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Boris Johnson would close pubs, restaurants and shops ahead of schools in the event of severe coronavirus outbreaks, according to a Number 10 source.
It comes as the PM said getting all children back in school was a “moral duty”. Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Johnson added: “Keeping our schools closed a moment longer than absolutely necessary is socially intolerable, economically unsustainable and morally indefensible.”
Meanwhile new figures suggest that nearly 1,800 UK companies told the Government of plans to cut 20 or more jobs in June as the coronavirus damaged the economy. Labour is calling on the Government to halt a “jobs bonfire” by helping out industries and businesses still shut down by the pandemic.
It comes as a new study by King's College London suggests that just over half the UK population would be certain or very likely to have a vaccine against coronavirus – with “damaging” misperceptions influencing people’s intentions, according to the authors.
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Arts organisations urged to apply for first wave of £1.57bn Government grants to help restore UK ‘creative magic'
Arts organisations in England have been urged to apply for a share of £500 million from the Government’s support package for the cultural sector.
Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said those who need help should “come forward” when applications for the first wave of the £1.57 billion funding package open on Monday.
Arts Council England will be accepting applications for up to £500 million in grants, while the British Film Institute will also be reviewing applications for its £30 million funding scheme for independent cinemas from Monday.
Grants of between £50,000 and £3 million will be distributed to arts organisations, while independent cinemas will be able to apply for grants of up to £200,000.
Eligible organisations including galleries, museums, theatres, music venues and independent cinemas will also have to show how they will be financially sustainable in the long term.
Ms Dinenage said: “We know how important our culture is to our nation’s success, wellbeing and confidence.
“It is this creative magic that for centuries has put our island on the world stage – from Dickens to Disclosure…
““I urge those that need help to come forward so we can help as many as possible get back to doing what you do best.”
Labour calls for support for shuttered firms to halt ‘jobs bonfire’
Labour is calling on the Government to halt a “jobs bonfire” by giving targeted assistance to industries and businesses still shut down by the coronavirus pandemic.
Shadow business minister Lucy Powell urged the Government to “urgently rethink their rigid approach”, which will see the furlough scheme end entirely in October.
“The unpredictable nature of this virus means that public health measures must be flexible and responsive, but it surely follows that economic measures must be the same,” the Labour MP said.
“It’s clearly illogical and unfair to prevent businesses from opening their doors, cutting them off from any income, and to cut their furlough lifeline at the same time.
“They’ve said they can’t save every job, but we’re seeing a jobs bonfire. They need to target their support at the hardest-hit sectors or be responsible for another wave of mass redundancies.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has so far resisted calls to keep the measure open for still-shuttered firms, including those hit by local lockdowns.
“It’s one of the most difficult decisions I’ve had to make in this job,” he told Sky News on Friday. “I don’t think it’s fair to extend this indefinitely, it’s not fair to the people on it. We shouldn’t pretend there is in every case a job to go back to.”
He has set out a “plan for jobs” which includes measures to boost apprenticeships, stimulate eating out and a job retention bonus of £1,000 for every furloughed employee retained in January.
Huge array of planned redundancies revealed
Nearly 1,800 UK companies told the Government of plans to cut 20 or more jobs in June as the coronavirus wreaked havoc on the country’s economy, figures suggest.
Royal Mail, Centrica and The Restaurant Group – which owns Frankie and Benny’s – were among those announcing four-digit job losses.
Figures obtained by the BBC in a Freedom of Information request showed 1,778 companies informed the Insolvency Service of their intention to cut more than 139,000 jobs in England, Scotland and Wales.
This compares to 345 companies announcing a total of 24,000 job losses in June 2019, the broadcaster said.
Businesses are required by law to give the Insolvency Service advance notification of potential redundancies where more than 20 staff are to be dismissed in a “single establishment”.
However, companies may not end up making the same number of redundancies as initially suggested and these figures will not contain information of job losses from smaller firms.
UK headed into full lockdown next month if Boris Johnson doesn't fix ‘disastrous' test and trace, says former top government scientist
Britain could be headed into another full lockdown if Boris Johnson doesn't to sort out the “disastrous” test and trace programme, a former government adviser has said.
Sir David King told the Sunday Mirror the the UK is “nowhere near” the safe reopening of schools, adding: “We need a proper test and trace system by September. Otherwise full school opening will put us right back.”
Sir David, 80, the former chief scientific advisor to Tony Blair who now heads the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies shadowing the PM's scientific team, called on Mr Johnson to “get it right”.
11 coronavirus patients dead in Indian hotel blaze
A fire has killed 11 coronavirus patients at a southern Indian hotel being used as a coronavirus treatment facility, in the country’s second such incident in just four days.
The blaze at the Hotel Swarna Palace in the city of Vijayawada in south-western Andhra Pradesh state broke out early on Sunday morning before being brought under control a few hours later.
Rescue teams evacuated those trapped in the multi-storey building, with 22 people taken to hospital, a police spokesman said, adding that an electrical short-circuit appeared to be the cause of the fire.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his condolences and assured survivors of all possible support.
It comes after eight people were killed in a fire in the intensive care unit of a private Covid-19 designated hospital in Ahmedabad.
Brazil hits 100,000 coronavirus-linked deaths, second only to the US
Brazil has passed a grim milestone of 100,000 deaths related to Covid-19 – with the country showing no signs of halting the disease five months after its first reported case.
The nation of 210 million people has been reporting an average of more than 1,000 daily deaths from the pandemic since late May, and recorded 905 more in the 24 hours to Saturday night, edging its toll into six figures.
The health ministry said there had been a total of 3,012,412 confirmed infections, while Brazil’s death toll sits second only to the United States.
And as in many countries, experts believe Brazil’s numbers are severe undercounts due to insufficient testing.
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Trump signs executive order releasing further coronavirus relief funding
President Donald Trump signed executive orders on Saturday providing additional financial support to Americans hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, after his negotiators failed to reach a deal with Congress.
Trump said the orders would provide an extra $400 per week to the tens of millions thrown out of work during a health crisis that has killed more than 160,000 Americans, less than the $600 per week level passed earlier in the year.
Some of the measures were likely to face legal challenges, as the U.S. Constitution gives Congress authority over federal spending.
“This is the money they need, this is the money they want, this gives them an incentive to go back to work,” Trump said of the lower enhanced unemployment payments.
India hits 2 million cases
India hit another grim milestone in the coronavirus pandemic on Friday as authorities reported more than two million cases.
The country has the third-highest caseload in the world after the United States and Brazil, but its fatality rate of about 2% is far lower than the other hardest-hit countries.
The rate in the US is 3.3% and 3.4% in Brazil, Johns Hopkins University figures showed.
The health ministry said 62,585 cases were reported in the past 24 hours on Friday, raising the nation’s total to 2,027,074. The number of deaths with those suffering from Covid-19 stood at 41,585.
Havana back in lockdown as cases rise
Cuba placed Havana back on a strict lockdown on Saturday following a rebound in coronavirus cases, ordering restaurants, bars and pools once more to close, suspending public transportation and banning access to the beach.
Cuba, which has been hailed as a rare success story in Latin America for its textbook handling and containment of its coronavirus outbreak, had eased lockdown restrictions last month after cases dwindled to but a handful per day.
But they have risen back to April levels over the past two weeks, with the health ministry reporting 59 cases on Saturday and saying the situation could become “uncontrollable” if authorities did not act fast.
“We are witnessing a new epidemiological outbreak that puts our entire population at risk,” Cuban Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said during a daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday.
Cases rise in Arizona
Arizona health officials on Saturday reported 1,054 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 56 more deaths.
The figures from the Department of Health Services increased the state's total confirmed Covid-19 cases to nearly 186,000 and the reported death toll to 4,137. The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.
The hospitalisations for coronavirus and use of intensive care beds and ventilators have been declining since mid-July.
Cases continue to soar in Aberdeen
A coronavirus cluster in Aberdeen has risen to 110 cases, with the number of people required to self-isolate doubling overnight.
A total of 39 new cases have been detected in the NHS Grampian area in the last 24 hours, though the health board said it could not confirm how many were linked to the outbreak.
It said 643 close contacts of detected cases in the cluster have been identified, and will be required to self-isolate.
This is up on the 313 close contacts reported on Friday.
Trump plans to go at relief fund alone after talks with Democrats break down
President Donald Trump on Saturday plans to sign an executive order intended to provide economic relief to Americans hurt by the coronavirus pandemic after the White House failed to reach a deal with Congress, a White House source said.
“Amid congressional inaction, POTUS will be taking action to help Americans in need,” the official told Reuters. Trump is due to give a news conference at his New Jersey golf club at 3:30 p.m. ET (1930 GMT).
Nearly two weeks of talks between White House officials and congressional Democrats ended on Friday with the two sides still about $2 trillion apart on next steps to address the heavy human and economic toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the United States, where it has killed more than 160,000 people.
A $600 per week increase in unemployment payments that has served as a lifeline to the tens of millions of Americans who lost their jobs in the pandemic expired at the end of July. Democrats wanted to extend the payments at that amount, while Republicans wanted to cut them, saying they served as a disincentive to return to work.
Trump on Friday night said he would sign executive orders to extend enhanced unemployment benefits, unilaterally suspend payroll taxes, suspend student loan repayments and rental housing evictions in the coming days.
Face masks mandatory along the banks of the River Seine
Face masks must be worn outdoors in Paris along the banks of the River Seine and along the Canal St Martin as well as in open-air markets and other places where social distancing is difficult, the Paris prefecture said on Saturday.
St Tropez makes masks mandatory
he glamorous French Riviera resort of Saint-Tropez began requiring face masks outdoors Saturday, threatening to sober the mood in a place renowned for high-end, free-wheeling summer beach parties.
More French cities and towns, especially in tourist areas, are imposing mask requirements as the country's coronavirus infections creep up again. More than 2,000 new infections were reported on Friday — the country's biggest single-day rise since May.
The uptick corresponds with France's beloved summer holidays, when vacationers head off in droves, often to the seashore, for festive gatherings with family and friends.
As of Saturday, wearing a mask outdoors was also compulsory in some crowded parts of Marseille, France's second-largest city. Paris is expected to announce similar measures in the coming days. France has already made mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public spaces nationwide.
In Saint-Tropez's famed resort, a top spot for the international jet set, several restaurants had to reclose for two weeks after some staff tested positive for the virus.
Covid-19 cases spike in Ireland
More than 170 new positive cases of coronavirus have been notified in Ireland’s latest daily update.
One further death with Covid-19 and 174 new cases were reported by the Department of Health on Saturday.
It comes as new restrictions are in force for those living in counties Kildare, Laois and Offaly – aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus.
Of the latest cases, the majority (110) are located in Kildare, followed by Dublin (seven), Cork (seven), Offaly (seven) and six in Meath.
One more Covid-19 death in Ireland
One further person with coronavirus in Ireland has died, according to the National Public Health Emergency Team – bringing the national total to 1,772.
In addition, 174 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been notified, bringing the total number of Irish infections to 26,644.
Pubs are ‘perfect storm' for Covid-19
Pubs create the “perfect storm” for spreading coronavirus and carry more risk than planes, according to academics.
Punters drinking together in an indoor pub are potentially subjecting themselves to a build-up of infected droplets caused by poor ventilation and people having continuous conversations, often speaking more loudly to be heard over the din of a noisy bar, the experts warn.
The comments come after households mixing in pubs and homes was blamed for a rise in Covid-19 cases in Preston, resulting in it being the latest area to have lockdown restrictions reimposed.
Aberdeen was also placed in a fresh lockdown after an outbreak of cases linked to a number of bars emerged.
Three Irish counties go into local lockdown
The Garda have urged those living in Kildare, Laois and Offaly to avoid making unnecessary journeys.
The plea comes as new restrictions come into force in the midlands counties aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus.
Taoiseach Micheal Martin announced the measures following a surge of Covid-19 cases, describing Covid-19 as remaining a “deep and urgent threat”.
As the new measures came into force at midnight, the Garda recommenced Operation Fanacht in Kildare, Laois and Offaly, focused on supporting public compliance.
Officers are set to be highly visible, manning checkpoints and a permanent presence on relevant motorways and associated off ramps.