Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- Environment Secretary George Eustice announced at the Downing Street press conference yesterday that there have been 2,772,552 tests overall, with 89,784 on Monday. 248,818 have tested positive, a daily increase of 2412. 35,341 have died, a daily increase of 545.
- Eustice used the press conference to urge furloughed workers to apply for agriculture jobs, as the U.K. faces a big shortage of fruit and veg pickers this season. “This year we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home.”
- The Labour Party has cancelled its annual conference due to the coronavirus and will instead hold a series of online events. The conference was due to be held in Liverpool between September 19 and 23.
- Plans to introduce coronavirus tracing have been hit by fresh uncertainty as it emerged that a mobile tracking app will not be ready until June. Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said last week that the app would be “rolling out in mid May” across England, but on Tuesday ministerial sources for the Guardian tried to downplay a system considered critical to control the disease as the country emerges from lockdown. NHS insiders said the deployment of the tracking app currently being trialled on the Isle of Wight would not take place until next month as developers iron out problems. “This is a complicated thing to do and get right,” one source said.
- The impact of coronavirus on Scotland’s care homes has been an “unmitigated disaster” and marks the “single biggest failing of devolution”, a report from the Common Wealth think tank warns. The report comes amid mounting criticism of the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon suggesting yesterday that an independent inquiry may have to take place into mistakes that were made in dealing with an outbreak at a Nike conference in Edinburgh in February.
- Hospitality, tourism, leisure and childcare businesses in Northern Ireland will not have to pay rates this year, Finance Minister Conor Murphy has announced . Most retailers, aside from larger supermarkets and off licences, will also be exempt for the whole year. Businesses in other sectors will have their current three month exemption extended by another month.
- Wales’ health minister Vaughan Gething is considering whether people should be able to meet loved ones who are not already in their household outdoors. The next review of the Welsh Government’s lockdown rules is due next week, on 28 May. It comes as new advice said the virus is “very likely to decay very quickly” when exposed to sunlight. Gething said ministers were having a “very real debate”.
- US President Donald Trump has said that he sees the large number of US cases as a “badge of honour”. “You know when you say that we lead in cases, that’s because we have more testing than anybody else,” he said. “It’s a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done.”. The US has by far the highest number of cases in the world, at more than 1.5 million with nearly 92,000 deaths.
- Brazil overtook the UK on Monday to become the country with the third-highest number of confirmed infections. It has reported a total of 271,628 confirmed cases after a record rise of 17,408 on Tuesday. President Jair Bolsonaro has been criticised for his handling of the outbreak, which has included opposition to restrictions on movement he sees as too damaging to the economy.
- UN secretary general Antonio Guterres praised countries in Africa for stemming the spread of the virus through “very brave prevention measures”, saying the developed world could learn lessons from it. There have been fewer than 3,000 Covid-19 deaths from 88,000 cases of the disease registered throughout the continent, relatively low numbers compared with more than 320,000 deaths worldwide.
- New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern urged employers to consider flexible working options, including a four-day week , as part of efforts to rebuild the economy after the pandemic.
- Dame Angela McLean, the deputy chief scientific adviser, said last night that changes to lockdown would require an effective system for tracing and isolating new cases to be in place. She said changes should be based on “observed levels of infection . . . and not on a fixed date”.
- John Edmunds, another member of the Scientific Advisory Group on Emergencies (Sage), told Sky News earlier that a “well-functioning track and trace” system needed to be “embedded and working well” before schools could reopen.
- The University of Cambridge has become the first in the country to announce that all lectures will be online-only for the next academic year. Though there will be no face-to-face lectures, it may be possible to host smaller teaching groups for tutorials and other classes.
- Thousands of people with cancer could die early because hospitals were forced to suspend surgery while the NHS battles coronavirus, a report by the Institute of Cancer Research warns today. The pandemic will have “a terrible indirect impact on the lives of cancer patients” for months to come, the ICR said.
- The FT are reporting that the “air-bridge” proposals floated yesterday will not come to fruition – and that British people will instead be encouraged to holiday in the UK.