Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Residents on the Isle of Wight will begin to trial the “test, track and trace” app from today. It will first be used by health professionals, and then by all islanders by Thursday. The Government hope it will slow the spread of covid 19 and will be able to be rolled across the rest of the country in the coming weeks.
- However, there are concerns regarding the privacy and data implications of the app, with a number of human rights lawyers warning against the chosen centralised data-harvesting system chosen by NHSX.
- Health Secretary, Matt Hancock said that the lockdown has prevented the NHS from being overwhelmed, telling the press conference yesterday that there were 3413 spare critical care beds. However, he also confirmed that 190,584 people had tested positive, an increase of 3985, and that 28,734 people had died, an increase of 288.
- Chief Scientific Adviser Patrick Vallance and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England Jenny Harries will appear in front of the Health and Social Care Committee at 9:30am this morning. They will face questions from MPs on testing, lockdown easing and the Government’s strategy throughout this crisis.
- The Official for National Statistics will publish its weekly “excess deaths” data at 9:30am this morning. Last week the data showed that 22,351 people had died in the week ending 17 th April, the highest of any single week since records began.
- Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is calling for a ” national consensus ” on tackling covid 19 when the UK begins to move out of lockdown. He is calling for more ambitious testing targets and new safety standards for workplaces. Starmer is due to “meet” with the Prime Minister, along with other opposition leaders, later this week.
- Almost a quarter of the workforce is now receiving its wages via the job retention scheme. The total of claims now stands at 6.3 million – 23 percent of the employed workforce. Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the level of expenditure associated with the scheme was “not sustainable”, but said he was working out the “most effective way to wind down the scheme” to avoid a cliff edge.
- The Department of Work and Pensions stated yesterday that they had received 1.8 million claims for Universal Credit.
- Channel 4 News revealed last night that 96 percent of head teachers and school business leaders, surveyed in a snap poll, think the free-school meal scheme is “not working properly.” The report highlighted issues with the systems freezing or crashing, with many headteachers being forced to rely on foodbanks to provide children with food, or often buying it out of personal funds.
- John Hopkins University has said the global death toll from Covid 19 now stands above 250,000.
- New Zealand has confirmed no new Covid 19 cases for a second day in a row. The government have said that border will remain closed, but that travel measurements between NZ and Australia are being looked at.
- The US has said they will need to borrow $3tn (£2.4tn) between April – June. This is more than five times the previous quarterly amount. Total US government debt is now near $25tn.
- Over 40 countries and donors have pledged over £6.5bn to help develop a coronavirus vaccine and fund research in an online summit hosted by the EU yesterday.
- The TUC have said immediate action needs to be taken to ensure safe working and secure public support for a widespread return to work. They have called on the Government to provide a more detailed overview of the processes required to ensure that comprehensive risk assessments and safe working practices are put in place over the period ahead.
- Baby charity Tommy’s have said Covid 19 confusion is putting pregnant women at risk. It states they saw a 71 percent rise in demand for expert advice from midwives on its Pregnancy Line last month, as coronavirus left expectant and new parents struggling to get the information and support, they need.
- Bond UK have welcomed the announcement that DFID will fund NGOs in advance and provide cash flow support for existing funding agreements but have said this should be made the default position until the crisis passes.
- The Russell Group said that the big remaining challenge for the education sector was the need to address the financial sustainability of research. It stated that universities face significant shortfalls in international students and other sources of income that are needed to undertake vital work that otherwise goes under-funded.
- There are reports that Iranian airliner Mahan Air defied flight restrictions and helped spread Covid 19 across the middle east by flying infected passengers from China. The airliner, thought to be under direct control of the Revolutionary Guard, has declined to comment.