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30/03/20 COVID-19 Global News Update

30 March 2020
Overview of the latest developments on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

International

Australia to promise wage subsidies in bid to shelter economy from coronavirus - sources

Mar 30th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

The Australian government will on Monday promise to subsidise employee wages for up to six months, two sources familiar with the plan said, as it seeks to shelter the country’s economy from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Morrisons gives food banks £10m during coronavirus outbreak

Mar 29th, 2020viaGuardian UK - Business

Supermarket chain Morrisons is to distribute £10m worth of food to the UK’s food banks during the coronavirus outbreak by producing more fresh items from its own manufacturing sites and bolstering deliveries from its stores.

Coronavirus: Top central banker calls on governments and banks to do even more

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The head of the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has urged governments and central banks to do more to aid their economies threatened by the coronavirus crisis. On Sunday, Agustín Carstens, general manager of the BIS, an umbrella organisation founded to foster cooperation between the world’s central banks, said more ...

South Africa's treasury announces tax relief for business hit by coronavirus

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - Financial Services News

South Africa’s National Treasury said on Sunday it was introducing a new tax subsidy of 500 rand ($28) per month to employers for the next four months to cushion financial losses suffered by firms due to the coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Airlines ‘entering danger zone’

Mar 29th, 2020viaBBC News - Business

A group of 38 MPs has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak urging him to take steps to support airlines during the coronavirus pandemic. Aviation bosses have been lobbying the government for a targeted aid package to stop firms going under as a result of the slump in travel demand.

Which companies are coming through during the coronavirus crisis?

Mar 29th, 2020viaGuardian - Banking

The dramatic effect of the coronavirus on the British economy has posed serious challenges for the country’s companies and their employees.

Carmakers churn out machines, masks to help fight coronavirus

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

Auto companies and suppliers around the world are ramping up production of critical healthcare products and machines - everything from cloth face masks to sophisticated ventilator systems - to meet a critical shortage of those items at hospitals and care facilities in North America, Europe and Asia.

IMF's Georgieva urges countries to 'go big' with coronavirus rescue spending

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

The coronavirus has already driven the global economy into recession and countries must respond with “very massive” spending to avoid a cascade of bankruptcies and emerging market debt defaults, the head of the International Monetary Fund warned on Friday.

UK

Coronavirus sets UK on course for deepest recession since 2008

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The UK is set for the deepest recession since the 2008 financial crisis as the coronavirus pandemic ravages the economy.

Coronavirus: Welsh government to announce £1.1bn funding

Mar 29th, 2020viaBBC - Wales

A £1.1bn funding package to help businesses come through the coronavirus crisis is set to be unveiled later. First Minister Mark Drakeford will announce the details at the Welsh Government's daily press conference.

Coronavirus forecast to cut UK economic output by 15%

Mar 29th, 2020viaGuardian UK - Business

UK economy can bounce back – but don't expect boom-boom Britain.

Retailers urge government to release tax rebates amid coronavirus crisis

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - News

UK retailers have urged the government to approve billions of pounds worth of tax rebates to help cash flow as businesses battle to stay afloat amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus: Thousands of UK pubs and restaurants at risk of collapse

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - News

Thousands of UK pubs and restaurants could collapse due to coronavirus, as the latest research showed that insolvencies in the sector spiked before the outbreak.

New FCA boss to hold crisis coronavirus meeting with banks

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The interim boss of the City watchdog is set to hold crisis talks tomorrow with the Bank of England and the heads of the high street banks to try and plot a course through the economic chaos triggered by coronavirus.

UK broadband providers lift data caps during coronavirus crisis

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

Britain’s big telecoms providers have agreed to remove all data caps on fixed-line broadband services that have become a lifeline for people isolated at home during the coronavirus crisis, the government said on Sunday.

SNP urges UK government to 'hit pause' on Brexit due to coronavirus

Mar 29th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

The SNP is urging the UK government to "hit pause" on Brexit negotiations and seek to extend the transition period. It has urged the UK government to focus on the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 100 British companies halt dividend payments due to coronavirus pandemic

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

More than 100 British companies have postponed or ditched dividend payments in a bid to preserve cash for what could be a lengthy enforced shutdown of large parts of the UK and global economy due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus: Employees can defer annual leave for two years, says business secretary

Mar 28th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

Employees unable to take all their annual leave this year due to the coronavirus pandemic will be allowed to carry it over for two years, the business secretary announced on Saturday.

'News is a public service': Government urged to intervene to help save newspapers during coronavirus crisis

Mar 28th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

Journalism should be designated 'essential service' status and reporters considered key workers, report says.

Fitch cuts UK's rating on coronavirus debt surge

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

Ratings agency Fitch cut Britain’s sovereign debt rating on Friday, saying the country’s debt levels would jump as the government ramped up its spending to offset the near shutdown of the economy in the face of coronavirus.

Carluccio's left on the brink as coronavirus threatens to cause permanent closures

Mar 28th, 2020viaCity AM - News

Italian restaurant chain Carluccio’s is in danger of collapse as it warned it was facing permanent branch closures. The company is working with administrators as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll.

British retailers and manufacturers in 'wartime effort' to fight Covid-19

Mar 28th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Business

British industry has thrown its weight behind the fight against Covid-19 in a wartime-style effort to churn out protective masks, hand sanitiser and medical ventilators.


Day-to-Day Impact

Coronavirus message not reaching sections of society – police chief

Mar 30th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Some people in the UK are still not getting the message about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic and the government needs to be more inventive with its information campaign, a police chief has said.

Coronavirus: Volunteers requested to help NI schools stay open

Mar 30th, 2020viaBBC World - Northern Ireland

Volunteers are being sought by the Department of Education (DE) to help schools stay open during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools across NI are to remain open if possible to care for the children of key workers and vulnerable children.

Government cracks down on spread of false coronavirus information online

Mar 29th, 2020viaGov.UK - Government - Announcements

Specialist units are operating to combat misinformation about coronavirus and five to ten incidents are being identified and tackled each day.

Coronavirus: Thousands of council staff moved to the frontline

Mar 29th, 2020viaBBC News - Somerset

Tens of thousands of UK council staff are set to be redeployed in "critical" roles during the coronavirus crisis. Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the closure of hundreds of local authority-run facilities from gyms to historic bath houses.

Coronavirus: Domestic abuse victims can leave home to access help during lockdown, Priti Patel says

Mar 29th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

Domestic abuse victims are permitted to leave home to escape their partners or ask for help during the coronavirus lockdown, the home secretary has clarified.

EU citizens in UK at risk of becoming illegal as coronavirus response prioritised

Mar 29th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Campaigners fear that EU citizens who have made their homes in the UK are at risk of becoming illegal as the government diverts resources to fight coronavirus. Under current rules, all EU citizens have until June 2021 to apply for settled status.

Government set to cap university admissions amid Covid-19 chaos

Mar 29th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Education

Strict limits on the number of students that each university in England can recruit are set to be imposed by the government in an effort to avoid a free-for-all on admissions, with institutions plunged into financial turmoil as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian has learned.

Britons warned some coronavirus lockdown measures could last months

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - UK News

Some lockdown measures to combat coronavirus in Britain could last months and only be gradually lifted, a senior medical official said on Sunday as Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the situation will get worse before it gets better.

Monthly poll seeks to gauge mental health of UK under coronavirus

Mar 29th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Health

A mental health charity has teamed up with academic institutions across the UK to monitor the psychological wellbeing of the nation as the coronavirus pandemic sweeps around the world.

Coronavirus: NHS warned in 2016 it could not handle a severe pandemic

Mar 29th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The NHS failed a major stress test three years ago to see if it could cope with a severe pandemic, but the results were never made public.

Northern Ireland brings in tough measures to fight coronavirus

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - UK News

Northern Ireland will introduce “sweeping new powers” to combat the spread of coronavirus from 2300 GMT on Saturday, with many restrictions on businesses tougher than the rest of the United Kingdom.

Boris Johnson will write to every UK household with coronavirus advice

Mar 28th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

Boris Johnson is to write to 30m households across the UK to urge them to stay at home and protect the NHS. A letter from the Prime Minister will be posted to homes across all four UK nations from next week and outline the latest coronavirus advice.

Coronavirus: NHS turns to big tech to tackle Covid-19 hot spots

Mar 28th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

The NHS has confirmed it is teaming up with leading tech firms to ensure critical medical equipment is available to the facilities most in need during the coronavirus outbreak..

UK minister for Scotland self-isolating with possible coronavirus symptoms

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Top News

Britain’s Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack has developed mild symptoms consistent with coronavirus and is self-isolating, a spokeswoman for his ministry said on Saturday. Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Friday they had tested positive for the virus.

Coronavirus: 'Urgent' need for better Wales-UK communication

Mar 28th, 2020viaBBC - Wales

Companies are losing time and business due to a lack of communication between the Welsh and UK governments, a business group says. The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Wales said the problem must be resolved "as a matter of urgency" due to the problems caused by coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Scotland may release prisoners close to end of sentences

Mar 28th, 2020viaPrisons and probation | The Guardian

Prisoners approaching the end of their sentences could be released from next week, as the Scottish government moves to prevent an “increasingly alarming” coronavirus crisis in the country’s jails.

Coronavirus testing to be rolled out for frontline NHS staff this weekend

Mar 28th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

NHS staff in England are set to be tested for coronavirus from this weekend in an effort to prevent frontline healthcare workers from being required to take unnecessary time off. Those with symptoms or in a household with people who have symptoms will be checked as a priority.


Global Situation

Trump extends US coronavirus measures beyond Easter

Mar 30th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

President Donald Trump has warned US coronavirus restrictions could stay in place until at least 30 April, extending measures such as social distancing. Trump had previously hinted at relaxing US coronavirus rules by Easter, which arrives on 12 April, to revive the economy.

Drop in China's new coronavirus cases; none in Wuhan for sixth day

Mar 30th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

China reported a drop in new coronavirus infections for a fourth day as drastic curbs on international travellers reined in the number of imported cases, while policymakers turned their efforts to healing the world’s second-largest economy.

South Korea coronavirus cases rise steadily, more financial aid expected

Mar 30th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

South Korea reported 78 new coronavirus cases on Monday, keeping the rate of infections fairly steady, as President Moon Jae-in held an emergency meeting with economic policymakers to discuss financial support for the public.

Argentina extends coronavirus quarantine until mid April

Mar 30th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said on Sunday that the country would extend a mandatory nationwide quarantine period until the middle of April in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed over 30,000 people worldwide.

Australia limits public movement to capitalize on slowing coronavirus rates

Mar 30th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

Australian officials will use fines and the threat of jail to enforce a new rule limiting public gatherings to two people, as the country’s coronavirus infection rate slowed but the death toll crept higher.

Germany's coronavirus support will last two months, think tank tells paper

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

Germany’s 750 billion euro (669.8 billion pounds) package to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Europe’s largest economy will last for about two months, an independent economics think tank told a German newspaper group.

Moscow orders partial lockdown as coronavirus cases in the capital pass 1,000

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Authorities in the Russian capital announced a partial lockdown, ordering residents to stay at home from Monday in their toughest move yet to slow the spread of coronavirus after the number of official cases in Moscow passed the 1,000 mark.

Spain toughens restrictions as coronavirus death toll surges

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Spain prepared to enter its third week under near-total lockdown on Sunday, as the government approved a strengthening of measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus and the death toll rose by 838 cases overnight to 6,528.

Saudi Arabia expands lockdown as coronavirus death toll doubles

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Saudi Arabia halted entry and exit into Jeddah governorate on Sunday, expanding lockdown rules as it reported four new deaths from a coronavirus outbreak that continues to spread in the region despite drastic measures to contain it.

Ireland to roll out voluntary phone tracker app to tackle coronavirus

Mar 29th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Ireland’s government is to roll out a voluntary phone-tracking app to alert users if someone they have been in contact with develops COVID-19, its health service said on Sunday, two weeks before the pandemic is expected to peak in the country.

Canada to stop people with COVID-19 symptoms boarding domestic flights, trains

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada will not allow anyone displaying symptoms of the COVID-19 respiratory illness to board domestic flights or inter-city passenger trains, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Saturday, the latest travel restriction aimed at curbing the coronavirus outbreak. Trudeau’s government has long urged Canadians feeling ill to ...

UAE extends nightly curfew, Qatar reports first coronavirus death

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

The United Arab Emirates extended on Saturday to April 5 a nightly curfew to sterilise public places to combat the coronavirus as neighbouring Qatar reported its first death from the disease.

Ireland may ease coronavirus restrictions from mid-April

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

Ireland hopes to be in a position in two weeks to tweak or remove some of its new highly restrictive coronavirus-related measures if it can slow down the rate of admissions to intensive care units, Health Minister Simon Harris said.

Russia prepares to shut all borders as coronavirus cases soar

Mar 28th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Russia will close all border crossings on March 30, the government said on Saturday, tightening restrictions after the country reported its biggest one-day rise in new coronavirus cases.

How Unicef is helping those in the hardest-to-reach places during the coronavirus pandemic

Mar 28th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

As the coronavirus continues to spread, Unicef is reminding the public of the importance of hand washing as a key preventive measure, and urging renewed efforts around the world to provide access to this most basic of health interventions.


Legal Developments

Coronavirus sends justice system into 'meltdown' as criminal court case backlog passes 37,000

Mar 29th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

The criminal justice system is going into “meltdown” because of coronavirus and a huge backlog of cases caused by government cuts, lawyers have said.


Official Guidance/Reports

Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do

Mar 29th, 2020viaCabinet Office (gov.uk) - All Content

Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.

New advice to support mental health during coronavirus outbreak

Mar 29th, 2020viaGov.UK - Government - Announcements

People struggling with their mental health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be offered additional online support and practical guidance to help them cope.

Guidance: COVID-19 and renting: guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities

Mar 28th, 2020viaGov.UK News

Non-statutory guidance for landlords, tenants and local authorities in the private and social rented sectors in the context of Coronavirus (COVID-19).


Further Reading