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Friday, 27 March 2020

Another UK Minister Tests Positive to Coronavirus

Health Secretary Matt Hancock tests positive for coronavirus
Boris Johnson has also contracted COVID-19 and says he has a temperature and persistent cough.

British PM Boris Johnson Tests Positive For Coronavirus

BREAKING: British PM Boris Johnson Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

Mr Johnson has mild symptoms and will self-isolate in Downing Street.
“He was tested for coronavirus on the personal advice of England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty,” a statement said.
He will still be in charge of the government’s handling of the crisis, the statement added.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

UK Coro-Relief: Shocker for Self Employed!

A coronavirus bail-out for the self-employed is being unveiled by the chancellor after pressure from MPs, but handouts could go to only one in three of the five million who work for themselves.
Rishi Sunak will announce an emergency package at Boris Johnson's daily Downing Street news conference, promising help for groups such as builders, taxi drivers, hairdressers and childminders.
But while he will promise to match the 80% of earnings he promised staff employees last Friday, the monthly cap is likely to be lower than the £2,500 in that coronavirus scheme because many self-employed pay less tax.
And it is likely only about 1.7 million, a third of the UK's self-employed, will qualify, with those who have separate earnings as company employees and those on Universal Credit - already promised help - excluded.

MPs have been warned that the aid package for the self-employed is highly complicated. And Treasury officials worked through the night in a race against time to complete preparations for its Downing Street launch.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

UK Unveils £7b Relief Package for Working Families

Universal Credit is to be increased by £1,000 a year as the government announced ‘unprecedented’ emergency economic measures to deal with coronavirus. 
In a £7bn welfare support package, working tax credits and housing benefit will also be increased and claimant rules relaxed for the self-employed.

Following criticism that the Chancellor’s £350bn bail-out earlier this week was focused on businesses but not on workers, he said the latest measures would help ‘four million of the most vulnerable households’.
Alongside the rise in benefits payments, Rishi Sunak said the minimum income floor for the self employed would be scrapped so that they can claim Universal Credit.

That means that self-employed people can now access, in full, Universal Credit at a rate equivalent to statutory sick pay for employees.”
The next statutory tax self-assessment would also be delayed until next January, he added.
Universal Credit ‘standard allowance’ - £323.22 a month for single people and £507.37 a month for couples - will be raised by £1,000 for the next 12 months, with working tax credits increased by the same amount.

Housing benefit will now be set at 30pc of market rent.
But he warned: "I cannot promise you that no-one will face hardship in the weeks ahead."
The welfare package comes alongside a new programme called the ‘Covid Job Retention Scheme’ which will see the government pay 80pc of retained workers’ wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.
Mr Sunak said the response will be ‘one of the most comprehensive in the world’.
He added: "To all those at home, right now anxious about the days ahead, I say you will not face this alone."

Friday, 20 March 2020

Coronavirus: South Africa Gold Circle Tightens Up

Gold Circle has announced further restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of the Coronavirus and to ensure that horse racing continues and provides the resources to all participants and families that depend upon the survival of the sport.

Barrier trials have been suspended at all Gold Circle racecourses with immediate effect.

Access to training centres will now be restricted to racing participants only and proper sanitation measures will be put in place at both Summerveld and Ashburton.

Access to the Durban View Restaurant and Short Head Bar is now limited to a maximum of 50 people in line with the new government regulations and no alcohol will be served on Sundays. On weekdays both venues will close at 6pm.
Press release by Gold Circle on 20 March 2020

Nigeria Shuts Key Airports

FG shuts PH, Enugu, Kano airports over coronavirus

The federal government has shut down three international airports in the country to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Musa Nuhu, director-general of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.
The three airports shut are; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; Akanu Ibiam International Airport, Enugu; and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
He said the three airports would be closed till further notice, effective Saturday, March 21.
However, he said the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos would still be open but no flight operations will be allowed from the 13 COVID-19 (Coronavirus) high-risk countries.
The development comes after the federal government ordered the closure of all tertiary institutions and unity schools across the country.
Nigerian authorities have taken measures to prevent the spread of the disease. There are currently 12 active coronavirus cases in the country.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Lagos confirms 12 cases of coronavirus

The Lagos Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, has confirmed four new cases of the coronavirus pandemic in Lagos which makes a total of 12 cases in the country.
The Health Commissioner confirmed the new case at a news briefing on Thursday.
This comes barely one day after the Federal Ministry of Health confirmed five new cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country.


Schools, colleges and nurseries in England are to join those in the rest of the UK in closing on Friday “until further notice” to try to curb the spread of coronavirus, the government has announced, with the only exception being made for children of key workers and for vulnerable children.

The announcement came simultaneously from Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, who was speaking in the Commons, and at a Downing Street press conference.

GCSE and A-level exams will also not now take place in May and June, but pupils will still get qualifications, Boris Johnson said, without giving details on how this would happen.


As part of precautionary measures to stop the spread of Coronavirus pandemic COVID-19, Lagos State Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu has ordered the closure of all public and private schools from Monday, 23rd March 2020.

Sanwo-Olu gave the directive, in a statement, released late Wednesday evening, through the state’s Commissioner for Education, Mrs Folashade Adefisayo.

The statement read: “The move becomes necessary to prevent our children and their teachers from getting more vulnerable to the pandemic.

“It is important for parents to ensure that their children practise ‘social distancing’ while at home, wash their hands regularly or use hand sanitizers and observe high standards of personal hygiene.

“Children should be encouraged to remain at home.

“The closure is not intended to create panic but to arrest the spread of the disease, which has become a global threat.

“The Incident Command Centre, headed by the Governor, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who is the Incident Commander, will continue to trace all contacts of the identified cases and encourage anyone who has information about suspected cases to report to the nearest hospital or call the emergency telephone numbers 08023169485, 08033565529, 08052817243 and 08023401214.”


Wednesday, 18 March 2020

UK Tribunal Confirms that Family life surpasses Financial Dependency

Family life: substance over form

Uddin v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 338 is an important case in which the outgoing Senior President of Tribunals provides the judges who serve in his Immigration and Asylum Chamber with very strong guidance on mixed credibility findings and the assessment of family life.

Placed in foster care in the UK

Mr Uddin is a citizen of Bangladesh who was abandoned in London in 2013, aged 13. He was placed with foster carers by the local authority. The Home Office refused him asylum but granted leave to remain on the basis of his age. 
He then applied to extend his leave on the basis of his family life with his foster carers and their family. The Home Office refused his application.
Mr Uddin’s appeal to the First-tier Tribunal was dismissed. He appealed again to the Upper Tribunal, arguing that the lower tribunal had defined “family life” too narrowly.
But the Upper Tribunal rejected the idea that Mr Uddin had a family life with his foster carers, stating that it is
almost too obvious to require mention that the Appellant’s foster carers were appointed by the local authority, who supervise and pay them. The connection is not a voluntary one, however successful it may be, but a commercial arrangement reached so that the local authority could discharge its statutory duties to the Appellant. The main financial support comes from the state, not the foster carers.
It also held that the original judge “was entitled to find that there was no emotional dependency, particularly as the Appellant had not been found to be credible”.

The Court of Appeal’s decision

The Senior President of Tribunals, Sir Ernest Ryder — soon to depart for academia — gave the lead judgment allowing Mr Uddin’s appeal.
He found that the Upper Tribunal had “elided the credibility issues… without an analysis of the evidence and also confined the analysis of family life in foster care to a narrow concept of financial dependency”. This was “regrettably wrong”.

Lucas Directions

The first reminder the Senior President provides to his judges concerns one of those legal principles best categorised as stating the bleeding obvious. It is known as a “Lucas Direction” (derived from R v Lucas [1981] QB 720).
Lucas Directions are relatively unknown in immigration litigation but common in the family and criminal arena. As the Senior President put it:
The classic formulation of the principle is said to be this: if a court concludes that a witness has lied about one matter, it does not follow that he has lied about everything… This is perhaps a useful opportunity to emphasise that the utility of the self-direction is of general application and not limited to family and criminal cases.
This is a really important reminder to judges in an area where we all regularly see blanket negative credibility findings – I don’t believe Bob’s account of how his dog died, so he must be lying about being imprisoned and tortured.
Hopefully, this reminder will help alleviate the worst examples of this practice.

What is “family life”?

The crux of this case, though, relates to what amounts to “family life”. The Senior President provides a useful run through of the key cases on this issue and the very neatly enunciates the principles:
  1. The test for the establishment of Article 8 family life in the Kugathas sense is one of effective, real or committed support. There is no requirement to prove exceptional dependency.
  2. The test for family life within the foster care context is no different to that of birth families: the court or tribunal looks to the substance of the relationship and no significant determinative weight is to be given to the formal commerciality of a foster arrangement. It is simply a factual question to be considered, if relevant, alongside all others.
  3. The continued existence of family life after the attainment of majority is also a relevant question of fact. No negative inference should be drawn from the mere fact of the attainment of majority, while continuing cohabitation after adulthood will be suggestive of ongoing real, effective or committed support which is the hallmark of a family life.
The nub of all of this is that it is substance over form that is crucial, and that the assessment of family life is a factual matter involving a detailed consideration of all relevant factors.

Appeal allowed and decision remitted

In Mr Uddin’s case, the fact that the foster carers were paid by the local authority did not detract from the fact that the foster family brought him up and cared for him as if he were a child of the family.
The Senior President stated that
It may be significant that through the support, protection and upbringing of his foster family, the Appellant has transformed from a destitute thirteen-year-old who spoke no English, to an accomplished young man engaged in his community and education.
The matter was remitted to the First-tier Tribunal for a fresh decision.