FirstFT: Key workers will be exempt from self-isolation, says Johnson

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Boris Johnson marked England’s so-called Freedom Day by announcing contingency plans to exempt essential workers from self-isolation rules that cause economic and social disruption.

The Prime Minister’s decision to lift most restrictions on Covid-19 was accompanied by an announcement that additional policies – such as requiring a double vaccination to enter nightclubs – would be introduced in September .

Pub groups Wetherspoon and Young’s, catering company Fridays and fast food chain McDonald’s yesterday offered limited promotions to attract customers.

But in central London, many remained at home, hampering the recovery of restaurants, theaters and cinemas. FT’s view is that businesses need clarity on how to manage record numbers of isolated staff.

As revelers returned to nightclubs, investors were less jubilant: A global market sell-off has occurred, affecting many sectors that had propelled stocks higher this year and sending some into corrective territory.

Separately, Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi confirmed yesterday that only clinically extremely vulnerable children aged 12 to 17, those living with immunocompromised adults and adolescents within three months of their 18th birthday would be eligible for the BioNTech vaccine / Pfizer.

Five other articles in the news

1. David Cameron’s “lack of judgment” Lobbying by the former British Prime Minister on behalf of Greensill Capital, which collapsed in March, showed “a significant lack of judgment”, a committee of MPs concluded. The Treasury select committee found Cameron did not break the rules, but said this reflected “insufficient strength of the rules.”

2. United States: China has organized global cyber attacks The White House and its Western allies have accused Beijing of partnering with criminal gangs to carry out large-scale cyber attacks, including one against Microsoft this year that affected tens of thousands of organizations.

  • Notice: If China is unable to achieve a global military presence that rivals the United States, it may have to find a new way to be a superpower, writes Gideon Rachman.

3. UK “not about” leveling up Boris Johnson’s government is ‘far from’ implementing its ambitious agenda to reduce the country’s gaping inequalities that have been made worse by Covid-19, warned Steven Cooper, co-chair of the UK Commission for Social Mobility .

  • Notice: A more sustainable strategy to help lower paid workers and local economies would be to turn ‘bad jobs’ in sectors such as care and warehousing into ‘good jobs’, writes Sarah O’Connor.

4. BlackRock aims for high executive compensation The world’s largest asset manager has grown stronger opposition to executive compensation in Europe over the past year, voting against the salaries of the bosses of state-owned companies who laid off workers during the pandemic. Critics have accused BlackRock of not doing enough given it claims to be an ESG champion.

5. The interim Prime Minister of Haiti agrees to step down Claude Joseph, who has ruled the country since Jovenel Moïse’s assassination this month, has agreed to step aside under diplomatic pressure and cede power to a rival.

Coronavirus digest

  • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention yesterday urged Americans to avoid traveling to UK. the we is experiencing a “pandemic of the unvaccinated”, warned the head of the country’s public health agency.

  • Canada will begin allowing fully vaccinated U.S. tourists from early August and vaccinated travelers from other destinations in September.

  • American companies are desperate to hire amid fears about Covid, a lack of childcare and the temporary expansion of unemployment benefits. This gave job seekers more bargaining power than they have had in decades.

  • The explosive growth of e-commerce during the pandemic alerted investors to unglamorous deals of cardboard boxes.

Follow our coronavirus live Blog and Register now for our Coronavirus Business Update newsletter for more Covid-19 news.

The day to come

Out of this world Amazon founder Jeff Bezos takes to space today, the anniversary of the first moon landing, with his younger brother Mark, aviator Wally Funk, 82, and Dutch student Oliver Daemen, 18 years.

Olympic announcement The International Olympic Committee holds a session to announce the host of the 2032 Games.

Earnings The streaming giant Netflix, Philip Morris, UBS, Chipotle, Manpower Group, Halliburton, Rémy Cointreau, Electrolux and Volvo announce their results. BHP announces its fiscal fourth quarter production report.

Hearing on cybersecurity The US Energy and Trade Subcommittee meets to examine the threat of ransomware, a day after the White House accused China of being behind global cyber attacks.

What else do we read

Why Gabon wants markets to help fight climate change As oil reserves dwindle, Gabon seeks to reposition itself as a “green superpower”. The rare high-income country in Africa wants to be recognized for the preservation of its tropical forests, the most important forest ecosystem on the planet after the Amazon. So how does she plan to gain “natural capital”?

About 85% of Gabon's land is covered with carbon-absorbing rainforest, an area the size of the UK

About 85% of Gabon’s land is covered with carbon-absorbing rainforest, an area the size of the UK © Amaury Hauchard / AFP / Getty

When the social object goes up in smoke Philip Morris International’s “statement of intent” covers the tobacco manufacturer’s efforts for a “smoke-free future”. But his £ 1billion deal to buy the Vectura inhaler company has onlookers ranking it somewhere between bizarre and totally unacceptable, writes Hélène Thomas.

Brazilian Lula keeps politics a secret Since returning to politics in March, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has become a serious challenger to President Jair Bolsonaro. But some wonder what a new Lula presidency might look like – he admitted his ideas “change when the facts change” and went from a socialist trade union leader to the head of a liberal economic administration in 2003.

Iranian sanctions US considers sanctions against Iran oil sales in China, the country’s main customer, as negotiators seek to resurrect the 2015 nuclear deal. (WSJ)

Two big reasons to doubt the global boom While economists expect the global economy to reopen dramatically, there are two reasons to question its strength and duration: China and the United States. The superpowers are the engines of growth, but cracks are appearing in their economic engines, writes Ruchir Sharma.

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