UK exempts care staff from migrant health tax May 22, 2020 0 1281 12345 AFPLONDONThe British government on Thursday announced that foreign care workers would be exempt from a charge imposed on migrants to fund the health service, after an outcry sparked by the coronavirus outbreak.Prime Minister Boris Johnson had defended the immigration health surcharge as recently as Wednesday, saying it raised much-needed funds for the state-run National Health Service (NHS).But Keir Starmer, the main opposition Labour leader, condemned the levy at a time when so many foreign NHS and social care workers are on the frontline of the COVID-19 response.He quoted a letter from the Doctors’ Association, an industry body, saying the tax was “a gross insult to all”.A spokesman for Johnson’s Downing Street office said all NHS and care staff, including porters and cleaners, will now be exempt. “The purpose of the NHS surcharge is to benefit the NHS, help to care for the sick and save lives,” he said.“NHS and care workers from abroad who are granted visas are doing this already by the fantastic contribution which they make.” Starmer said the decision was “a victory for common decency and the right thing to do”.Noting that it came just hours before the weekly tribute to frontline staff, he added: “We cannot clap our carers one day and then charge them to use our NHS the next.” The decision is the second change of policy towards foreign workers in 24 hours. RELATED ARTICLES Global coronavirus cases surpass 5 mn with death toll now topping 328,000 May 22, 2020 0 744 Japanese PM ends COVID-19 state of emergency in three more prefectures May 22, 2020 0 752 Ex-Trump lawyer Cohen released from jail due to coronavirus outbreak May 22, 2020 0 1844 Senate approves Trump political ally as US intelligence czar AFP Washington The US Senate confirmed John Ratcliffe as director of national intelligence on Thursday, placing a close political ally of President Donald Trump in charge of a massive US spy community that Trump brands a .. Peru passes 100,000 COVID-19 cases, 3,000 dead LIMA: Peru has become the second Latin American country after Brazil to reach 100,000 coronavirus cases, according to health ministry figures out on Wednesday. The number of dead from COVID-19 has also passed 3,000, .. US leaving Open Skies arms treaty a ‘blow’ to European security: Russia AFP MOSCOW Washington’s departure from the Open Skies arms control treaty would be a blow to European security, a Russian deputy foreign minister said on Thursday, after President Donald Trump announced the US will .. Bolivian health minister held for suspected corruption LA PAZ: Bolivia’s health minister was arrested on suspicion of corruption related to the over-priced purchase of ventilators to fight COVID-19, then fired by interim President Jeanine Anez, officials said on .. Italian woman wins $1.1 million Picasso in charity draw PARIS: An Italian woman has won a Picasso painting worth more than $1 million in a charity raffle to raise money for village water projects in Africa. The winner of Wednesday’s draw at Christie’s auction house in Paris was .. China parliament eyes HK national security law after unrest AFP Beijing China’s parliament said on Thursday it will introduce a proposal for a national security law in Hong Kong at its annual session, in a move likely to stoke unrest in the financial hub. Beijing has made clear it .. China warns of ‘countermeasures’ over US virus sanctions threat BEIJING will retaliate if the US Congress passes legislation seeking sanctions against China over the coronavirus pandemic, the spokesman for the country’s parliament said on Thursday. Tensions between the global .. Newborn in Japan gets world’s first liver stem cells transplant AFP Tokyo Doctors in Japan have successfully transplanted liver cells derived from embryonic stem cells into a newborn baby, in a world first that could provide new treatment options for infants. The newborn was .. Britain buys over 10 million antibody tests for healthcare workers, patients LONDON: Britain on Thursday announced it had signed deals to buy more than 10 million coronavirus antibody tests from pharmaceutical firms Roche and Abbott for distribution to frontline healthcare workers. “From next .. Guatemala blasts Trump over virus-infected migrant deportations GUATEMALA CITY: Guatemala blasted US President Donald Trump on Thursday over US deportations of migrants infected with coronavirus. President Alejandro Giammattei said the deportations had saturated quarantine .. US family turns in $1 mn found on street WASHINGTON: A sheriff’s department in the US state of Virginia praised a family who turned in two large mail bags they found in the middle of the road -- filled with nearly $1 million in cash. At first, Emily Schantz’ family ..