Daily Covid-19 Brief: Monday, June 1
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.
Lockdown restrictions are eased in England as Government publishes new changes to COVID-19 restrictions
- Today, lockdown restrictions were relaxed across England. In parts of the country primary schools have started to welcome back select year groups, and outdoor markets and car showrooms have also reopened. The changes came as the UK recorded the lowest number of new COVID-19 cases since 23 March.
- Schools have begun reopening to pupils in reception, years 1 and 6 and nurseries have also opened their doors to more children. However a number of local councils have advised against reopening stating that the test and trace programme is not yet “robust enough” to sufficiently reduce Covid-19 transmission in schools.
- 2.2 million high-risk people, who have been shielding for the past two months can how go outside, with either a member of their household or to meet a person from another household. Groups of up to six people can now meet outside under social distancing rules.
- Despite concerns from some, including the Association of Directors of Public Health, that it is too soon to ease lockdown measures, the Government has said that it is “unlikely” that the measures taken to relax the lockdown in England would push the R back above 1.
- The easing came as the Government tabled changes to the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations 2020 bill. The changes mean that gathering indoors with another person from outside your household is now illegal
Other UK COVID 19 news
- Further reports suggest that the Government is preparing to announce an economic stimulus package in July. The Treasury is reportedly working on numerous proposals to kick start the economy including funding for training schemes and infrastructure projects, as well as providing help for technology companies.
- Five new drugs will be trialled in 30 hospitals across the country in the hopes of finding a treatment for COVID-19. The studies are part of the Accord programme which involves doctors and scientists, industry and the NHS.
- The Labour Party has launched what it is calling a “three-point plan to get test and trace to work locally”. The Party is calling for the Government to give Councils powers to enforce local lockdowns if required, introduce a guarantee that nobody will have to wait more than 24 hours for a COVID-19 test and a further 24 hours for the results, and deliver an app that will enable councils to contact anyone at risk.
- The Leader of the House of Commons has released details of the Government’s plan to end “hybrid parliament” sittings ahead of Parliament’s return from recess tomorrow. Many MPs are concerned by the proposals as some feel elderly members or those with health conditions will be disenfranchised by the move to scrap remote participation.
- The Northern Ireland Executive has announced that hotels and tourist accommodation in the province will be allowed to reopen on 20 July.
- The Government has given the green light to the British Film Commission (BFC)’s production guidance for film and high-end TV drama. The guidance means that UK-based film and TV production can resume.
World COVID 19 news
The United States of America has sent Brazil 2m doses of hydroxychloroquine to help the country in its battle against the pandemic. Brazil has seen civil unrest flare in recent days as the country’s COVID-19 death toll has continued to rise.
- Moscow has loosened its lockdown restrictions. Residents are now allowed to exercise outside and a number of shops and retail outlets have been opened.
- Phase 3 of Spain’s COVID-19 escalation plan started today. Groups of people can now meet and tourist attractions can now open with limited capacity. However the loosening is on a province by province basis. Spain’s state of emergency has been extended to June 21st, however after this date freedom of movement through Spain will be allowed.
- South Africa has eased its lockdown restrictions with religious buildings now able to reopen, and the sale of alcohol is now allowed as is movement between districts.
Private sector updates
- A group of 200 travel companies have written to Home Secretary Priti Patel, asking the Government to scrap the proposed quarantine plans which are planned to start 8 June.
- High street clothing chain Primark has announced that it is planning to reopen all of its 153 stores in England on 15 June, however retailer has warned customers not to expect any “special discounting”.
- Around 200 companies have sent a letter to the Prime Minister stressing that a green economic recovery plan should be launched and insisting that future corporate bailouts should take account of the UK’s net zero climate target. Signatories include the head of Lloyds Banking group, the CEO of Heathrow Airport and the UK head of BP.
- Tourism leaders in Wales have signed an open letter calling for clear reopening dates from the Welsh Government and consistency with the leisure and tourism sector elsewhere in the UK