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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Friday, May 29

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Friday, May 29

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 Chancellor has set out upcoming changes to the furlough scheme with a tapering off of support schemes in the coming months

  • The government is currently paying 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month for some 8.4 million workers under its furlough scheme.
  • The changes announced will take place gradually:
    • In June and July the scheme will continue as before with no employer contribution.
    • In August the taxpayer contribution will remain at 80% and employers will be asked to cover National Insurance and employer pension contributions.
    • In September the taxpayer contribution will reduce to 70% with employers paying 10%.
    • In October the taxpayer contribution will reduce to 60% with employers paying 20%.
    • The scheme will end at the end of October.
  • The Chancellor also announced a new flexible furlough scheme from the 1st July.
    • The scheme will allow employers to bring employees back part time, with the employer covering the days they work and the Government the days they don’t.
    • Employers will need to set employees up on the new scheme by the 10th of June to allow for the minimum furlough period before the old scheme is closed to entrants on the 30th June.
  • Finally the Chancellor announced the extension of the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
    • Applications will open in August, with a second grant being paid out in a single instalment covering three months’ worth of average monthly profits.
    • The grant will cover up to 70% of profits, up to a total of £6,570.
    • There will be no further changes to the scheme and it will not be extended beyond this.
    • The scheme so far has been used by 2.6 million people and has paid out £6.8bn in claims to self-employed who have been affected by the impact of coronavirus on the economy.

The Welsh Government is to allow people from two different households to meet outdoors from Monday

  • Individuals will be allowed to pass through a persons home to reach the private garden but have been told not to remain indoors.
  • However, beauty and tourist spots will remain closed and people have been told to stay not to travel more than five miles as a general rule.
  • First Minister Mark Drakeford said the Welsh government would also consider further easing at the next review of the lockdown on 18 June, including:
    • Reopening non-essential retail
    • Increasing capacity for childcare and public transport to support a wider return to work
    • Facilitating moving house to boost the housing market
    • Reopening outdoors sites, including outdoor markets, sports courts, outdoor showrooms and outdoor museums
    • Reopening facilities for non-professional elite athletes to train safely

Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • The Chief Dental Officer, Sara Hurley has confirmed that dental practices in England will reopen on 8 June, providing appropriate safety measures are put in place around infection control and PPE.
  • The Department for Business, Energy and industrial Strategy have announced that the UK will be the first country outside the US, to join the global COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) consortium. The Government say this will rapidly accelerate UK coronavirus research, helping further treatments, knowledge and understanding of how the disease behaves through advanced modelling.
  • The city of Glasgow will host the delayed COP26 UN Climate Conference between 1st-12th November 2021.
  • Downing Street has warned people in England that new rules allowing groups of six to meet up outdoors do not come in until Monday.
  • One in eight private renters have fallen behind their housing costs compared to one in 12 mortgaged home owners, said the Resolution Foundation.
  • British car manufacturing nearly came to a halt in April, down 99.7% on the same month last year.
  • A new UK cybercrime service launched during lockdown to investigate suspicious emails says it has had more than 600,000 reports in its first five weeks.
  • The National Trust is to reopen some gardens and parklands in England and Northern Ireland from 3 June.

World COVID 19 news

  • South Korea is reimposing some of its social-distancing measures in response to a recent uptick in new infections. Some schools are closing again while hundreds are delaying plans to reopen.
  • The chairman of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa, has said the pandemic is a major threat to developing countries’ efforts to meet their development goals – which include targets on education, health and eradicating poverty. Addressing a UN meeting, the South African president repeated a call for debts to be halted for a period of two years, and for debt relief.
  • Greece is to open its doors to visitors from 29 countries from 15 June as it tries to relaunch its vital tourism industry. However those countries do not include the UK, Italy, Spain and France – which have been badly hit by the pandemic.
  • Authorities in Singapore are considering setting up travel bubbles or “green lanes” with countries where Covid-19 is under control.
  • Croatia has reopened its borders to 10 countries including many of its key tourism markets, such as Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic.

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