Daily Press Briefing
Health Secretary Matt Hancock gave todays daily UK government briefing. Yesterday, Sunday, saw 85,186 coronavirus tests completed, below the 100,000 tests-a-day target.
The UK is now in a position to carry out a test, track and trace programme to identity those with symptoms and is going to be rolled out starting on the Isle of Wight. This will be done via an NHS app and all residents of the island will be asked to download the app and use the app to notify the NHS of symptoms. Mr Hancock said that the programme will allow the government to take a more targeted approach to the lockdown while containing the virus. Mr Hancock’s message to Isle of Wight residents was to, “stay at home, install the app, protect the NHS and save lives”. England’s deputy chief medical officer Jonathan Van Tam, when commenting on yesterday increase of 288 deaths, said today that it was now very clear that we were past the peak. Numbers in hospital are down also.
Other Covid news
This morning saw the opening of the application process for a Bounce-Back Loan.
Businesses have apparently raced to apply with Barclays seeing 200 applications in the first minute of the online process going live and Lloyds saw 5,000 applications in the first 3 hours. Barclays are aiming to have their first bounce-back loan awarded within 24 hours. I have been hearing that the application process was as easy as promised and much less complicated compared to the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Fifty banks have been accredited to provide loans and business owners looking to access a bounce back loan are urged to apply through the bank with which they hold their business bank account. The application contains questions on turnover, tax details and how Covid-19 has impacted the business. I have been told that many questions are simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ declarations.
The following link provides further information on this new loan scheme.
If you are unsure as to the suitability of the lending product, do get in contact. Whilst you maybe able to access lending at this time, its not to say that lending is the most appropriate solution for your business and of course this is not a grant, but is lending which will have to be repaid.
France, Italy and Spain have all registered the lowest daily death tolls for weeks, as they
prepare to ease lockdown restrictions. Russia’s mortality rate remains low compared to other countries, but the infection rate appears to be advancing with 100,000 new infections
Meanwhile, a French doctor has claimed new tests on samples from patients show the Covid was present in the country last year, weeks before the first officially recorded case.
A similar scenario was reported by a US doctor several weeks ago, showing that the actual first case was in the US weeks before what had been thought of as the first confirmed death from the virus. Such reports do beg the questions as to how long Covid has been with us and how many of us could have suffered with the virus earlier and unknowingly.
Reported today was that Europe is hosting a virtual conference for world leaders and philanthropists in an effort to raise £6.6bn to drive vaccine research. Boris Johnson is cohosting the event and is expected to ask countries to pull together. It is reported that there are more than 90 vaccine candidates being tested around the world.
In other news, the TUC has warned that draft guidance for getting people back to work during the pandemic could compromise worker safety. The group representing UK unions has said it can not back the advice in its current form. The plan urges employers to minimise numbers using equipment, stagger shift time and stagger arrival times and break times. The guidance is clear currently, that those who can work from home should continue to do so, which would suggest office workers will not be returning to work for many weeks.
Companies, business groups and unions were given until 10pm last night to respond to the proposals and the government will present updated plans on Thursday. The next threeweek mark for the government to assess the lockdown measures and react to scientific advice is due this week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to deliver an address to the nation on Sunday to unveil how Britain intends to unlock the UK economy and to instil confidence in the public that, once invited to leave their homes, they will be safe to do so.
Japanese and Chinese Stock Markets are closed today.
The Dollar continues to rise as investors adopt a more risk-averse attitude.
Credit Spreads also continue to widen, with investors demanding higher interest rates from companies, as a result of this risk aversion.
US unemployment data comes out this week, expected to be brutal as the effects of lockdown become visible. However, there will be a much lower overall income loss, due to stimulus packages.
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