Daily Covid-19 Brief: Bank holiday update, May 23-24
Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Adviser to the PM, has come under fire for traveling 250 miles to his parents whilst exhibiting coronavirus symptoms
- Cummings travelled 250 miles from London to Durham when he had Covid-19 symptoms. He and his wife, who was also unwell, stayed at his parents’ home while self-isolating.
- A source close to Mr Cummings denied a breach of the coronavirus rules, saying the couple needed childcare help and had stayed in a separate building at the property.
- Opposition MPs have been calling for Mr Cummings to resign if he is found to have breached lockdown guidance.
- The Prime Minister’s office has issued a statement saying Dominic Cummings did not break any rules when he travelled to his family home even though he was suffering with the virus.
- The full statement reads: “Owing to his wife being infected with suspected coronavirus and the high likelihood that he would himself become unwell, it was essential for Dominic Cummings to ensure his young child could be properly cared for. His sister and nieces had volunteered to help so he went to a house near to but separate from his extended family in case their help was needed. His sister shopped for the family and left everything outside. At no stage was he or his family spoken to by the police about this matter, as is being reported. His actions were in line with coronavirus guidelines. Mr Cummings believes he behaved reasonably and legally.”
- Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, has stated that he held “extensive face-to-face conversations with Dominic Cummings” and that he is satisfied that his adviser acted “responsible and legally.”
The Home Office have released further details about the UK’s quarantine rules
- From the 8th of June, all people arriving in the UK (unless qualifying for an exemption) must self-isolate for 14 days.
- Passengers arriving in the UK will be required to fill out an online locator contact form – providing details of where they will spend their 14 days in self-isolation.
- There will be a fine of £100 for failure to complete the form, and the Border Force will have the power to refuse entry to non-UK citizens who do not comply with the new regulations.
- Travellers will need to tell the government where they will quarantine, with enforcement through random spot checks and £1,000 fines in England and repeat offenders will face prosecution and an unlimited fine.
- If a person does not have suitable accommodation to go to, they will be required to stay in “facilities arranged by the government” at the person’s own expense.
- Arrivals will be told to avoid public transport and travel to their accommodation by car “where possible”, and not to go out to buy food or other essentials “where they can rely on others”.
- The Government has provided a list of exemptions to the above rules – full list available here.
Other UK COVID 19 news
- AstraZeneca Chief Executive, Pascal Soriot, has said that vaccinations against coronavirus will be available for people in the U.K. from September. The firm has received an order from the British government to supply 100 million doses of the vaccine being developed with the University of Oxford.
- Summer holidays may have to be cancelled for some pupils, a former Ofsted chief inspector has said.
- Government funding for an emergency scheme to keep England’s rough sleepers off the streets is due to end. In its place, the Government has announced 6,000 new supported homes at a cost of £433m in the next 12 months.
- Anyone in public spaces ‘should wear a mask’, according to the president of the Royal Society.
World COVID 19 news
- Saudi Arabia has imposed a total curfew over the Eid holiday after previously easing measures.
- China has recorded no new cases for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.
- President Trump has called on US state governors to reopen places of worship currently shut due to transmission fears.
- France has allowed religious services to resume.
- Vaccine trials on monkeys started in Thailand on Saturday after positive trials on mice, said a government official.
- France’s health minister has ordered a review of the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients after a study suggested that it raised mortality rates.
- Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says the country will reopen to international tourism in July “in safe conditions”
Private sector updates
- Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is in talks with the government to secure a loan of more than £1bn, following a drop in sales during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Car rental company Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after the pandemic saw its business plummet.
About 2,500 jobs have been lost and 64,000 bookings cancelled with the collapse into administration of Specialist Leisure Group.