Daily Update 19/06/2020

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The total deaths as a result of Coronavirus now stand at 42,461, an increase of 173 as of today. 

In the daily briefing Gavin Williamson, the education Secretary, announced that the government will lower the alert level from 4 to 3 today. Level 3 means that the virus is in general circulation whereas level 4 means that transmission is high and rising. 

The Government has received criticism for seemingly downplaying the amount of Coronavirus deaths during the peak of the outbreak. According to ONS figures there were 22 days in which the total deaths were above 1,000 and near 1,500 deaths in one day. 

The UK Government’s debt exceeded the size of the economy in May for the first time in 50 years. 

Daily Update 16/06/2020

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The total death toll as a result of Coronavirus now stands at 41,969, an increase of 233 as of today. 

Progress has been made in the Government’s attempts to treat Coronavirus as dexamethasone, a corticosteroid medication, has been shown to be effective in treating Coronavirus. The drug has been shown to reduce the risk of death by 35% for patients that require ventilators.

The Government have made a U-turn on their decision to now extend the free school meals program to the summer. The government’s introduction of a £120 million vouchers scheme, entitling children eligible for free school meals to £15 worth of vouchers a week, comes after a campaign led by the the football player Marcus Rashford. 

Daily Update 15/06/2020

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Non-essential shops across the country reopened on today, increasing footfall by over 40%. 

Boris Johnson has announced a cross government commission to look into all aspects of racial inequality within the UK. The commission will look into inequality in “employment, in health outcomes, in academic and all other walks of life”, according to the Prime Minister. 

The total deaths as a result of Coronavirus in the UK now stands at 41,736, an increase of 38 as of today. 

Negotiations between the EU and the UK are still ongoing as the bloc’s negotiators have insisted that there will be no trade deal unless the UK accepts a level playing field with the EU. 

Daily Update 10/06/2020

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The total death toll as a result of Coronavirus now stands at 41,128, an increase of 245 as of today. 

The OECD has warned that the UK economy will shrink by 11.5% this year, making it the worst hit of all developed countries. The OECD also warned that the impact on the economy could be worsened if there is a second wave. 

In the daily Coronavirus briefing Boris Johnson introduced changes to the lockdown restrictions. From 15 June, people living alone and single parents will be able to form “bubbles” with another household, and some leisure centres and places of worship can reopen.

During Prime Minister’s Questions today Sir Keir Starmer attacked the Government for lacking a coherent plan for returning all children back to school.

Alok Sharmer confirmed the plans to reopen non-essential shops, including Zoos and safari parks, from Monday. This news comes as more than half of Boris Johnson’s cabinet pushing for the Government to the two-metre rule.  

Daily Update 05/06/2020

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The R value, which measures the rate at which one individual passes on Coronavirus to others, has risen to between 0.7 and 1.0. 

The total death toll as result of Coronavirus now stands at 40,261, an increase of 357 as of today. 

In the daily briefing the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, announced that all hospital visitors and outpatients will now be required to wear face masks. Face coverings are already mandatory on public transport. 

Hancock also advised the public to not attend the protests for George Floyd in London this weekend because of the possible of the risk of further spreading the virus. 

Daily Update 02/06/2020

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The total death toll as a result of Coronavirus is 39,369, an increase of 324 as of today. 

The Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority has criticised the Government for their presentation of data on testing. The Government has recently claimed that their capacity for testing exceeds 200,000 a day. However, Sir David Norgrove has objected to this presentation of the testing figures because it does not give any indication of how many people are tested.

Death rates from Coronavirus in England have been higher amongst Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, according to a government enquiry into the effects of Coronavirus on BAME people. People of Bangladeshi background face the greatest danger of dying from the disease, their risk of death is double that of white British people.

Daily Update 29/05/2020

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In the daily briefing the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced plans to wind down the Government’s furlough scheme. The plan set out by the Chancellor aims to gradually end the furlough scheme by November. 

In the June and July the scheme will continue and the tax payer contribution will stay at 80%. 

In August, employers will be asked to pay national insurance and employer pension contributions – around 5% of the total employee cost – whilst the tax payer contribution remains at 80%. 

In September, taxpayers will contribute 70% and employers be asked to pay 10% towards furloughing workers. 

Finally, in October the taxpayer contribution will go down to 60% and the employer contribution will increase to 20%. The scheme will then end in November. 

From July the flexible furlough scheme will be made available to employers.  This will allow employers to retain workers part time, paying them for time worked, whilst the rest of their wage is made up through the furlough scheme. The deadline for applicants to the flexible furlough scheme will be June 10th.

The Government’s self-employment income scheme will be extended in the same fashion that it was implemented in March. The self-employed will receive a single instalment of three months of average profits, the final grant making up 70% of their average earnings. 

Daily Update 27/05/2020

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Boris Johnson has announced that the Government’s new test and trace system will be launched in the UK tomorrow. 

In the daily briefing Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, announced that eligibility for testing will be expanded to include the under-fives. This means that everyone with Coronavirus symptom can now request a test. 

The Government’s new test and trace system, will, according to the Health Secretary, require people that have tested for Coronavirus symptoms to voluntary self-isolate. However, if people do not do so then these measures may become mandatory. 

From 9am tomorrow, if you are contacted by an NHS advisor asking you to isolate then you are required to do so. 

The steps for the trace and trace system are as follows: 

1) If you experience one or more of the symptoms of Coronavirus (a cough, a fever, or a loss of taste and smell) you must immediately self-isolate.

2) You should then book a test either by dialling 119 or using the Government’s Coronavirus website.  

3) NHS track and trace will then help you establish who you’ve been in contact with and who you might have been likely to infect. NHS track and trace will then contact those people on your behalf and you and the people you may have infected will then be asked to self-isolate for fourteen days.

Daily Update 22/05/2020

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The total death toll as a result of Coronavirus now stands at 36,042, an increase of as of today 368. 

Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, started the daily briefing by drawing attention to mental health awareness week. Hancock announced that the government have given £4.2 million to mental health charities like Samaritans and Young Minds. 

Hancock also went on to give information about the antibody tests being developed by researchers in the UK. These tests, the Health Secretary warned, do not tell us whether people are immune to the virus but instead only reveal whether people have developed antibodies which may help to fight off the virus in future. 

Daily Update 15/05/2020

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The rate of infection, the so-called R number, for Coronavirus is now between 0.7 and 1. The increase in the rate of infection has led some news outlets to question the government’s decision to loosen lockdown restrictions this week.

The total death toll as a result of Coronavirus now stands at 33,998 an increase of 384. 

In the daily briefing Matt Hancock, the health secretary, stated that all care home residents in England, with and without symptoms, are now being tested for Coronavirus. 

Negotiations between the UK and the EU on the future post-Brexit settlement have become deadlocked. According to an article in the Financial Times the chief stumbling block is whether the UK will maintain the same standards in areas such as labour and environmental law as the EU. EU officials have stated that the deal must be struck by October in order to be ratified in time.