Daily Covid-19 Brief: Wednesday, June 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.
- The Government has started to publish updated guidance for sectors of the economy which have been given the green light to reopen from 4 July.
- Updated guidance has been published for:
- Close contact services
- Hotels and guest accommodation
- Restaurants, pubs, bars and takeaway services
- The visitor economy
- Places like pubs, restaurants, hotels and hairdressers are being asked to keep a temporary record of customers and visitors for 21 days, in order to support the Government’s test and trace system.
- Guidance for close contact services such as hairdressers says employees should wear a visor where it is not possible to maintain distance between customer and employee and customers could also be separated from each other by screens.
- Pubs and restaurants should keep music at a low volume to avoid people needing to shout, which scientific advisors suggest increases the risk of transmission from tiny droplets in the air.
- Customers will be also encouraged to book in advance and order food and drink direct to their tables through a smartphone app.
- In hotels, there will be increased cleaning and reduced time spent at check-in desks. Minimised lift usage, room service will to be left outside the door, disposable cutlery and condiments will also be used. Guests will also be encouraged to wear masks in communal spaces. For visitor attractions, timed tickets, cashless payments and social distancing will all implemented in order to make attractions COVID-19 secure.
Scotland’s First Minister provided an update on Scotland’s timescale for easing lockdown restrictions
- The Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a further easing of lockdown restrictions in Scotland, including an end to the five-mile travel limit, the opening of beer gardens and permitting further socialisation between households.
- The announcement came as weekly data from the National Records of Scotland showed a reduction in COVID-19 related deaths for the eighth successive week.
- Surgeon announced in the Scottish Parliament that under provisional plans:
- The five mile travel limit will be lifted from 3 July and beer gardens will be permitted to reopen from 6 July;
- People in Scotland will be allowed to meet up with two other households indoors from 10 July and pubs and restaurants can re-open from 15 July.
- Hairdressers and barbers can open from 15 July, as can holiday accommodation and museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries, so long as physical distancing and other safety measures are enforced.
- Sturgeon said that the changes depended on Scotland continuing to keep the virus under control and that the changes could be could be reversed if it was felt necessary to do so.
- Health advisors in Scotland are still reviewing whether the 2m social distancing rule can be eased in Scotland.
Other UK COVID-19 news
- It has been reported that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is planning to give a speech next week aimed at “relaunching his Premiership”. Johnson is expected to declare that “now is the time to deliver” on the Conservative Party’s manifesto promises.
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lowered its global growth forecast for 2020-21. It now predicts a decline of almost 5% in 2020. It predicts that UK GDP will shrink by 10.2% in 2020, before recovering next year.
- Health leaders are calling for an urgent review to determine whether the UK is properly prepared for the “real risk” of a second wave of coronavirus. The presidents of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, Nursing, Physicians, and GPs have signed a letter warning that “urgent action is needed to prevent further loss of life”.
- Councils in England will be given an extra £105m to support rough sleepers put up during lockdown. The Government says that the extra funding will ensure that people will not have to return to the streets when hotels reopen on 4 July.
- The Association of Medical Research Charities (AMRC) — which represents 150 organisations, including Children with Cancer UK, Parkinson’s UK and the British Heart Foundation — has warned that medical studies are being hampered by the economic challenges posed by coronavirus.
- A £1.3m national research programme has been confirmed by the Government, which will evaluate coronavirus tests in hospitals, GP surgeries and care homes
- Ofcom has said that the UK’s internet use rose to a new high during lockdown. The regulator said that during the peak of the lockdown, UK adults spent a quarter of their day online.
- Discussions have been held between Government and sports bodies over the resumption of grassroots sport in the UK. An announcement on when grassroots sports can resume is expected in the coming weeks.
World COVID-19 news
- The United States of America’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci has warned that the US is seeing a “”disturbing surge” in coronavirus infections in some states.
- The Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations, Baroness Scotland, has been criticised for attempting to hold, at short notice, an emergency virtual summit to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic. The UK Government said that the summit was “not appropriate” and it was “disappointed” that it had not been consulted.
- EU leaders are meeting today to discuss a plan to reopen external borders on 1 July. Reports suggest that the US, Brazil, Russia and other countries with high infection rates would be left off a safe list, meaning that travellers from those countries would not be allowed in.
- Soldiers have been called in to manage CVID-19 treatment centres in New Delhi, India’s capital, after it recorded its highest single-day increase in cases. 3,900 people in New Delhi tested positive for COVID-19 over the past 24 hours.
Private sector updates
- Guinness has resumed full production at its famous St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin, ahead of the reopening of England’s Pubs on 4 July.
- Airport operator Swissport is set to cut more than half of its UK workforce as a result of COVID-19. The firm has confirmed that it is consulting on cutting up to 4,556 jobs.
- Gyms bosses have expressed concern over the Government’s decision to reopen pubs on 4 July, but not indoor sports facilities. The boss of the David Lloyd group called the decision “bizarre and illogical”. The Government hopes gyms can reopen in mid-July, subject to health guidance.
Fast food chain McDonalds have today reopened 280 of it’s sites for walk in takeaway. The firm have yet to announce however, when in store dining will be allowed to resume