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Daily Covid-19 Brief: Bank holiday update, May 8-10

Daily Covid-19 Brief: Bank holiday update, May 8-10

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 Prime Minister will address the country at 7pm tonight to outline the Government’s strategy for exiting lockdown

  • It is not expected that Boris Johnson will announce a complete lifting of lockdown measures, nor provide dates for when restrictions might be removed.
  • Instead the Prime Minister will set out what he has called a “roadmap, a menu of options” for easing the lockdown.
  • The announcement will also include the unveiling of a new Covid-19 alert system in England to track the virus.
  • There is expected to be an announcement about the gradual lifting of some restrictions, including possible news on school reopening, some reinstatement of public transport services, and some business, including garden centres in England, being allowed to reopen from Wednesday if they comply with social distancing.
  • There was reportedly anger from some members of the Cabinet that parts of Boris Johnson’s announcement were recorded on Saturday, before today’s call between the Prime Minister, Ministers and devolved leaders.

The Government has unveiled a new public health message, “stay alert, control the virus, save lives”, removing the words “stay at home”

  • The announcement was followed by a clash of words between leaders in the devolved nations and Westminster; with Welsh Health Minister Vaughan Gething saying that leaders in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have not agreed to the new advice.
  • The slogan applies only to England, and the advice to stay at home remains in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that she had first seen the new slogan in the Sunday papers, saying “I don’t know what ‘stay alert’ means.”
  • Arlene Foster, First Minister of Northern Ireland, said that the Northern Ireland executive would also be keeping the “stay at home” message.
  • Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the new advice means “staying home as much as possible, but stay alert when you do go out, by maintaining social distancing, washing your hands, respecting others in the workplace and the other settings that you’ll go to.”
  • Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said he thought people might be “puzzled” by the change in advice.

Other UK COVID 19 news 

  • A Deltapoll survey for The Sun has found that 90% of people do not want an immediate easing of the lockdown, though 80% surveyed also fear an extended lockdown will wreck the UK economy.
  • The Government has told UK airlines they plan to introduce a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in the UK from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland. It is expected to take effect from the end of May.

World COVID 19 news

  • German newspaper Der Spiegel has claimed that the Chinese President personally asked the World Health Organisation to “delay a global warning” about the threat from coronavirus back in January, asking for information human-to-human transmission to be held back.
  • Data from Johns Hopkins University suggests that more than four million cases of Covid-19 have been reported worldwide, with the global death toll 277,000.
  • Chinese authorities have reported a potential new wave of cases in the northeast of the country, in the city of Shulan in Jilin.
  • Infections are rising in Germany days after the starting of easing of lockdown restrictions. It comes as thousands of Germans joined protests over the weekend calling for an end to lockdown.

Private sector updates

  • Pub owners have warned the Government that they won’t survive the lockdown without rent relief, as only one of the leading six pub landlords cancelling rents.
  • Lloyds Banking Group is trying to fix a fault that mean subsidiaries of overseas firms in the UK have been unable to access UK Government backed loans for weeks.
  • The Chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, Helen Dickinson, has said decisions about which shops should reopen should be based on safety, not their size or business type.
  • The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has warned airlines it could take action against firms not refunding customers whose flights have been cancelled. By law, plane operators must refund customers within seven days if their flight is cancelled.

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