Latest from the PM’s daily update and the GOV website on the coronavirus in the UK.
Main points from the press conference on 19th March
- When asked about timescales the PM indicated the ‘we can turn the tide in 12 weeks and send Covid-19 packing but only if we all take steps.’
- 1st British coronavirus patient having trial tests.
- Trial vaccine within a month.
- Negotiating to buy antibody test and increase testing to 250,000.
- The PM’s message to businesses was ‘to stand by your employees because we will stand by you.’
- The PM indicated that more measures for businesses will be announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, tomorrow.
- No restriction on travel in London.
- if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started.
- if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.
- for anyone else in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- if you can, move any vulnerable individuals (such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions) out of your home, to stay with friends or family for the duration of the home isolation period
- if you cannot move vulnerable people out of your home, stay away from them as much as possible
Economic Support (No new measures – new online details on eligibility and access)
Specific measures to support businesses are as follows:-
- a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs. The new SSP Regs have been amended to clarify the position (see below).
- a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
- small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
- grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
- the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme offering loans of up to £5 million for SMEs through the British Business Bank
- a new lending facility from the Bank of England to help support liquidity among larger firms, helping them bridge coronavirus disruption to their cash flows through loans
- the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme
As at the time of writing (7pm on 19th March 2020) no new guidance for educational settings. Although the guidance below is said to have been updated today, the only change is amendments to the poster that schools should display.
We still await guidance on definition of ‘keyworkers’, despite the announcement yesterday that the Cabinet would publish details today.
Schools in England to close after Friday ‘until further notice’ for most pupils except:-
- those of ‘key workers’ – i.e. ‘NHS staff, police, social care workers and delivery drivers.’ A fuller definition is expected later but no further details were given.
- ‘Vulnerable children’ – those who have a social worker or Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP).
New guidance was published by the Department for Education – Covid-19: free school meal guidance for schools.
The general coronavirus guidance is here:-