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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Friday, June 12

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Friday, June 12

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.

The UK shrunk 20% during April lockdown

  • New figures by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the monthly GDP growth for April plunged by 20.4%, the biggest decline on record.
  • Deputy National Statistician for Economic Statistics, Jonathon Athow, explained that virtually all areas of the economy were hit, with pubs, education, health and car sales all giving the biggest contributions to the fall.
  • The contraction is three times greater than the decline seen during the whole of the 2008 to 2009 economic downturn.
  • More than one in four UK workers – some 8.9 million – are now on the government’s furlough scheme that allows them to receive 80% of their monthly salary up to £2,500.

The High Streets Task Force has announced a range of new support measures for high streets in England as non-essential stores reopen from 15 June.

  • The new support measures include access to cutting-edge tools, online training and webinars, and other information and advice for councils and other organisations involved with high streets.
  • The support will form part of the Task Force’s 4-year programme on the long-term transformation of town and city centres and the revitalisation of their high streets.

 Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • The Government has abandoned its plan to introduce full border checks with the EU on January 1 as ministers come under mounting pressure from business not to compound the chaos caused by coronavirus.
  • The Cabinet Office has confirmed that border controls for EU goods imported into Great Britain will be introduced at the end of Transition Period in stages to give businesses affected by coronavirus more time to prepare. A new £50m support package will boost the capacity of the customs intermediary sector. More detail can be found here.
  • The Government has confirmed the allocation of £300m for local authorities across England to support test and trace services. The funding will help local communities develop and action plans to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in their area.
  • The National Audit Office (NAO) have published a new report on how ready the NHS and adult social care were for COVID-19. Key findings include that the supply of PPE up to mid-May only met some requirements and 25,000 hospital patients were discharged into care homes before testing became routine.
  • Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies has shown that there was a 15% fall in the frequency of promotions during the first month of lockdown, which, in part, led to a 2.4% rise in the price of groceries.
  • The most deprived parts of England and Wales have been hit twice as hard by Covid-19 than the best-off areas, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.
  • Relatives of 450 people who have died in the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK are demanding an immediate public inquiry.

World COVID 19 news

  • India is now reporting more than 297,000 cases of coronavirus, surpassing the UK as having the fourth-highest number of infections in the world.
  • The risk of a second wave of infections requiring European countries to reimpose full lockdowns is moderate to high, say EU health experts.
  • The Republic of Ireland will not enter full lockdown again even if there is a second wave of the virus, the country’s chief medical officer says.
  • Tickets to US President Donald Trump’s upcoming campaign rallies will include a liability waiver, so people can’t sue if they catch the virus.
  • The European Union has urged member states to work “together” after its executive branch was tasked with negotiating to buy coronavirus vaccines. EU health official Stella Kyriakides said there was “overwhelming” support from EU governments for a European Commission plan to utilise a €2.4bn ($2.7bn; £2.15bn) fund to pay for vaccines.
  • Eurozone industrial production plunged by a record 17.1 per cent in April, as the coronavirus pandemic caused major disruption to businesses across almost all manufacturing and construction sectors of the European economy.

Private sector updates

  • British Airways, Ryanair and EasyJet have filed a formal legal challenge to the Government’s quarantine policy, which they say will have “a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy” and destroy thousands of jobs.
  • Uber drivers and passengers in the UK will need to wear face coverings from Monday, the company has announced.
  • Twitter has removed more than 170,000 accounts it says were tied to an operation to spread a Chinese government disinformation campaign.
  • Air France has laid out plans to resume flights across much of its summer schedule, as the European aviation industry begin to reopen

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