Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
- Boris Johnson declared a national emergency as he addressed the nation last night as he imposed a lockdown for at least three weeks. Johnson was blunt, stating that “without a huge national effort to halt the growth of this virus, there will come a moment when no health service in the world could possibly cope; because there won’t be enough ventilators, enough intensive care beds, enough doctors and nurses. “
- He told the nation that people could only leave home in the following circumstances:
- Shopping for necessities
- Partaking in one form of exercise a day
- For medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
- Travelling to and from work, only where this is absolutely necessary
- Johnson added that to ensure compliance with instructions to stay at home the Government would immediately:
- Close all shops selling non-essential goods, including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship
- Stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with
- Stop all social events, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals
- Johnson said the police would have the power to issue fines and to disperse gatherings if people do not adhere to the latest guidance.
- One the measures announced, the Prime Minister told the nation that “We will look again in three weeks, and relax them if the evidence shows we are able to.”
- Johnson thanked everyone who has been helping fight the virus whether that be doctors or nurses on the frontline or workers stacking supermarket shelves.
- The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government published guidance on further businesses and premises that would close following the Prime Ministers announcement. The list of businesses that must close include a range of retail outlets including clothing and electronic stores, libraries and places of worship.
- As of 1pm on 23 March 2020, 335 patients in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) have died. 6,650 have so far tested positive for coronavirus in the UK.
- Speaker of the House of Commons Lindsay Hoyle gave a statement yesterday afternoon to the House of Commons on new social distancing measures in parliament to help in tackling coronavirus. This includes the possibility of video conferences during the Easter recess. There have been further calls to bring Parliament into recess early. This would mean MPs not sitting again until the 21st April.
- Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday urged all British travellers to return to the UK as soon as possible. This comes after the Foreign Office recently advised that all but essential travel outside the UK to be stopped for an initial 30 days.
- Downing Street stated yesterday that if Boris Johnson was to become unwell then Foreign Secretary and First Secretary of State Dominic Raab would take over as acting Prime Minister.
- Domestic Violence Commissioner Nicole Jacobs spoke on Today’s programme about people in self isolation with abusive partners and fearful for their children. She reminded people that helplines and refuges are still open. A lot of the support have now shifted to telephone and online chats, she said and urged the Government to do more to help people in these situations.
- The Bill passed through the Commons without a vote yesterday and will now proceed to the Lords. The updated Bill can be viewed here: https://bit.ly/2WFosfe
- Shadow Housing Secretary John Healey responded to the Government amendment on renters , stating that ” With this legislation, Boris Johnson has broken his promise to the country’s 20 million renters. This is not an evictions ban, as Labour argued for, and renters were eventually promised by Boris Johnson. This legislation does not stop people losing their homes as a result of coronavirus, it just gives them some extra time to pack their bags. “
- The Times have reported that Italy may have hit the peak of its coronavirus outbreak after two weeks of lockdown as its death toll dropped for the second day in a row.
- The BBC reported that The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the coronavirus disease pandemic is “accelerating”, with more than 300,000 cases now confirmed.
- CNN reported that US coronavirus death toll grew by more than 100 on Monday as governors instituted even more rules .
- Sky reported that Germany’s coronavirus infection curve could have now flattened, according to the country’s public health chief, as cases elsewhere across Europe and the US continue to surge.
- Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn said that the Prime Minister is right to call for people to stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives. He added that there needs to be clear guidance given to employers and workers about which workplaces should close. He called on the Government to close loopholes to give security to all workers including the self-employed, renters and mortgage holders.
- The National Chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales John Apter said “We are in unprecedented and uncertain times, with government advice frequently changing as COVID-19 affects more people. Saving lives and protecting the public is the number one priority for us all; and at his time of national crisis it is essential that we all come together and play our part in doing so. The practicalities of policing this lockdown will be challenging, but policing will do all it can to keep the public safe, but we need the public to support us. I ask that the public heed the advice and stay at home unless absolutely necessary. This will allow police officers to concentrate on keeping the streets safe and deal with all the regular calls we receive. This is about saving lives and supporting our NHS, I ask that the public gives us their support in this time of crisis. “
- GMB has urged the Government to extend 0 per cent wage protections to UK’s 5m self – employed workers. In a submission to the treasury yesterday, the union outlined a series of steps Ministers must take to “ensure self-employed workers are not forced into poverty, or in trying to avoid financial hardship continue to work through symptoms”.
- Unite the Union boss Len McCluskey , following the Prime Ministers announcement has said “the Prime Minister’s statement illustrates the gravity of the situation. This is a national health emergency and every resource, business and community in the country must be laser-focused, pulling together to do what needs to be done to protect public health.
The message to employers is clear: be responsible, help workers be part and parcel of the essential efforts to support the nation. Keep workers and their families safe. That means turn to the government’s job retention scheme to pay wages to keep households afloat. Please, do not sack workers – use the mechanisms that we have persuaded this government to bring in to avert mass hardship. “
- On the Prime Minister ‘ s announcements National Union of Students National President, Zamzam Ibrahim, commented ” the announcement by the Prime Minister demonstrates just how serious the situation with coronavirus (COVID-19) has become. As individual mobility is becoming stringently restricted, for an unknown period of time, everyone needs clarity and assurances on issues causing them heightened anxiety. Students need to be confident that they will have the right to remain in their accommodation without unnecessary costs, the right to stay in the UK, and the staff they see every day will be safe. While the wider public has been given answers to many of their questions, the government and authorities must now ensure students receive the support they need to endure this pandemic. The government must ban all evictions, for all renters, for the duration of the crisis and ensure that renters who are financially impacted by the coronavirus have their forthcoming rents subsidised, significantly reduced or waived entirely for 3 months. They should also ensure that all student landlords offer a no-penalty release from tenancy contracts for the current and next academic year, so that students are not financially impacted where they are forced to leave campus. “
- Following the Prime Ministers announcement the Recruitment and Employment Confederation Chief Executive, Neil Carberry said ” this evening’s announcement by the Prime Minister reinforces the need for businesses and workers to access government support measures as quickly as possible. With the economy and jobs market in lockdown, all employers can do is stand by their staff as far as possible and reap the benefits during the post-crisis comeback. On a practical note, this latest development makes it an absolute pre-requisite to enable online Right to Work checks as a pragmatic alternative to face to face checks. Right to Work checks currently apply to all workers subject to immigration law. We expect government to make this change in light of the lockdown measures.”