Wednesday morning news briefing: Protests may have spread virus

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ack Lives Matter protests could have spread virus Thous

ands took to the streets, but did they spread more than their message? A public health chief has asked for an investigation after fears that Black Lives Matter protests led to a rise in coronavirus cases in his city. The Telegraph can reveal that officials in Birmingham have called for a national inquiry into a rise in cases seen 10 days after thousands gathered in the city on June 4. The Government had urged people to stay away from large protests due to concern that mass gatherings could fuel the spread of Covid-19. Bill Gardner has our full, exclusive story. Mean


hile, Public Health England’s future has been thrown into doubt after the Prime Minister suggested parts of the Government’s response to coronavirus had been “sluggish”. Whitehall sources indicated they believed Boris Johnson was referring to the agency when he described his frustration at failing to quickly confront elements of the pandemic as being “like a recurring bad dream”. It came as Sir Peter Soulsby, the lockdown-breaching Leicester mayor, was accused of being in “denial” about the scale of Covid-19 in his city and “all over the place” about how to tackle the surge that has now prompted a new shutdown. And Matt looks at the impact on Leicester City FC in today‘s hilarious cartoon. Immu

nity may be twice as high as believed Up to

a third of healthy people without Covid-19 symptoms may have developed immunity to the virus, international research suggests. The results indicate public immunity could be as much as twice that identified by antibody tests, meaning infection hotspots such as London could be closer to herd immunity than was thought. Until now, efforts to measure levels of protection against coronavirus focused on antibodies, which have proved an unreliable measure. Health Editor Laura Donnelly explains the results of a new study that suggests immunity levels in those without symptoms may be twice as high as was thought. Chil

dren will be told to walk or cycle to school Minis

ters have drawn up plans to encourage children not to rely on buses, trains and trams when the new term begins in September. Pupils will be told to walk or cycle to school rather than take public transport. The Government is also expected to say that, for children who travel to