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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Monday, April 13

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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Monday, April 13

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.

UK government looks set to extend lockdown measures later this week

  • Today, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab outlined that he did not expect that the Government would make any changes to the current lockdown in the UK. The Scottish First Minister pre-empted Raab when she spoke to the media earlier in the day. A formal decision will be taken on Friday when the government’s Cobra committee meets following a UK-wide review this week by the government Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
  • Raab continues to deputise for the PM Boris Johnson, who was admitted to intensive care last week following contracting coronavirus. Johnson this weekend was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital and is recovering at Chequers, Buckinghamshire. Johnson could spend up to one month recovering, during which Raab will continue to deputise for the PM; with the Cabinet collectively making decisions.

Relevant world COVID 19 news

  • French President Emmanual Macron has today extended the country’s lockdown measures until 11 May. Creches and schools will progressively open from mid-May. By 11 May, France will be able to test every citizen with COVID-19 symptoms. Nearly 15,000 people have died in France as a result of coronavirus.
  • Meanwhile, the Spanish government announced over the weekend that it would begin easing lockdown restrictions. Starting today, some construction and factory employees will be allowed to return to work in Spain.
  • The US is “nearing the peak,” Robert Redfield, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today. This echoes the words of New York Governor, Andrew Cuomo, where 10,000 people have now died alone.
  • The World Health Organisation is investigating reports from South Korea that people that have had the disease have again tested positive.
  • Acknowledging that some countries are already starting the transition out of lockdown measures, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned against implementing exit strategies too quickly. Tedros outlined six conditions that must be in place for loosening social distancing. They include:
    • Having the transmission of the virus under control and having enough medical services available.
    • Risks of outbreaks in special facilities like long-term care facilities should be “minimised”.
    • Preventive measures should be in place in “essential” locations like schools.
    • Countries also need to get to a point where risks of imported coronavirus infections can be managed.
    • Communities are fully aware and engaged in the transition.
  • The European Commission will hold a remote debate on Wednesday featuring the European Commissioners over what the bloc’s exit strategy might entail, including guidelines for member states.
  • Mandatory measures to trace the spread of coronavirus are “out of the question” in the EU, Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton said over the weekend. Many countries are considering the creation of coronavirus apps with different goals, such as tracking the virus’ peak, enforcing confinement measures or alerting people who might have been in contact with someone who has tested positive.

Company updates

  • Apple and Google announced on Friday that they are working together on a new technology to track the spread of the coronavirus using Bluetooth. Users who opt in would be able to receive alerts if they have might have come into contact with an infected person. The news has received a mixed response, despite both companies declaring that privacy would be an important element of the design.

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