Main points from the announcement
- Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, delivered today’s update.
- New hospital will open in London on Monday with 2,000 new beds.
- Military operation in place to deliver 7.5 million masks and other PPE.
- 3.5 million antibody test kits purchased and to be deployed.
- Nadine Dorries, the MP who contracted coronavirus, returned to the House of Commons after all clear.
No further announcement in the press conference today.
Following last night’s announcement of a significant lockdown, further guidance has been issued:-
Further businesses and premises to close – This document provides guidance on the closure of all non-essential businesses and premises as part of further social distancing measures. (First published 23 March 2020 10:31pm)
Unfortunately, this document caused a lot of confusion with the statement that ‘Non-essential businesses and premises must now shut.’ This contradicted current guidance that ‘businesses and workplaces should encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible’. At approximately, 1.30pm today, the main Covid-19 Gov Home Page Guidance changed from ‘Only go outside for food, health reasons or essential work’ to ‘Only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home).’
Hopefully, this should clarify the position.
COVID-19: guidance for employees, employers and businesses – Guidance added for local authorities on administering Small Business Grant Fund and Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund. 10:21am, 24 March 2020 AND Added links to the business grant funding guidance, and the expanded retail discount guidance for local authorities. 11:55am, 24 March 2020
Nothing further online regarding furloughed employees.
Latest Guidance (health)
COVID-19: guidance on social distancing and for vulnerable people – Guidance on social distancing for everyone in the UK, including children, and protecting older people and vulnerable people. (Updated 23 March 2020 10:17pm)
The Cabinet Office produced a Procurement Policy Note – Supplier relief due to COVID-19 – This Procurement Policy Note (PPN) sets out information and guidance for public bodies on payment of their suppliers to ensure service continuity during and after the current coronavirus, COVID-19, outbreak. Contracting authorities must act now to ensure suppliers at risk are in a position to resume normal contract delivery once the outbreak is over. (Published 20 March 2020).
This is arguably relevant to recruitment agencies that supply agency workers to schools.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): attendance recording for educational settings – Updated page to include tutorial video for completing the online form (2:30pm, 24 March 2020)
Coronavirus Bill 2019-2021
Not all measures will come into force immediately, but they may be brought in when needed.
- Employees and workers will be able to take emergency statutory volunteer leave in blocks of two, three, or four weeks’ unpaid leave. A UK-wide compensation fund will be established to compensate for loss of earnings and expenses incurred at a flat rate for those who volunteer through an appropriate authority.
On 23 March 2020 the House of Commons Public Bill Committee proposed an amendment to the Coronavirus Bill 2019-2021 which would require the government to introduce “statutory self-employment pay” for the “self-employed” and “freelancers” equivalent to furlough leave for employees and workers.
The amendment proposes that individuals who are self-employed or freelancers would receive a “top-up” to ensure that their net monthly earnings do not fall below the lower of:
- 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years.
- £2,917 per month.
The general coronavirus guidance starts here:-