Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
25 September 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced his latest package of job-saving measures, although the scheme is considerably less generous than the furlough package from earlier this year. To be eligible employees must work a minimum of 33 percent (1/3rd) of their hours. The Government and employer then pay 1/3 wages each – meaning workers get 2/3rds of their wages for working 33 percent of their hours. All employers will be allowed to apply, even if they did not use the furlough scheme. This will only apply to small and medium sized enterprises. Larger employers will only be covered if their turnover has gone down.
- Yesterday saw the launch of the long-awaited NHS contact tracing app in England and Wales. It has come under fire for only working on phone which have the IOS 13.5 operating system installed (released in May 2020), or Android 6.0 (released in 2015), as well as Bluetooth 4.0 or higher. This excludes the iPhone 6 or any earlier models, as well as old versions of Apple’s handsets (and some newer Huawei phones).
- Students in Scotland have effectively been forced to stay in their accommodation, after being told not to go to pubs, parties or restaurants this weekend in a bid to stem a spate of coronavirus outbreaks. Students have also been warned that any breaches of the new rules “will not be tolerated”, with some holding the threat of expulsion. However, they have been criticised by the National Union of Students Scotland as “unjustified” and “deeply concerning”.
- Cardiff is facing a local lockdown as coronavirus cases rise “rapidly”. Cardiff council leader Huw Thomas has warned of potential restrictions on travel and different households mixing. He told a virtual meeting of the authority that over the past seven days, the area has seen 38.2 cases per 100,000 people. Mr Thomas said the city was on the verge of entering the Welsh Government’s “red zone”. He said if that was to happen “then I fully expect that we will be implementing further restrictions as we have seen elsewhere” in south Wales.
- The Manchester Evening News is reporting the possibility that Stockport and Wigan are about to be sent back into harsher local restrictions after a surge in cases. Ministers are expected to brief local MPs this morning.
- The DUP MP Sammy Wilson has been told to “wise up and “wear a mask” by his former DUP colleague in the Northern Ireland Assembly, Jimmy Spratt. Mr Wilson admitted he was not wearing a face covering when he should have been. The photo of Mr Wilson using public transport without a face covering appeared on social media on Thursday morning.
- Russia has agreed to supply up to 35 million doses of its experimental Covid-19 vaccine to Uzbekistan. The deal with pharmaceutical company Laxisam is one of several agreed by the Russian Direct Investment Fund in recent weeks to supply the vaccine, which is currently being tested in a large-scale trial in Moscow. It has also made supply deals with Kazakhstan, India, Mexico and two Brazilian states.
- European governments will pay claims above an agreed limit against AstraZeneca over side-effects from its potential Covid-19 vaccine, under different terms to a deal struck with Sanofi, an EU official has told Reuters. The deals reflect different strategies by two of the world’s top drug makers for protecting themselves as a debate rages about liabilities for vaccines aimed at ending the pandemic. AstraZeneca has secured the European Union’s backing in a confidential agreement which reflects the lower price sought by the British drug maker, the official said.
- Brazil cancelled its carnival parade, which usually takes place in February, for the first time in 100 years. Rio’s League of Samba Schools, LIESA, announced that the spread of the coronavirus had made it impossible to safely hold the traditional event.
- In an interview last night with Politico, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds picked up on the charge (from the Resolution Foundation) that the new jobs support scheme could make it cheaper for one worker to remain on full time than for two workers to move to part time — and therefore do less for redundancies than hoped. “It’s really important that it delivers enough of an incentive for employers to keep workers on, rather than just keeping on some workers and then have the others facing redundancy,” she said. “I’m concerned the design as it stands may not actually deliver that result for as long as it needs to.