COVID-19 NEWS BULLETIN 14/05/2020
Daily Press Briefing Grant Shapps provided todays daily briefing. The Transport Secretary started his address by reminding all of the new Covid-19 alert system, as announced by Boris Johnson on Sunday evening. Mr Shapps reported that 126,064 tests for coronavirus were completed yesterday which is a 45% increase on the previous day. The target was 100,000 a day but this has only been reached intermittently. Boris Johnson has said that testing in the UK will go up to 200,000 a day by the end of this month.
Mr Shapps commented during today’s briefing that there has been an army of infrastructure workers across the country and that there has been accelerated maintenance on roads and rail projects during lockdown. Highways England have completed £200m worth of upgrades and Network Rail has completed £550m of work in the month of April. This was to ensure that Britain could ‘bounce back’ and a further £2bn is to be announced to upgrade roads and railways. And £250m for improvements to cycling and walking infrastructure has been pledged.
C19 Update from the last few days
Much in the news today regarding the antibody test developed by Roche, with Public Health England saying that the test was a very positive development. Until now officials had said that such tests were not reliable enough. The government had previously spent a reported £16m buying antibody tests which later proved to be ineffective. The BBC stated today that sources had informed them that the Roche test was the first to offer serious potential. Reportedly, this antibody test was shown to give the correct result 100% of the time if someone had been infected. If someone has not been infected, then the test gave the correct result more that 99.8% of the time. Health Minister Edward Argar said that the tests would mainly be used on those in the NHS and social care to begin with, but there is not a date for when testing would start.
As a result of this news, a spokesperson for Boris Johnson today said that this could lead to some sort of health certificate.
Further breaking news today was that Northern Ireland are taking their first steps to ease lockdown from next week. First Minister Arlene Foster has said that updated medical advice meant the approval to take tentative first steps.
Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said her ministers are not ruling out easing lockdown in some areas ahead of others.
New Bulletin – 14th May 2020
As this week saw some who are unable to work from home returning to the workplace, images of crowded public transport reappeared in the press. Today, Sadiq Khan has said that without a government grant by the end of the day Transport for London (TfL) will be forced to reduce its services. TfL’s bosses have warned it would declare itself bankrupt without emergency finance by the end of Thursday. An official spokesperson for the PM has said that negotiations on this were at an advanced stage.
Also, in the news today an estimate as to the cost of combating coronavirus. According to estimates from the government’s independent economics forecaster, the cost in the UK of the pandemic stands at £123.2bn currently. This now means an expected annual borrowing figure of 15.2% of the UK economy. Interestingly, borrowing was at 22.1% at the end of World War Two.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak yesterday warned of a significant recession as figures show the economy contracting at the fastest pace since the financial crisis. The economy shrank by 2% in the first three months of 2020. Economists are expecting a bigger slump in the current quarter.
With much talk this week of employers readying themselves for a return to the workplace, I wanted to share with you the following. It could be a way off for some and pending specific guidance from regulators, but this may provide some food for thought.
Making sure your workplace is COVID secure
All employers must undertake a "COVID-Safe" risk assessment of their working premises. The government has issued guidance document entitled, "Working safely during coronavirus (Covid-19)" which can be accessed by clicking this link http://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19.
Template risk assessment forms are available via this site.
Employers have a duty to protect the health and safety of their employees. This duty will be particularly important as employees start to return to work while COVID-19 remains in circulation.
Included in Monday’s bulletin, but in case you missed it, the plan for lifting lockdown has been published on gov.uk and can read here.
Daily update on the UK market
And for those with an interest in digital currencies, which are continuing to climb.
Summary of possible influences on the markets today
FTSE saw a fall today following a rough session in Asia.
Bond Yields continue to fall on speculation that the Federal Reserve may institute negative Interest Rates, despite this seeming unlikely.
The Bank of England has hinted that there are further asset purchases coming.
New stimulus has been announced by the Italian Government.
And Donald Trump in the news again today condemning China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak, threatening to end relationships with Beijing.
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 email email@example.com to arrange your appointment.
We are here to work through the current situation with you, so please do get in touch.