Today’s coronavirus daily press briefing was delivered once again by Matt Hancock, England’s Health Secretary. Mr Hancock announced that there will be two more Nightingale Hospitals. One will be in Bristol, with the capacity of up to 1,000 beds and one in Harrogate, with 500 beds. It has been agreed to deliver more PPE, over five million items and Mr Hancock confirmed that 7,000 NHS staff have now been tested for the virus. Mr Hancock ended his address by reminding the public that the social distancing measures which are in place are not a request, but an instruction.
This week we only saw Boris Johnson come out of isolation to clap for key workers on Thursday evening as he is reportedly still suffering minor symptoms of the virus and Matt Hancock returned from isolation, stating that the effects of coronavirus had been very unpleasant. The Queen will be giving a televised address to the nation on Sunday due to be broadcast at 8pm. Although the Queen regularly speaks to the nation in her Christmas Day messages, this speech about the coronavirus marks just the fourth time in history she has given an off-calendar address about current affairs. The Nightingale temporary hospital in east London will be ready to be opened, albeit remotely, by Prince Charles over the weekend. With warmer weather forecast for the weekend, it will be interesting to see if the public heed the advice of the Government and stay at home or if similar pictures will again be in the press of people taking in the better weather, particularly with Easter approaching.
Matt Hancock has warned that it is “perfectly possible” that the peak of COVID-19 for the UK could occur around Easter Sunday, 12th April. It has been reported that there could be 1,000 deaths every 24 hours until the coronavirus peak is reached. Worldwide coronavirus cases now top one million.
The UK government is facing criticism in its approach for combatting the virus. The question if the delay in locking down the country was a mistake is yet to be seen. But the heaviest criticism relates to the lack of PPE available, and in some cases its questionable quality, and the number of tests being completed. With Germany testing three times as many people as the UK per DAY. Although the government is now confident, according to Matt Hancock’s briefing yesterday, that testing can be increased to 100,000 a day before the end of the month. This increase is possible apparently due to the ability to use labs within universities, research institutes and private sector facilities from this week. BBC news this afternoon commented that the UK is trying to get ahead of the curve on antibody testing by ordering 3.5 mission doses in advance. And talk in the press of providing those who have tested positive a ‘COVID certificate’ to show that they have been exposed to the disease. It was mentioned that this could be in the form of wristband to confirm a positive test and recovery.
For those parents among us, the BBC will be offering daily programmes to help parent and children with schoolwork during lockdown. Starting on 20th April the massive educational effort by the BBC will be launched which will feature videos, quizzes, podcasts and articles with the BBC saying the initiative will include 14 weeks of core subject learning for all children.
Today, even Premier League footballers are not immune to the hit to income as clubs have been asked to discuss a potential 30% wage drop with players.
Meanwhile in the markets..
Love him or loathe him, we are now familiar with how one of Donald Trumps tweets can move markets.
Astonishingly, following the above comment being released, the price of oil saw an increase of 3% at one point!!
It is reported that UK and EU Unemployment is not expected to rise as sharply as in the US, due to the Employee Retention schemes offering aid to businesses and stronger employee protections increasing job security.
UK markets closed slightly down at the end of the day. The final few days of this week has seen less volatility then the previous weeks but we will continue to monitor daily.
As new information is coming to light the below links are updated swiftly should you need a quick reference guide.
Essential Links for assistance via Gov.uk
Self-Employment & Universal Credit
Employment & Support Allowance
Covid-19 Small Business Government Grant https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-get-the- government-3000-coronavirus-grant-2549866/
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan https://smallbusiness.co.uk/how-do-i-apply-for-a-coronavirus-business-interruption-loan- 2549863/
Citizen’s Advice https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/if-youre-struggling- with-living-costs/
The COVID-19 situation is fast moving and although we endeavour to bring you the latest information, the details enclosed are correct as far as we are aware, at the time of issue.
Should you have any concerns or questions, we are here for our clients and will happily arrange a telephone or video call appointment to provide guidance, please either call our practice mobile 07543 368 478 or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange your appointment.
We are here to help you through these challenging times, so please don’t be afraid to get in touch.