With the furlough work scheme due to finish at the end of October, the Chancellor will address the Commons on Thursday after cancelling this year’s budget. Mr Sunak’s “Winter Economy Plan” could include VAT cuts, loans for hard hit businesses and wage subsidies, according to reports.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock encouraged Brits to download the new Covid-19 app as he stressed it will give people “added protection for you and your loved ones”.
It comes as new coronavirus regulations are due to come into force in England on Thursday as hospitality, leisure, entertainment and tourism businesses will now have to close at 10pm, and an expansion of the mandatory wearing of face coverings is backed by increased fines.
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Health Secretary says economic support to replace the furlough scheme had been set in train since the summer
Matt Hancock told Sky News: “The Chancellor is going to set out the details in the House of Commons later and I’ll let him do that.
“What you’ve seen over the past nine months since this crisis started, you’ve seen an unprecedented amount of economic support to keep jobs going, to support businesses that have been terribly hit by this, and we’re determined that that should continue.”
Asked why the Chancellor has waited until nearly October to announce the measures, Mr Hancock said: “We’ve said throughout that sadly we’re not able to protect every job and every business.
“But I think in terms of the timing of this, we’ve been working on the winter plan for the economy and options in case cases started to go up again since the summer and with the Prime Minister having set out the next steps in terms of the health side on Tuesday, now the Chancellor is coming to the House today – two days later – to set out the economic package for the winter plan that goes with that.”
Will the economic support be targeted for the aviation or night-time industry?
When pressed on the new economic measures that will soon be set out by Mr Sunak, Matt Hancock told Sky News the Government was doing as much as was “feasibly” possible.
“I totally understand the challenges on the economic front. I totally understand that and the Chancellor and I worked incredibly closely on this,” he said.
“We understand where the health and economic benefits are important. The principle is clear – we will support as much as is feasibly possibly through this very difficult time.”
Chancellor has done an ‘unprecedented’ amount of work to protect economy, says Mr Hancock
The Health Secretary told Sky News: “Our whole strategy is to suppress the virus while protecting education and the economy and the amount of work that has gone into ensuring schools can go back – that has been done successfully.
“The Chancellor has done an unprecedented amount to support the economy and he will be setting out the next steps later.”
‘The more people who download the app, the more effective it will be’ says Mr Hancock
The Health Secretary said that even if just two people downloaded the app, and they came into contact with one another and one had tested positive for the virus, it would be useful.
“The more people who download it the more effective it will be,” he said.
“But this is just one part of our overall plan for tackling the virus.”
Matt Hancock shares details about the new Covid-19 app
When asked by Sky News about how many people needed to download the app for it to be effective, the Health Secretary said there isn’t a figure for that.
He said: “Every single person who downloads the app is helping us improve how we keep you safe.”
Significant reduction in the diagnosis of many common physical and mental health conditions in parts of the UK during the coronavirus lockdown, study suggests
Electronic health records of approximately a quarter of a million people in Salford, Greater Manchester, were analysed to identify the impact of Covid-19 on general practice (primary care) by a patient safety research centre between March 1 and May 31.
Researchers found the biggest reductions were for mental health conditions and type 2 diabetes, as there were half the expected number of diagnoses. For malignant cancer, the reduction was 16 per cent for the time period analysed, but for the month of May there was a drop of 44 per cent.
For circulatory system diseases such as stroke, heart failure and coronary heart disease, the study found a reduction in diagnoses of 43 per cent.
The research, published in The Lancet Public Health, was conducted by the National Institute for Health Research Greater Manchester Patient Safety Translational Research Centre (NIHR GM PSTRC).
The study used 10 years’ worth of data to create statistical models to give predicted levels of new diagnoses for the health conditions identified in general practice to be routine.
Study lead Richard Williams, from the University of Manchester, said: “We were aware that GP practices have been reporting a drop in the number of patients seeking medical help since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Thanks to electronic health records, it is possible to investigate whether this is true across a large urban area like Salford. Importantly, our research has revealed which conditions people are not seeking medical attention for.
“This means that, potentially, there are high numbers of people living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, mental health conditions and circulatory system failure.”
Good morning and welcome to today’s live updates on the Covid-19 pandemic
Glasgow University has been hit by a major Covid-19 outbreak after 124 students tested positive for the disease.
The university has said the actual number of infected students was “likely to be higher”.
At least 600 students are now self-isolating with the university adding that the surge is likely linked to freshers’ week socialising.
Laws increasing the fines for failing to wear a face covering, which come into force on Thursday, have been published.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 also widens the scope on where people are required to wear them.
It said the existing laws are amended to include theatres, restaurants, bars and pubs in the list of places where members of the public must wear face coverings, or face a fine of £200 for the first offence, rising to £6,400 for repeat offences.
The exemption is when they need to remove it to eat or drink.
It also requires staff and anyone else providing a service in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and pubs to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.
Nicola Sturgeon has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for urgent four-nation talks to tackle the spread of coronavirus.
The First Minister has pointed to scientific opinion that bringing the virus back under control will require measures beyond those announced so far.
The letter also highlights that devolved administrations’ ability to take action is curtailed by a lack of financial levers to deliver economic support.
Read all about Keir Starmer’s speech here:
Sir Keir Starmer has blamed a “failure of Government” for the return of coronavirus.
The Labour leader used a televised address to the nation on Wednesday to stress his support of the new restrictions being brought in by the Government.
However, he also fiercely criticised the Government for the apparent mistakes made during the pandemic, saying the new restrictions were “not inevitable”.
Britain should be ‘everything it can be’
A better future is possible and the “darkness will lift”, Sir Keir said.
Sharing his vision for the nation he said he wants “Britain to be everything it can be”.
He added: “The best place to grown up in and the best place to grow old.
“That is the future I want for my children and my country – that is why I do this.
“Together we can build this”.
‘Mistakes have been made by the Government, but we need to carry on’
Sir Keir admitted that the weeks and months ahead are going to be difficult.
He said although there is real frustration and anger about the Government’s “mistakes” during the pandemic the nation “will get through it”.
‘My door is always open’ to Boris Johnson
Sir Keir said there needs to be a “national effort” to protect jobs and “prevent a second lockdown”.
He added: “So I have offered to work with the Prime Minister to do whatever we can to save lives and protest livelihoods.”
The Labour leader said his door is “always open” to Boris Johnson.
‘Government made a huge mistake’
Sir keir said the Government made a huge mistake of how they handled the Uk’s response to the pandemic.
He said: “There was nothing in Prime Minister’s statement last night to protect people’s jobs, businesses or our town centres and high streets.
“No clarity about what happens when the furlough scheme ends.
“That’s a huge gap and a huge mistake and it could lead to a wave of job losses this winter.”
‘The Government needs to fix testing fast’
Sir Keir said the only way to “control the virus” and prevent further restrictions was to “fix testing fast”.
He also said the Government need to come up with a “plan b” for the economy.
“It makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses,” he said.
It’s a ‘national scandal’
Sir Keir said we are a “great country” and we shouldn’t have “one of the highest death rates in the world or one of the worst recessions”.
“It’s a national scandal that we still do not have a testing system that works,” he said.
“Or a plan to protest our care homes.
“It shouldn’t be like this, people shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of miles to get a test for their child, themselves or their relatives.”
‘The return of the virus is not an act of god but Government failure’
Sir Keir said: “I urge everyone to follow the new guidance and the rule of law.
“While these restrictions are now necessary they were not inevitable.
“The return of this virus and the return of restrictions are not an act of god they are a failure of Government.
“The British people have done every thing asked of them but I am afraid the Government has not.”
Labour supports new restrictions
“The picture presented by the Government’s medical adviser this week was stark and clear.
“Infection are rising hospital admissions are increasing and we know from bitter experience where that can lead.
“That was why the Government had to introduce restrictions last night and we support this.”
Sir Keir on the Covid-19 situation
Sir Keir said: “Sadly despite all the sacrifice and heroism from British people it is clear we are not though this yet.”