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Scarves for face-masks will be part of the government’s post-pandemic advice

The government will advise the use of homemade facemasks once the pandemic measures are sufficiently relaxed for people to go back to work. As it tries to make sure that surgical-grade personal protective equipment (PPE) does not face supply issues for NHS workers, the government said scarves or ‘homemade cloth coverings’ will be the order of the day.

It’s not just some wheeze from improvisational cabinet ministers – apparently it is actually the advice of scientists on the ‘Sage’ panel of advisers, who are playing a key role in informing the government’s response to everything from the procurement of ventilators to the length of the lockdown. Expect some strange contraptions attached the visages of your co-workers when we all head back to work.

Ryanair will refuse to fly if the government insists on in-flight social distancing according to the carrier’s outspoken boss, Michael O’Leary. His comments are in response to suggestions that planes, once allowed to fly again, may have to keep the middle seat on each bank empty as a way of minimising the spread of the coronavirus. His firm plans to run about 40% of its flights if travel resumes in July, increasing capacity to 60% in August and then to 80% in September.

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Speaking to the FT, he described the empty-middle-seats concept as “entirely ineffective”, and put the Irish government on notice that “either the government pays for the middle seats or we won’t fly”, should they insist upon the policy at the regulatory level. 

Just Eat and Takeaway.com have been cleared for their merger by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), despite the deal almost coming off the rails back in January. The CMA would seem to have been dragging its feet, prompting shareholders in Takeaway to throw their weight behind a new bid from Naspers – a south African tech investment group.

Just Eat and Takeaway had been told by the CMA not to begin aligning their operations until its probe of the merger was complete, but it finally gave up the ghost. It is hot on the heels of its approval of Amazon’s investment in Deliveroo, the takeaway delivery startup, and rumour has it the CMA is keenly aware of the importance of food delivery while the lockdown continues nationwide.

It looks like the Jewish Chronicle will be saved after a consortium of financiers, broadcast figures and political wonks clubbed together to try and get control of the paper. It is the oldest Jewish newspaper in the world and put itself up for voluntary liquidation earlier this month due to a collapse in advertising revenues which has been echoed across the media industry. 

There has been something of a scramble over who would get to acquire its assets. Its main competitor, the Jewish News, also went into liquidation earlier this month, and the Kessler Foundation, a charitable foundation which owns the Jewish chronicle, had attempted to bid for the chance to restart both publications as a new, singular organisation.

But it was pipped at the post by a roll call of politics and broadcasting, including former Downing Street head of comms Robbie Gibb, former Labour MP John Woodcock, a BBC journo John Ware, among others. The bid has been accepted at £2.5m by liquidator Begbies Traynor, and the proposal contained a commitment to keep on Stephen Pollard, its long-serving editor. 

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