Boris Johnson’s plans to ease lockdown restrictions in England has made Government scientific advisers uneasy as there are 8,000 new coronavirus infections daily. They fear that easing restrictions now could lead to a second wave.
SAGE scientist John Edmunds, a professor of infectious disease modelling at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “We cannot relax our guard by very much at all.”
The warning was echoed by Director of the Wellcome Trust Jeremy Farrar, who also sits on the committee.
Speaking out on Twitter, he said: “COVID-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England.
“I agree with John and clear science advice.
“TTI has to be in place, fully working, capable and dealing any surge immediately, locally responsive, rapid results and infection rates have to be lower, and trusted.”
Yesterday it was revealed the UK remain on level 4 of the COVID Alert system despite the Prime Minister reducing lockdown measures in England from Monday.
Mr Johnson previously said he would not relax measures until England was at level 3.
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8.47am update: Russia now has third largest outbreak in the world
Russian officials said 8,952 new infections had been confirmed in the country over the past 24 hours, bringing the national tally to 396,575, the third highest reported total in the world after the United States and Brazil.
On Saturday it reported 181 deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, down from the record 232 deaths registered the previous day and pushing the nationwide death toll to 4,555.
8.20am update: Fears of mass redundancies in months to come
There are fears unemployment will surge when the furlough scheme which has been implemented by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak comes to an end in October.
Currently the Government has agreed to pay 80 percent of wages for those unable to work during the coronavirus pandemic. The amount paid by the Treasury will drop in August as employers are asked to contribute to towards salaries of those unable to work before the scheme is stopped completely in the autumn.
However, Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham as warned “a huge number of businesses will go bust.”
He said: “I have got a night-time economy adviser in Greater Manchester and he texted me yesterday after the Chancellor’s announcement to say that the stopping of the furlough scheme in October will lead to huge redundancies in the hospitality sector.
“And, I would say, it almost undermines the point of having the furlough scheme in the first place.”
7.50am update: Pubs could be serving pints again in just four weeks
Pubs with beer garden could re-open as soon as July, a Government minister admitted yesterday.
Speaking about how the UK’s unwinding of lockdown would likely continue in the mon the ahead, Environment Secretary George Eustice implied pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating would be the first in businesses in the hospitality sector to open.
He said: “The sectors that are going to have the greatest challenge getting back to work, which we recognise, and I’m sure the Chancellor recognises this too, the hospitality sector and some of those other ticketed venues, in particular cinemas and in particular theatres, restaurants and pubs, will also face a challenge getting back into operation.
“And that is why we won’t be loosening the restrictions on them until at least July and even then it is likely that in the case of pubs and restaurants it will begin with beer gardens and outdoor areas only.”
7.35am update: Trump attacks WHO as China’s puppet as he vows to end US relationship
The United States will end its relationship with the World Health Organization over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, US President Donald Trump said on Friday, accusing the UN agency of becoming a puppet of China.
The move to quit the Geneva-based body, which the United States formally joined in 1948, comes amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing over the coronavirus outbreak.
The virus first emerged in China’s Wuhan city late last year.
Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump said Chinese officials “ignored their reporting obligations” to the WHO about the virus – that has killed hundreds of thousands of people globally – and pressured the agency to “mislead the world.”