Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
25 November 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- At 12.30 today, immediately following Prime Minister’s Questions, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will unveil a £4.3bn package aimed at creating hundreds of thousands of jobs to stave off a sharp rise in unemployment as a result of the pandemic. The Chancellor’s one-year spending review looks set to focus on supporting the country through the Covid crisis, deferring most of the difficult decisions on cuts and tax rises for now.
- The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts are published alongside the spending review and are likely to make grim reading. A large spike in unemployment, a major reduction in GDP and a huge hole in the public finances are all forecast to last until the next election.
- Elsewhere, the National Audit Office has published a critical report into the government’s handling of PPE early in the pandemic. Between February and July 2020, the government spent £12.5bn on 32bn items of PPE, of which “only 2.6 billion items were delivered to front-line organisations,” the report says.
- Following discussions with between all four UK Government’s yesterday, joint plans were confirmed for an easing of Covid restrictions over Christmas. A full joint statement was released, confirming that the rules will allow the creation of a three-household bubble, able to meet in private homes, outside and in places of worship.
- An agreement to relax Covid rules over Christmas is not “an instruction to meet with other people”, Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford has said. Drakeford said he believed people would be unwilling to stick to “strict rules” over the Christmas period. It comes as Welsh ministers consider whether more restrictions will be needed in the run up to Christmas, as cases rise among the under-25s.
- President Emmanuel Macron last night unveiled his three-stage plan for easing France’s lockdown ahead of Christmas, promising the “peak of the second wave of the epidemic has passed.”
- Having once had the highest Covid-19 rate in south-east Asia, Singapore has all but eradicated the virus after reporting 14 days without any new local cases on Tuesday. Singapore’s government said it had snuffed out the last cluster of infection at a worker dormitory.
- The Mirror’s Pippa Crerar is reporting that two government sources were telling her it’s “possible” all regions in England could be put in Tiers 2 and 3 when the announcement is made on Thursday. Similarly the Mail’s Jason Groves was hearing this is “likely,” meaning no one gets to enjoy the relative freedoms of Tier 1. Ministers get the latest Office for National Statistics data with which they’ll be making their decisions today, so more intel may well leak out this evening ahead of tomorrow’s announcement.