Coronavirus In The News: 20.05.2020

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UK Government Response 
New data from the Office of National Statistics has revealed that the death toll from coronavirus in England and Wales is now almost 40,000. New figures placed the official number at 39,071 as of 8 May. However, deaths from the virus are falling.

At a briefing on ONS data held by the Science Media Centre yesterday, Professor Carl Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University, said: “I think by the end of June we’ll be looking at the data and finding it difficult to find people with this illness, if the current trends continue, in the deaths.”

UK Economy
The UK government is publicly acknowledging the fact that the lockdown is causing huge economic damage and that any recovery will not be quick.

“A severe recession the likes of which we haven’t seen. “It’s not obvious there will be an immediate bounce back,” said the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak yesterday. The Chancellor also revealed that eight million UK workers are now on the government’s furlough scheme, with a further two million receiving grants for the self-employed, taking the total number of workers receiving government support to 10 million. 

Housing Market
The number of properties added to the rental market grew by five percent after the government lifted restrictions on moving house last week, according to an analysis of platforms Rightmove and Zoopla.

Metropolitan Thames Valley chief executive Geeta Nanda writes in Inside Housing about the need for more social housing to reward the efforts of key workers during the coronavirus crisis. Metropolitan is part of the Homes For Heroes campaign backed by major housing associations, off-site housing manufacturers, architects and the BPF. It is calling on the government to commit to delivering 100,000 affordable, factory-built homes for key workers in public land.

Food & Shopping
This week French Connection has stated that its business will run out of cash soon due to the lockdown, while celebrity chef Marcus Wareing has said it’s likely his London restaurants will not survive the lockdownPizza Express is however due to reopen 13 stores for delivery in London over the next ten days. Meanwhile Asda is trialling virtual queues outside its stores, which will allow shoppers to wait their turn from their cars. John Lewis is considering a quarantine for items tested out by shoppers as part of plans to stop the spread of Covid-19.The department chain could put garments into temporary storage if customers try them out but do not make a purchase under proposals being considered ahead of reopening.

In Other News….
An extra bank holiday in October could be on the cards, as the hospitality industry counts the cost of lost revenue from the two lockdown affected bank holidays in May. Visit Britain told MPs on Tuesday that the hospitality industry in the UK is set to lose £37 billion due to the pandemic. Sky News looks at how countries across Europe are preparing to welcome tourists while upholding social distancing rules. Cyprus is asking all prospective tourists to take a coronavirus test before entering the county. The Economist examines coronavirus’ impact on Silicon Valley, with start-ups already looking for the next big thing as habits change due to the virus and Spiked writes that social distancing is corroding society.

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COVID 19: The Facts