Covid-19 Daily Bulletin
29 June 2020
A series of daily updates for CHO members regarding relevant updates pertaining to Coronavirus from home and abroad.
- The prime minister will try to shift the focus from COVID-19 to restarting the economy in a speech on Tuesday. In an interview with The Mail on Sunday , Boris Johnson promised to spend tens of billions of pounds on building hospitals, schools, housing developments, broadband and “shovel-ready” road and rail infrastructures. In an apparent attempt to emphasise his fitness following his own battle with the virus, Johnson performed press ups for the visiting journalist.
- There was speculation over the weekend that Leicester could be the first city in the U.K. to go into a local lockdown, after cases surged to 658 in the fortnight to June 16. Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been studying the legislation required for the move, and could impose the lockdown before the middle of this week, a source close to him told The Sunday Times. Asked whether Leicester was going to see new restrictions imposed, Priti Patel told Andrew Marr “that is correct,” adding that “there will be support going into Leicester.”
- The increase in cases in the Leicester area is attributed to an outbreak in food production plants. Mobile testing units have been rushed into the city and Health Secretary Matt Hancock will hold a conference call with local leaders to discuss next steps.
- The U.K.’s contact tracing app could be rebranded as ‘PPE in your pocket,’ as it looks to win over a sceptical public after weeks of delay according to the FT . The was proposed during a staff meeting at NHSX last week. Other app features said to be under development include a ‘Geiger counter’-style map that would warn people about areas with a large number of infections; a countdown timer that helps people track the duration of an enforced period of self-isolation; and barcodes for buildings that would enable offices and restaurants to know if someone with the virus visited them.”
- Boris Johnson has promised to help England’s schools “bounce back” from the coronavirus pandemic with a £1bn investment package. The Prime Minister is pledging a ten-year rebuilding programme, with schools and colleges also handed funding from this year to refurbish buildings
- Shops with on-street access and some workplaces such as factories are reopening following an easing of Scotland’s lockdown. Small weddings and civil partnerships can now be held outdoors and zoos and safari parks will be able to reopen, but only to visitors who live nearby. The easing of restrictions is the first time many stores will have had customers since the Scottish government lockdown came into effect on 23 March. Playparks are also being reopened. Monday’s easing of the rules forms part of phase two of the Scottish government’s “route map” out of lockdown .
- No Covid-19 patients are receiving treatment in Northern Ireland intensive care units for the second day in a row. Saturday was the first time it dropped to this level since the Department of Health began publishing the figure at the start of April.
- Some pupils are starting to return to schools in Wales for the first time since March. It is hoped all pupils will be able to “check in, catch up and prepare” over the next three to four weeks ahead of the September term. With strict social distancing measures and limited numbers in at a time, classrooms will look very different. Schools have been open throughout the lockdown, but only for pupils classed as vulnerable and for children of key workers.
- Micheál Martin has been named Ireland’s prime minister in a government coalition between the two main parties. Under the terms of the coalition pact, Martin will lead Ireland’s incoming three-party government for its first two and a half years, before his predecessor and new deputy Leo Varadkar takes the reigns.
- Reports of the first batch of 15 countries for which the EU may reopen on July 1 after months of coronavirus restrictions, could be confirmed by EU countries today. Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and (potentially) China have been mooted.
- The Government must take drastic action to stave off a “second wave” of coronavirus-related job losses, a major think tank is warning . The Treasury has said it will end the Government’s job retention scheme, which has seen the state pay the wages of more than nine million workers during the crisis, in October. But, in a new report, the Resolution Foundation urges ministers to “flip the Job Retention into a Job Protection Scheme” and subsidise the pay of people working in sectors worst-affected by the crisis until at least the end of 2021. The think tank is warning that sectors such as hospitality, retail, leisure and tourism, will continue to be hit by social distancing rules for some time, leading to “significant job losses” in the “labour-intensive sectors”.