Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
Key Government Announcements
- Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, unveiled the Government’s package of support for self-employed workers would be available from June
- Gov’t will pay self-employed people adversely affected by Covid-19, a taxable grant worth 80% of their average monthly profits over the last 3 years, up to £2,500 a month.
- The scheme will be open to people across the UK for at least 3 months, with the possibility of extension.
- Steps taken to ensure the scheme is deliverable and fair include:
o The scheme is only open to anyone of trading profits of up to £50,000.
o It is also only open to those who gain the majority of their income from self-employment.
o To minimise fraud, only those who are already in self-employment, who have a tax return for 2019 can apply.
- HMRC will contact those eligible directly, who will have to fill in a simple form online and the grant will be transferred directly.
- Anyone who missed the filing deadline in January will be given 4 weeks from today to fill in their tax return.
- For those who need support now, self-employed people can access the business interruption loans, self-assessment income tax payments due in July can be deferred to January 2021, and self-employed people can now access Universal Credit.
- The Home Office announced new powers for police to enforce lockdown measures. Officers can issue fixed penalty notices of up to £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence.
- The Government have said that a communications mix-up meant it missed the deadline to join an EU scheme to get extra ventilators for the coronavirus crisis.
- House buyers have been urged by the Government to delay moving home during the coronavirus crisis – “If moving is unavoidable for contractual reasons, people must follow advice on social distancing to minimise the spread of the virus.”
- Speaking after a virtual summit of G20 leaders, Johnson said that a race to find a vaccine for coronavirus will be boosted by £210m of new British aid funding.
- G20 Leaders released a joint statement on COVID-19.
- The first rescue flight for British travellers stranded abroad landed in Heathrow with 171 passengers including up to 20 vulnerable EU citizens.
- The Liberal Democrats have postponed their leadership election until May 2021, with Sir Ed Davey remaining as acting leader for another 14 months.
- The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020 Statutory Instrument was laid yesterday. The S.I. exercises the powers to close premises and businesses, restrict movements and gatherings, enforce restrictions, implement offences and penalties, issue fixed penalty notices and prosecutions. These regulations will expire in six months.
- The number of Americans filing for unemployment surged to a record high of almost 3.3m as a result of the US economy going into lockdown due to the pandemic.
- The number of U.S. coronavirus infections climbed above 82,000 on Thursday, surpassing the national tallies of China and Italy.
- In Spain, the rate of deaths caused by coronavirus has slowed for the first time in a week. The Spanish Parliament has extended the country’s lockdown to 11 April.
- Russia announced on Thursday it would close all restaurants, bars, parks and non-essential shops, as the number of confirmed cases there rose to 840. Three people have died, according to official data.
- Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases,
- France has begun using a special high-speed train to evacuate coronavirus patients from Alsace to try to relieve pressure on overwhelmed hospitals. About 20 patients were transported from Strasbourg to hospitals in the Pays-de-la-Loire and other regions.
- A group of Britons stranded in Peru will miss rescue flights put on by the Foreign Office after two travellers at the hostel they are staying in tested positive for coronavirus. They have been told they could be quarantined for up to three months and will now be confined to their rooms for 23 hours a day.
- Sky News are reporting that the Government has written to all local authorities in England asking them to house all people sleeping rough, those in hostels and night shelters by the weekend in a bid to protect people during the covid-19 outbreak.