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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Monday, June 8

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Monday, June 8

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.

Reports suggest Prime Minister, Boris Johnson will set out plans to “rebuild Britain” in the wake of the Covid-19 in the coming weeks

  • The Prime Minister is expected to outline plans to accelerate major infrastructure projects – including pledges to build 40 new hospitals and key road upgrades.
    • Johnson is also said to want to fast-track recruitment campaigns for doctors and nurses to increase the NHS’s resilience before the winter.
    • He is also understood to be looking at how to increase apprenticeships, improve the use of data across government and bolster the NHS before a potential second outbreak this winter.
    • It comes as reports suggest chancellor, Rishi Sunak is delaying his Emergency Budget Statement from July to the autumn because he wants to wait until the problems facing the economy are clear before making irreversible spending commitments.
    • However the Treasury is still considering an economic update in July that could include a limited package of measures.
    • Sunak is expected to bring forward announcements of capital projects he wants to invest in.
    • There is also expected to be investment in green technology including electric cars, offshore wind and carbon capture and storage.
    • Other smaller local authority projects, including improvements to cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, are also expected to feature in the plan.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma has created 5 new business-focused groups which will consider measures to support economic recovery over the next 8 months.

  • Beginning this week, Sharma will chair the first meetings of new ‘recovery roundtables’ bringing together businesses, business representative groups and leading academics. The 5 themes receiving focus are:
    • The future of industry: How to accelerate business innovation and leverage private sector investment in research and development
    • Green recovery: How to capture economic growth opportunities from the shift to net zero carbon emissions
    • Backing new businesses: How to make the UK the best place in the world to start and scale a business
    • Increasing opportunity: How to level up economic performance across the UK, including through skills and apprenticeships
    • The UK open for business: How to win and retain more high value investment for the UK

Reports suggest that the Government may allow pubs and restaurants to serve people outdoors from 22 June

  • Reports also suggest that the Government will announce its intention to change Sunday trading rules as part of plans to ease restrictions and stimulate the economy in the next few weeks.
  • However a spokesman for the Prime Minister played down the reports and said that the plan was still for Pubs and restaurants  to open from July.

Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • More courts and tribunal buildings are to reopen in England and Wales as the lockdown eases. A total of 16 more buildings across England and Wales have now been assessed as suitable for socially-distanced hearings, the Ministry of Justice said. This means that 184 court and tribunal buildings are now open for essential face-to-face hearings, it added.
  • No new Covid-19 deaths have been reported in Scotland  and Northern Ireland for the second day in a row,
  • From Monday 15 June places of worship will be permitted to open for individual prayer in line with social distancing guidelines.
  • Health Secretary Matt Hancock has announced that all staff in hospitals in England will be expected to wear surgical masks from 15 June. All visitors and outpatients will be expected to wear face coverings at all times.
  • The Department of Education has announced new online resources and awarded charity grants to help pupils and staff talk more about the anxieties and concerns they feel as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • Homelessness Minister Luke Hall has announced charities supporting vulnerable rough sleepers will be able to continue their work, backed by £6m of government funding. 132 charities across England will have access to the funding, with the funding a part of a £750m package of government support for UK charities, £360m of which is dedicated to offering a lifeline to charities working to end homelessness.
  • The Scottish government has pressed the UK Government on a £10 million shortfall in funding for charities.
  • Those shielding in Scotland will not be allowed outdoors until 31 July. It comes as England and Wales have already relaxed some restrictions on those shielding.

World COVID 19 news

  • New Zealand has eliminated Covid-19 within its borders and will now lift all domestic social distancing restrictions. The only things that won’t change for now are quarantine measures for arriving New Zealanders and a ban on foreign arrivals to stop the virus from coming back into the country.
  • Russia will partially reopen its boarders permitting travelling abroad for the purposes of work, studying, receiving medical treatment or taking care of relatives.
  • The Republic of Ireland is now in Phase 2 of a four-phase plan to ease the lockdown, meaning most shops are reopening, though not yet those in shopping malls. People can now travel up to 20km (12 miles) from their home, or anywhere in their own county.
  • New York City – the area of the US worst-hit by Covid-19 – is beginning to ease its lockdown from today. As many as 400,000 workers could begin returning to construction jobs, manufacturing sites and retail stores today in the city’s first phase of reopening.
  • Israel will stop easing Covid-19 restrictions after a sharp increase in new Covid-19 cases, the country’s prime minister has said. After enacting restrictions early in the outbreak, the government eased its lockdown in mid-April and gradually allowed schools, businesses, shopping malls, beaches, shops and restaurants to reopen.

Private sector updates

  • BP is to cut around 10,000 jobs as part of plans to deal with plunging demand for fuel caused by Covid-19. The move will affect around 15 per cent of the company’s workforce including 2,000 UK staff.
  • UK luxury handbag maker Mulberry said it will launch “a consultation process” to reduce its employee base by around a quarter after the Covid-19 pandemic forced it to close most of its stores.
  • The chief executive of Ryanair has said flights scheduled for July will go ahead regardless of quarantine rules for air arrivals in the UK, which he called “irrational, ineffective and completely unimplementable”.
  • Fidelity International boss Anne Richards has warned that the asset management industry will struggle to provide enough capital to fix the solvency problems public businesses face as economies emerge from lockdown.
  • Four more companies have answered the Government’s call to arms to manufacture PPE, including Photocentric, Ramfoam, Elite Plastics and Macdonald and Taylor Healthcare.

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