare charities have called for clarity amid growing confusion over government plans to end the coronavirus shielding programme in England. The scheme affects roughly 2.2 million “clinically extremely vulnerable” people, a category which includes those who have had transplants, are having certain cancer treatments, have severe lung conditions or have immune systems are particularly vulnerable to infection. Continue reading...
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Xu Zhangrun, outspoken critic of Xi Jinping, detained by police in Beijing

Professor had been under house arrest after writing an essay lambasting the president over his response to coronavirus Chinese professor Xu Zhangrun, known for his scathing and public criticisms of China’s leader Xi Jinping, has been detained, according to friends of the legal scholar. Two friends of Xu, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid reprisals, told the Guardian that he had been detained on Monday morning. According to one, around 20 police officers and 10 vehicles arrived at his home in Beijing and took Xu away. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/2Z3QWQg

Have a heart, KitKat, don't break with Fairtrade

Nestlé is big in York, but the city is fighting the brand’s decision to make life harder for African cocoa farmers Here’s a quiz question: how many KitKats are produced in the Nestlé factory in York each year? A hundred million? Keep going. The plant makes a billion of the UK’s bestselling chocolate bars annually. That volume is one reason that the company’s shameful decision to end the brand’s Fairtrade certification will have such a devastating effect on cocoa farmers. I visited some of the Fairtrade-certified cocoa farms in Ivory Coast last year. Seeing the difference that a measure of financial security can make to some of the poorest villages on earth is a lasting lesson in the mechanics of hope. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/3e43Jqe

Italy tests 180 migrants rescued by ship for Covid-19

Migrants have been onboard vessel operated by charity SOS Méditerranée for over a week * Coronavirus – latest updates * See all our coronavirus coverage Italy is carrying out tests on 180 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean with a view to transferring them to a quarantine vessel in Sicily, an interior ministry source has said. The migrants have been on the Ocean Viking ship operated by SOS Méditerranée for over a week, with fights and suicide attempts onboard prompting the charity to declare a state of emergency on Friday. Continue reading... https://bit.ly/3f27z4u