Covid-19 Daily Bulletin

20 October 2020

Key Announcements:
• Yesterday, there were 18,804 new cases of Covid and 80 deaths.
• The PM has given Greater Manchester until midday to agree on an economic support deal or he would introduce the Tier 3 restrictions unilaterally. Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said, “there are now more COVID-19 patients in Greater Manchester Hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined.”
• Jenrick has offered £22m extra funding to enforcement and support for vulnerable people in Greater Manchester. He said the Government was open to offer more funding proportionate to the approach taken in Liverpool and Lancashire.
• On the Today programme, Andy Burnham said that a deadline from the Government briefed to the media was a provocative move. He and the rest of the leaders of Greater Manchester would write to the government setting up a figure for the
additional support and asking for full flexibility to use that funding as they see fit to help the vulnerable, he told BBC. He has also disputed the government’ figures on hospitalisations.
• Rapid result coronavirus tests are to be trialled in hotspot areas starting this week. Downing Street says this will prevent transmission in hospitals, care homes, schools and universities.
• Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has set a target date of the 1 December to have in place a regime based on a single test provided by the private sector and at the cost of the passenger in order to halve the quarantine period for overseas arrivals to
the UK.
• UK airport coronavirus testing begins from today with the first passengers to be tested if flying from Heathrow to Hong Kong and Italy. Passengers would have to pay £80 for the test, which can be received within an hour.
• Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallace said that a coronavirus vaccine was “unlikely” to completely stop infections and the disease might never fully disappear. He added that vaccines usually take a decade to produce.

• The UK is pushing ahead with plans to be the first state to carry out “human challenge” studies where up to 90 health people will be deliberately exposed to Covid in order to test vaccines. Trials could begin in January, the BBC reports.
• Matt Hancock has been pictured in his ministerial car with no face mask on, Sky reports.
Regional /Devolved
• City Council leader Richard Leese has put forward a proposal which has cross party
support, which entails £14 m per month spent on shielding the most vulnerable in Greater Manchester, according to the Telegraph. A Hardship Fund to top up furlough payments was reportedly discussed, but Jenrick refused to back it.
• Mayor of Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, says he hasn’t been able to reach agreement with No 10, claiming that the government needs to offer additional support.
• Health Secretary Matt Hancock told MPs that further talk will be held over South and West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, the North East and Teesside going into Tier 3 restrictions.
• Wales will enter a two-week “firebreak” lockdown on Friday, with pubs, restaurants, hotels and non-essential shops asked to shut. Primary schools will reopen after the half-term break, but only Years 7 and 8 in secondary schools can return at that time
under new “firebreak” rules.
• In Northern Ireland, GCSE exams due to take place in early November have been postponed for almost two week s, due to the closure of schools for an extended mid-term break.
• Northern Ireland has paused flu vaccinations for people under the age of 65 until more stock is received, the Public Health Agency has said.
• Ireland has imposed a six-week lockdown, similar to the March to Ma y restrictions, but schools will stay open.
• Authorities in Lombardy, Italy have been given the green light to impose a curfew from 11pm to 5am, due to a surge in hospital admissions.
• Argentina becomes the fifth country to record 1m cases of coronavirus.
• The Commons Health and Social Care committee begins its inquiry into “workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care”, with its first oral session taking

place this morning.
• Former PM Gordon Brown has called for employers to be given a wage subsidy of £100 a week to hire workers under 25 to help prevent youth unemployment.
Unconfirmed reports
• The FT reports that businesses are being set up at record rate in the UK, as criminals are attempting to use lax incorporation rules to exploit the pandemic.