Coronavirus UK news – Furlough scheme extended as England enters second national lockdown from TODAY

CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak is poised to extend the furlough scheme pastDecember 2, the day when the second lockdown is due to end.

Bank of England bosses are also expected to pump a massive £150billion of extra money into the economy.

Sources told The Sun that the Bank of England is planning a much bigger programme of quantitative easing than the £100 billion cash injection that it was expected to announce when it gives its latest policy update at 7am tomorrow morning. 

The Sun understands it is likely to be around £150 billion – but could be as high as £200 billion.

Mr Sunak will lay out how the furlough scheme, which was extended until December 2 to pay 80 per cent of wages, will continue to be on offer for future lockdowns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – even if the measures aren’t replicated in England. 

And he is also expected to announce that the 80 per cent wage subsidy scheme will be on offer for specific regions hit by Covid restrictions. 

Follow our coronavirus blog for the latest news and updates

 

  • Jon Rogers

    US RECORDS OVER 100,000 COVID CASES IN A SINGLE DAY FOR THE FIRST TIME

    The US has recorded over 100,000 new coronavirus cases in a single day, since the start of the pandemic.

    The final figure for the past 24 hours is still being calculated as the figures come in.

    The highest toll on the Johns Hopkins tracker was 30 October, with 99,321 cases.

    Nineteen states have recorded more cases in the last week than in any other seven-day stretch.

    The total number of cases is expected to continue growing into the night as more states and counties report data.

  • Jon Rogers

    SNIFFER DOGS MORE RELIABLE THAN TESTS FOR DETECTING EARLY COVID

    Sniffer dogs may be more reliable at detecting people in the early stages of developing the coronavirus than tests.

    Anna Hielm-Björkman started testing her Covid-detection dogs in the field at Helsinki airport and she found they confidently detected people as having the disease.

    But when those people were given a using a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test they came up negative, The Times reports.

    Except, a few days later, those supposedly negative people reported back: they had started getting symptoms.

  • Jon Rogers

    NEW GUIDANCE ON CARE HOME VISITS DISMISSED AS 'WARM WORDS' BY EXPERTS

    Allowing people to visit relatives in care homes through windows or in outdoor settings has been dismissed as “warm words” by care experts, who have criticised the new Government guidance.

    As of Thursday, so-called “ad-hoc” visits will not be allowed although care homes “will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities”, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    The National Care Forum (NCF) acknowledged the “sentiment” of the measures but said extra financial support and practical safety measures were also needed.

    The organisation demanded that the DHSC provide clarity on the guidance, which was issued less than 12 hours before the start of a second, four-week, lockdown in England.

    The guidance cites a number of ways that care home visitors could be accommodated, including having designated visitor pods with floor-to-ceiling screens and separate entrances, and outdoor meet-ups with one other person.

    It also approved visits at windows, “where the visitor doesn't need to come inside the care home or where the visitor remains in their car, and the resident is socially distanced”.

  • Jon Rogers

    SEEK HELP IF YOU NEED IT, GP LEADERS SAY

    Patients should not be deterred by the “stay at home” message if they need to speak to their doctor during England's second lockdown, GP leaders have said.

    The Royal College of GPs urged people to call their doctor's surgery and seek help if they need it, with online consultations and face-to-face appointments available.

    It comes as the NHS in England moved to its highest alert level – Level 4 – at midnight.

    The health service's chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said the move was in response to a “serious situation ahead”, adding there were “22 hospitals' worth” of Covid-19 patients in hospitals in England.

    Data from GPs suggests patients were reluctant to seek help from family doctors during the March and April lockdown over fears about catching Covid-19.

  • Jon Rogers

    ENGLAND NOW IN SECOND LOCKDOWN

    England is now under its second lockdown of the year as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus.

    Pubs, bars and restaurants as well as non-essential shops and services had to close from midnight.

    Even Blackpool's famous illuminations were switched off as the country was plunged back under strict measures to stop the spread of the deadly virus.

    The lockdown which affects some 56million people is due to end on December 2.

  • Jon Rogers

    SUNAK TO EXTEND FURLOUGH PAST DECEMBER 2

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to extend the furlough scheme past December 2.

    The Chancellor is expected to announce the 80 per cent furlough scheme will continue to be on offer in any area of the UK that faces the highest level of Covid restrictions – including Tier 3 areas of England.

    Mr Sunak will lay out how the furlough scheme, which was extended until December 2 to pay 80 per cent of wages, will continue to be on offer for future lockdowns in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – even if the measures aren’t replicated in England. 

    And he is also expected to announce that the 80 per cent wage subsidy scheme will be on offer for specific regions hit by Covid restrictions.

    Read more here.

  • Jon Rogers

    BANK OF ENGLAND TO PUMP £150BN INTO ECONOMY

    BANK of England chiefs are expected to pump around £150 billion of extra money into the economy as England’s second lockdown starts today.

    Sources told The Sun that the Bank of England is planning a much bigger programme of quantitative easing than the £100 billion cash injection that it was expected to announce when it gives its latest policy update at 7am tomorrow morning. 

    The Sun understands it is likely to be around £150 billion – but could be as high as £200 billion.

    It would take its mammoth quantitative easing (QE) bond-buying programme for the Covid crisis to nearly £1 trillion.

    Read more here.

  • Jon Rogers

    REVELLERS ENJOY LAST NIGHT OUT BEFORE LOCKDOWN

    Pubs and bars were packed out in England on Wednesday night as revellers enjoyed their last night before the second lockdown restrictions were brought in.

    Restaurants have to join pubs and bars across the country from midnight in closing for a month.

    Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that the lockdown for England would end “automatically” in four weeks, as he tried to placate party critics over the spiralling economic fallout.

  • Jon Rogers

    CHRISTMAS COVID KILLJOYS URGED TO BACK OFF

    Tory MPs urged ministers to halt the heavy-handed approach to Christmas after police threatened to break up festive family gatherings.

    Former party leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “It’s time for the Government to stand down these jobsworth Christmas turkeys.”

    Many spoke out amid a furious backlash after threats by cops to break up festive family gatherings.

    Ministers admitted for the first time publicly that “families coming together in large gatherings” could be broken up by the law this Christmas.

    Read more here.

  • Jon Rogers

    CARE HOMES TOLD VISITORS & RESIDENTS 'CAN MEET AT WINDOWS & OUTSIDE'

    Care home visitors will be encouraged to meet their loved ones through a window or in an outside setting under new Government guidelines.

    So-called “ad-hoc” visits will not be allowed as England moves into its second national lockdown on Thursday, although care homes “will be encouraged and supported to provide safe visiting opportunities”, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

    The guidelines follow clamour from care organisations and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to ensure visitors are allowed to see their loved ones amid concerns about the emotional damage to residents and their family members.

    In its guidance, issued less than 12 hours before new lockdown measures are introduced, the DHSC cited a number of ways care homes could allow visitors, including having designated visitor pods with floor-to-ceiling screens and separate entrances.

    Outdoor visits with one other person will be permitted, provided the area can be accessed by the loved one without going into the main building.

    It also approved visits at windows, “where the visitor doesn't need to come inside the care home or where the visitor remains in their car, and the resident is socially distanced”.

  • Jon Rogers

    YEOVIL CELEBRATES GUY FAWKES NIGHT EARLY TO AVOID LOCKDOWN

    Locals in Yeovil, Somerset, were treated to an early fireworks display so it wouldn't have to be cancelled due to the coronavirus lockdown.

    The fireworks night was brought forward to tonight from Saturday November 7, so the display could go ahead before the new Covid-19 lockdown comes in at midnight.

  • Jon Rogers

    ASPIRIN COULD HELP COVID PATIENTS RECOVER

    Brits suffering from Covid-19 in hospital will be given aspirin in a new trial to see if the cheap drug prevents lethal blood clotting on the lungs.

    Some studies have shown that nearly 80 per cent of people who die of Covid-19 have thrombosis – or blood clotting – in the lungs, which prevents oxygen from moving through the body and can be fatal.

    Scientists are hopeful that blood thinners, like aspirin, may help avoid the devastating clotting that can lead to death, The Telegraph reports.

  • Jon Rogers

    BRAZIL REPORTS 24,000 NEW COVID CASES

    Brazil reported 23,976 additional confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, and 610 deaths from Covid-19, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

    The South American country has now registered 5,590,025 cases since the pandemic began, while the official death toll has risen to 161,106, according to ministry data, in the world's most fatal outbreak outside the United States.

  • Jon Rogers

    ITALY TO LOCKDOWN SIX REGIONS

    Italy will lockdown a large part of the country, including its northern regions, in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

    Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced that the measures, the most drastic since the nationwide lockdown in March, will take effect on Friday.

    Three of the regions spanned the country’s northwest and included Lombardy, which is the home of Italy’s financial capital Milan, Piedmont and Aosta Valley.

    The southern regions were Calabria, Puglia and the island of Sicily.

    The country will be essentially divided into three levels of infection, dubbed “red, orange and yellow.” Areas that fall into those respective categories will be subjected to automatic restrictions.

  • Jon Rogers

    NINE TORY PEERS BACK 'FATAL MOTION'

    Nine Conservative peers backed the “fatal motion” in an attempt to block the second lockdown for England, according to the division list.

    They were: Viscount Astor, Lord Fairfax of Cameron, Lord Hamilton of Epsom, Lord Mancroft, Baroness Morrissey, Viscount Ridley, Lord Robathan, Viscount Trenchard and Lord Young of Graffham.

    Seventeen independent crossbench peers also supported the motion, including former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Lord Woolf, former High Court judge Baroness Butler-Sloss and former head of the army Lord Dannatt.

    Labour's Baroness Drake and three non-affiliated peers also backed the motion.

    The bid to block the regulations was defeated, with 165 Conservative peers among those who opposed it.

  • Jon Rogers

    CHILE GIVES GO-AHEAD TO ASTRAZENECA COVID VACCINE TRIAL

    Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Wednesday the country's health regulators had given the go-ahead to a clinical trial of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine.

    Pinera said the AstraZeneca trial would follow one by America's Johnson & Johnson that is already underway and another by China's Sinovac, whose first vaccine doses arrived in Chile on Wednesday.

    He said Chile had been working “for months” to ensure sufficient and timely access to COVID vaccines, and hoped to start rolling them out to vulnerable populations “in the first few months of next year.”

    “We all know that a safe, effective and readily-available vaccine to all those who need it will be a huge contribution to the fight against Coronavirus,” he said.

    He said Chile had signed a purchase agreement with Pfizer Inc and Germany's BioNTech SE for 10 million doses of the vaccine they are jointly developing, and was working on similar agreements with AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and Sinovac.

    Chile's government has previously said it had reserved 14.4 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine and incorporated a clause into its agreement for the Sinovac trial for the preferential purchase of 20 million doses.

  • Jon Rogers

    DENMARK TO CULL MINKS AFTER COVID MUTATION SPREADS TO HUMANS

    Denmark will cull its mink population of up to 17 million after a mutation of the coronavirus found in the animals spread to humans, the prime minister said on Wednesday.

    Health authorities found virus strains in humans and in mink which showed decreased sensitivity against antibodies, potentially lowering the efficacy of future vaccines, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said.

    “We have a great responsibility towards our own population, but with the mutation that has now been found, we have an even greater responsibility for the rest of the world as well,” Frederiksen told a news conference.

    The findings, which have been shared with the World Health Organization and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, were based on laboratory tests by the State Serum Institute, the Danish authority dealing with infectious diseases.

    The head of the WHO's emergencies programme, Mike Ryan, called on Friday for full-scale scientific investigations of the complex issue of humans – outside China – infecting mink which in turn transmitted the virus back to humans.

  • Jon Rogers

    NHS WORKERS TAKING PAY DISPUTE TO SCOTTISH PARLIAMENT

    A union will stage a demonstration outside the Scottish Parliament later on Thursday as part of a dispute over the pay deal for NHS workers.

    Unison has invited Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and other MSPs to meet its members to discuss what working conditions have been like during the coronavirus pandemic.

    The union's “pay up now” campaign is calling for the three-year NHS pay deal to be renegotiated in light of the extra costs incurred by healthcare workers.

    Union officials say they are moving to a consultative ballot on industrial action after failing to see progress from the Scottish Government.

    Ms Freeman has said several options are available, including reopening the final year of the current three-year deal.

    Some 25 Unison members are due to take part in the socially distanced demonstration on Thursday.

  • Jon Rogers

    LORDS CLEAR WAY FOR CORONA LOCKDOWN

    Peers have voted against a bid to block the second national lockdown in England.

    Tory former minister Lord Robathan's so-called fatal motion to the regulations was defeated by 30 votes to 376, majority 346.

    From Thursday, pubs, restaurants and non-essential shops will again be forced to close their doors after the Commons voted by 516 to 38 – a Government majority of 478 – for the new restrictions.

    However, in a bigger than expected rebellion, 32 Tory MPs defied the whips to vote against the measures, with two more acting as tellers for the noes.

  • Jon Rogers

    NHS WON'T 'COLLAPSE' UNDER COVID STRAIN

    A health expert has said she was confident the NHS wouldn't “collapse” in the fight against Covid-19 but did warn non-coronavirus treatments were at risk.

    Dr Alison Pittard, dean of the Faculty of Intensive Care Medicine, said it was important that public support for the health service was not undermined by the spread of misinformation.

    “If we don't have the support of the public in the next wave and we hear rumours and quite frankly lies that are being told in the media, that isn't going to help anybody,” she said.

  • Jon Rogers

    CYPRUS UNDER NIGHT TIME CURFEW

    Cyprus has announced it is to bring in a night time curfew starting on Thursday.

    The restrictions will cover the hours between 11pm to 5am and last until November 30.

    On Wednesday, the Mediterranean island reported 166 new cases, bringing the total number of infections to 5,100. There have been 26 deaths.

  • Jon Rogers

    FRANCE REPORTS 40,500 NEW COVID CASES

    France has reported 40,558 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours.

    On Tuesday it recorded 36,330 new cases.

  • Jon Rogers

    ITALY PLACES LOMBARDY AND PIEDMONT IN COVID 'RED ZONE' RESTRICTIONS

    Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has placed the Lombardy and Piedmont regions under tough Covid “Red Zone” restrictions and infections rise.

    The red zone restrictions are the harshest the country has after it introduced yellow, orange and red levels.

    Yesterday Puglia and Sicily were put under orange measures.

    In the red zone areas people are urged to stay indoors as much as possible with all public spaces forced to close.

  • Jon Rogers

    COPS HAND OUT FINES OF £10K AFTER TWO COVID RULE BREACHES IN TWO DAYS

    A man and a woman have been handed fines of £10,000 each after police in Greater Manchester shut down two separate parties in two days for breaching coronavirus regulations.

    Local authorities said the behaviour showed “a level of reckless selfishness that is almost beyond comprehension,” and praised the actions of officers.

    Greater Manchester Police (GMP) were called to a warehouse in Salford on Tuesday evening and dispersed a group of about 200 people who were attending a wedding reception.

    GMP said that screens had also been put up in an attempt to prevent the event – which featured catering, musicians, an MC and sound equipment – from being seen from outside.

    Following the dispersal of guests, a man, believed to be the organiser, was issued with a £10,000 fine for the breach of coronavirus legislation.

    On Monday night officers were called to an address in Bolton following reports of a house party and dispersed a crowd of about 40 people.

    A woman, believed to be the party's organiser, was also issued with a £10,000 fine.

  • Jon Rogers

    LONDON IN GRIDLOCK

    Parts of central London were in gridlock this evening as people fled the capital ahead of the second coronavirus lockdown.

    Traffic along Regent Street came to a virtual stand-still with the lockdown due to start at midnight.

    Pubs, along with restaurants, hairdressers and shops selling non-essential items will have to close Thursday until at least December 2.

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