BORIS Johnson is set to announce changes to the work-from-home guidance tomorrow.
The PM is poised to tell Brits it is safe to return to work and will relax rules on using public transport.
Yesterday, VAT reductions in the tourism and hospitality industries were put in place in an economy boost that takes the tax from 20 per cent to just 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, Kings College London scientists claim that skin rashes are a symptom of coronavirus along with the three most common, being a fever, a persistent cough and a loss of taste or smell.
In a study they found that 8.8% of people who tested positive for coronavirus also had a rash, and that the virus can target organs other than the lungs despite being a respiratory disease.
On Wednesday the UK coronavirus death toll reached 45,053 as 85 more deaths were recorded.
Follow the latest news and updates surrounding coronavirus below…
TEENAGE GIRLS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE FURLOUGHED
Teenagers are most likely to have had their jobs furloughed during the outbreak, new figures show.
The highest rate is for jobs done by 17-year-old females, 61 per cent of which have been furloughed.
Some 58 per cent of jobs done by 17-year-old males have also been furloughed.
The figures, published by HM Revenue and Customs, are for claims made under the furlough scheme up to the end of June.
They show that 9.4million employments across the UK had been placed on furlough, at a cost to the Treasury of £26.5billion.
PARTY STRIP CLOSED AS TOURISTS CAUSE CHAOS
Brits enjoyed one last party in Magaluf last night as officials announced the Punta Ballena strip will be closed for the rest of summer.
The shock closure came after images emerged of vomiting revellers causing chaos and ignoring the island’s social distancing regulations.
Tourism Minister Lago Negueruela announced the crackdown – and said cops would be mobilised to ensure all bars and restaurants closed their doors.
Pictures showed police patrolling the notorious party zone as businesses closed their shutters – ruining the plans of thousands of holidaymakers.
Here’s the story.
VIRUS FUND HITS £5M IN DAYS
A new appeal to raise funds to fight coronavirus in refugee camps and poor communities in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries has raised more than £5million in a day.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Coronavirus Appeal was launched on Tuesday to raise funds to provide food, water and medical care to people in countries such as Syria, Yemen and South Sudan.
Other targets are Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Afghanistan and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh.
The appeal had raised more than £5million by the end of the first day.
The UK Government has pledged to match the first £5million in donations made by the public.
PUBS IN IRELAND WON’T REOPEN UNTIL AUGUST
Pubs in Ireland now won’t reopen until August 10 – and Health Minister Stephen Donnelly says he believes that if punters could prop up the bar now, it would “materially add to the possibility of a second wave” of coronavirus.
Health experts say the R value, which is the number of people that a single infection person will go on to infect, is now between 1.2 and 1.8.
“This is not easy. This is not an easy decision to make. We are following the public health guidelines,” Mr Donnelly said,
“Essentially we prioritising the opening of schools, the opening of healthcare facilities, the opening of the economy over the accelerated reopening of the pubs.”
JOOLS OLIVER SUFFERS MISCARRIAGE DURING LOCKDOWN
This is very sad.
Jamie Oliver’s wife Jools has revealed she suffered a miscarriage during lockdown.
The 45-year-old mum of five explained that since giving birth to her son River in 2016, she had lost three babies.
Speaking on podcast Made By Mammas, host Zoe Hardman asked whether Jools was “pining for a sixth child” before she turns 47 next year.
Jools replied: “I really do, I really do, but I’ve just had three miscarriages since then [River’s birth] and I’m thinking – and a recent one three weeks ago – and I’m thinking: ‘No.’”
Here’s the story.
Image: Rex Features
PM PLEDGES TO HOLD VIRUS INQUIRY
Boris Johnson has announced an independent inquiry into the UK’s handling of the coronavirus crisis.
The Prime Minister yesterday insisted that now isn’t the time to start analysing how well the Government has responded to the pandemic.
However, he’s committed to probe the UK’s response to the pandemic in the future.
Here’s the story.
HAS FURLOUGH SCHEME MASKED TRUE SCALE OF JOB LOSSES?
News that one out of every three companies is planning on making redundancies after furlough has stoked fears the jobs retention scheme has only been masking widespread job losses.
In better news, as many as 59 per cent of businesses will keep their staff on after Rishi Sunak offered to pay £1000 for each furloughed worker brought back to work until at least January.
But only 12 per cent of firms are looking to increase the size of their workforce.
Mr Sunak extended the furlough scheme, but employers will need to start to make pension and national insurance contributions from next month.
ONE IN THREE BUSINESS TO LAY OFF EMPLOYEES
One in three firms will lay off staff before the furlough scheme ends in October, a new report warns.
The British Chamber of Commerce said that an “historic cash crunch” is pushing businesses to tighten up their budgets and let staff go as the country struggles to recover from the lockdown.
According to poll done of 7,400 businesses, 29 per cent of companies expect they will have to make job cuts in the next three months – the highest number on record.
50K JOBS COULD GO IN LONDON’S WEST END
More than 50,000 jobs could be at risk in London’s West End if tourists and office workers do not return, a partnership representing the area has warned.
The New West End Company, which represents 600 businesses across Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and Mayfair, said the district could also lose £5billion in sales without further Government assistance.
In the first full month since the reopening of non-essential retail on June 15, some 5.1 million people visited the West End – down 73 per cent year-on-year for the same period, the business partnership said.
TRUE VIRUS DEATH TOLL IS ‘LOWER THAN CLAIMED’
The true coronavirus death toll is lower than the official daily government figures, scientists have claimed.
Initially scientists said that government figures had underestimated the daily death toll, but Oxford University experts now claim that recently it has been overstated.
The experts suggested that 40 people a day are dying in all settings combined, which includes hospitals, care homes and private households.
Here’s the story.
IF YOU’VE PUT ON A ‘CORONA-STONE’, YOU’RE NOT ALONE…
Almost half of Brits say they’ve put on the dreaded ‘corona-stone’ during the lockdown.
And new research has revealed the cities where people have admitted to putting on weight – as well as those who’ve managed to lose it.
JOFRA ARCHER APOLOGISES AFTER ‘BREACH’
We blogged earlier about England bowler Jofra Archer, who has been sent into self-isolation and ruled out of this today’s second Test against the West Indies after “a breach of the team’s bio-secure protocols”.
The sportsman has now released a statement, in which he said: “I am extremely sorry for what I have done.
“I have put, not only myself, but the whole team and management in danger.
“I fully accept the consequences of my actions, and I want to sincerely apologise to everyone in the bio-secure bubble.”
Here’s the story.
LOCKDOWN EXTENSION ‘WILL LEAD TO HUGE ANGER’
Leicester’s mayor has urged the Government to lift its local lockdown – and warned that a further two-week extension would leave residents “very angry indeed”.
Speaking ahead of a meeting with Health Secretary Matt Hancock to decide whether the city’s lockdown will continue, mayor Sir Peter Soulsby claimed data provided to city officials highlighted that only 10 per cent of Leicester had shown higher transmission rates.
In an interview with BBC Radio Leicester, Sir Peter was asked what his reaction would be if a further two-week lockdown was announced.
He said: “I think if we are told that, there are going to be an awful lot of Leicester people who are very angry indeed.”
FEARS OF HUGE JOB LOSSES
The big story of the day so far is that job losses in the UK could skyrocket to levels not seen since the 1980s.
The Office for National Statistics said today there are 649,000 fewer people on payroll in June than there were in March, when the lockdown restrictions were imposed.
So far, we’ve has been spared the sharp rises in unemployment seen in the US, for example, because of the furlough scheme.
Some 1.2million employers have taken advantage of the program to furlough 9.4million people.
It’s cost the Government £28.7billion.
But the scheme will come to an end in October – raising fears of widescale unemployment.
SUNAK SAYS THE UK FACES A STRUGGLE TO GET BACK ON ITS FEET
More on that last blog post now.
Mr Sunak told the Commons Treasury Committee the country needed a “sensible conversation” on taxation to restore the public finances to a sustainable footing.
Mr Sunak said: “Fundamentally we don’t tax our way to prosperity, we want people to keep more of their own money, we think that is good for growth.
“But we also have a lot of demands on public services and they need to be funded.
“We as a country need to look at these things in the round. There are tough choices ahead, that is clear.”
CHANCELLOR SAYS THERE ARE ‘TOUGH CHOICES’ AHEAD
Rishi Sunak hinted at tax hikes yesterday as he warned “tough choices” were needed to repair public finances.
The Chancellor watered down the Tory election promise not to raise income tax, VAT or National Insurance to just “an ambition”.
He told MPs it was that or cutting spending, which Boris Johnson has ruled out.
Mr Sunak is facing a £372billion black hole this year due to Covid.
HUNDREDS OF JOBS TO GO AT BURBERRY
Around 500 jobs are being cut at luxury fashion firm Burberry in the UK and globally as it axes office space after lockdown sent sales tumbling.
The firm said around 150 office jobs are expected to go in the UK, where it is headquartered, and a further 350 overseas as it looks to slash annual costs by a further £55million.
This comes on top of the previously announced £140million cost savings.
The cuts will affect around 5 per cent of its 10,000 employees, including 4 per cent of its 3,500 staff in the UK.
‘TIMES WILL BE TOUGH’ ADMITS MINISTER
Business Secretary Alok Sharma said many people are facing a “very, very difficult” time, following the publication of the latest unemployment figures.
“I think the best thing we can do is continue to open up the economy in a phased manner, a cautious manner, and get businesses up and running again,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.
“It is going to be very, very difficult for lots of people and we are going to do everything we can to support them and keep businesses going through this very difficult period.”
PM TO INTRODUCE NEW ‘SAFE TRAVEL’ SYSTEM FOR WORKERS
The PM will encourage Brits to get back on public transport as part of his scheme to get offices full again.
There’ll be a new messaging campaign, which is still being developed, but ministers are set to sign off on a “grading” system which will outline times in the day when it is safe to travel.
The public will be advised to still avoid using public transport during peak rush hour times of 7-9am, which will still be categorised as “essential travel only”.
Instead, Brits will be told to use public transport outside of rush hours – between 9am and 4pm and after 8pm.
Here’s the full story.
BORIS WILL TELL BRITS TO GO BACK TO WORK
Boris Johnson will hold a press conference on Friday in a bid to get Brits back to the office.
The PM will rip up the work-from-home guidance and give bosses the green light to welcome staff back to the office.
He’s expected to appear alongside the Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding to unveil a new ‘Contain Framework’ designed to prove to anxious workers that the virus is “under control” in their local areas.
SICKEST PATIENTS NOW MORE LIKELY TO LIVE
The sickest Covid-19 patients are now more likely to survive a stint in intensive care, a new study suggests.
Experts say a fall in the death rate may suggest that “we are coping better with Covid-19”.
The new study, published in the journal Anaesthesia, examined a range of studies across three continents.
Across Europe, Asia and North America the death rate for ICU patients fell from almost 60 per cent at the end of March to 42 per cent at the end of May.
DEATH TOLL IN THE UK CLIMBS ABOVE 45,000
The UK’s coronavirus death toll climbed higher than 45,000 yesterday as 85 new fatalities were recorded.
Department of Health statistics show that, on average, 584 Brits are still testing positive for Covid-19 each day.
Here’s what you need to know.
PM RULES OUT SUGAR TAX
Boris Johnson has ruled out sugar taxes as part of his post-coronavirus battle against obesity, we can exclusively reveal.
The PM said his own brush with death during the crisis had convinced him that urgent action was needed to tackle Britain’s obesity crisis.
He has ordered health officials to draw up a fresh action plan – but has made it very clear that sugar taxes must not be part of the solution.
Boris told aides that “people shouldn’t be bullied”.
JOF THE TEAM
England bowler Jofra Archer has been sent into self-isolation and ruled out of this morning’s second Test against the West Indies after “a breach of the team’s bio-secure protocols”.
Both teams have been living, training and sleeping in two ‘bubble’ sites, at the Ageas Bowl and Emirates Old Trafford, adhering to strict health and safety procedures agreed by both boards due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Archer has now confessed to breaking those rules and has been removed from the team environment immediately.
Here’s the story.
DECISION ON LOCKDOWN IN LEICESTER DUE
Health Secretary Matt Hancock is due to make an announcement about the Leicester lockdown this afternoon.
But mayor Sir Peter Soulsby says officials in the city have no idea what will be said.
“I expect to hear when the rest of the city, and indeed the rest of the country hears – because frankly we have not been involved in any of the decision-making about this,” he said.
“We have been told what the political decisions will be, and we will be told again what the political decision will be – whether or not we come out of it.”