Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
2 November 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- In a statement today, it is expected that Boris Johnson will warn MPs that there is “no alternative” to his planned four-week lockdown that was announced on Saturday evening , and will require voting in on Wednesday. The Prime Minister is expected to give a statement to the House of Commons at approximately 3:30pm, if there are no Urgent Questions scheduled ahead of that time.
- The new measures in England are set to come into place on Thursday 05 November and include the closure of pubs, restaurants, non-essential shops, places of worship and gyms. Furthermore, individuals will only be allowed to socialise with one other person from outside their household or ‘bubble’, in public outdoor spaces.
- There will be a number of exceptions to the new rules, including that schools, colleges and universities will remain open, and that those who cannot work at home should still travel to their workplaces. Weddings and civil ceremonies will only be able to take place in exceptional circumstances. Funerals will still be able to go ahead, albeit attended by a maximum of 30 people.
- In light of the new measures, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended for a further month, meaning that employees will receive 80 percent of their current salary for hours worked. Business premises forced to close in England will also receive grants of up to £3,000. Local Authorities are being provided £1.1bn collectively to be distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for singular payments to support businesses.
- Mortgage holidays are also to be extended, with further details set to be announced today.
- In Scotland, the new five-level system of Covid restrictions go live today. Local Authorities have so far been graded between levels one to three; and a postcode-tracker has been launched to help the public know what regulations they are supposed to adhere to. Levels will be updated on a weekly basis, with decisions outlined in Parliament on Tuesdays, before coming into force on Fridays.
- The Welsh ‘firebreak’ is underway and set to run until 9 November. First Minister Mark Drakeford is expected to announce new “national Rules” for Wales at a conference at 12:15 today. Drakeford is reportedly unhappy that requests to the Treasury to extend the furlough scheme in Wales had initially been refused, until the English lockdown was announced on Saturday.
- Schools will be reopening in Northern Ireland today following on from their extended half-term breaks. Current restrictions in Northern Ireland will still end on November 13 , Arlene Foster has said. These restrictions maintain that people not sharing a household can meet in groups of up to 15 people outdoors; pubs and restaurants can remain open for takeaway services; and non-essential shops are allowed to remain open.
- The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus , is currently self-quarantining after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.
- On Sunday, Australia recorded no new daily coronavirus community cases for the first time in nearly five months.
- Stanford University has reported that over 30,000 incremental confirmed Covid cases can be linked to Trump rallies, which would have potentially led to an additional 700 deaths.
- Across Europe , second lockdowns have also been introduced. In France, people will only be able to leave their homes to buy essential goods, for medical reasons, and to exercise for one hour a day until 01 December. In Germany, a partial lockdown will begin today also lasting for one month. In Italy, new restrictions introduced on Monday 26 October are currently set to remain in place for a full month.
- The Labour Party has said that fixing the contact tracing system must now be the priority of Government, or else risk repeating the mistakes of the summer period.
- The SNP has said the Chancellor must go beyond extending the coronavirus support to prevent widening inequalities in the UK. They have called for measures including for the furlough scheme to be extended into 2021, and the uplift of £20 to Universal Credit payments be made permanent.
- Although some including the Children’s Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield, has said that schools should indeed remain open during the second lockdown in England, the response has not been unanimous . The National Education Union, for example, has said that leaving schools open will lead to further lockdowns down the line, because of their being an “engine for virus transmission.”