Ministers launched a brief three-week consultation on plans to allow the drug regulator to allow the use of any vaccine once clinical trials have shown it to be safe.
Meanwhile, the government is launching a media campaign next week to encourage workers to return to their offices in order to save shops in towns and inner cities from closure.
This happened when Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, said she would not support any plan to ‘intimidate people into returning to work’ during the pandemic before employees could return home safely .
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UK death toll rises 9, cases 1,276
Nine other deaths and 1,276 confirmed cases across the UK have been recorded by the Department of Health and Welfare.
This marks a decrease from the 12 deaths and 1,522 cases reported yesterday – despite being the biggest daily increase in cases since June.
Peter Stubley28 August 2020 16:52
What do employees think of returning to the office?
As Boris Johnson prepares to launch his campaign to bring people back to the workplace, office workers across the UK have mixed feelings about switching from working at home to taking public transport and return to city centers.
A report by academics at Cardiff University and the University of Southampton found that 88% of employees who worked from home during the coronavirus lockdown would like to continue doing so to some extent.
But some workers have said that constantly working from home is an “isolating” experience and are eagerly awaiting a return to traditional working life.
Peter Stubley28 August 2020 16:38
Hungary will close the border from Tuesday
An increase in coronavirus cases in Hungary prompted Prime Minister Viktor Orban to order the border closed from September 1.
Tourists will not be able to enter the country, but there are exceptions for business or diplomatic trips, military convoys and the transport of humanitarian aid.
Hungarians returning to the country after this date will have to enter quarantine and will not be able to leave isolation until after two negative Covid tests.
The restrictions were announced today by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas.
Peter StubleyAugust 28, 2020 4:17 PM
Boris Johnson accused of ‘threatening’ workers to return to science-less offices to support plan
The government “threatens” people to return to work without providing adequate workplace safety measures, a group of scientists said.
In a report released Friday, the Independent Sage said “rigorous procedures” had to be put in place to protect vulnerable employees returning to work, adding that the government had “abdicated [its] responsibility ”to ensure safety.
Our political correspondent, Jon Stone, has more on the story below:
Conrad DuncanAugust 28, 2020 3:57 PM
The Bank of England “is not at the end of its power” to face the economic crisis, according to the governor
The Governor of the Bank of England has said the central bank is “not at the end of its tether” to support the UK economy following the dramatic shock caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Bailey told traders in a speech at the Jackson Hole Economic Policy Symposium that the bank had more ammunition to deal with the crisis.
He stressed that the central bank appreciates the need to retain enough “room for maneuver” to deal with future shocks.
“We are by no means short of firepower, and to be honest, it seems from a current perspective we were overly cautious about our remaining firepower before Covid,” Mr Bailey said.
“In the coming decade, I think we have to take into account the message that the Covid crisis has reiterated, namely that our tools can depend on the state in their effects.
“And with that in mind, let’s not ignore the need to manage central bank balance sheets to allow such state contingency to take effect.”
He added, “There are times when we have to go big and go fast. “
The governor took over from the bank in March and almost immediately oversaw a £ 300bn bond purchase program and cut interest rates to a record 0.1%.
He said the bank still has a range of fiscal tools, including negative interest rates, and does not need to tighten monetary policy prematurely.
Conrad Duncan28 August 2020 15:40
Spanish police arrest man for incitement to hatred over ‘coronavirus hoax’ allegations
Spanish police have arrested a man, who claimed the coronavirus pandemic was a hoax, for inciting hatred and violence on several anonymous profiles on social media.
The 38-year-old, who claimed that medical professionals and the media were behind what he called the “COVID prank,” urged his supporters to attack politicians and journalists, police said.
“This would all be resolved with a shot from the back of [Spanish Prime Minister] Pedro Sanchez’s head, ”he wrote in one of his accounts.
In other posts, he said the headquarters of the Spanish doctors’ union should be burned down and described those who believed in the virus as bad and ignorant people who deserved to die, police said.
Authorities said the suspect called nursing homes, hospitals and football clubs to spread false information about the pandemic while posing as a government official.
Police were able to trace the man, described as a “serious danger” to public health, to a location just outside Zaragoza, the regional capital of Aragon.
Conrad Duncan28 August 2020 15:24
Our political correspondent, Jon Stone, has more details below on Labor’s response to government plans to encourage people to return to office:
Conrad DuncanAugust 28, 2020 3:01 PM
British tourists flock to Portugal’s Algarve as quarantine rules lifted
Portugal is sending border control reinforcements to an airport in the Algarve as authorities struggle to deal with a surge in British tourist arrivals following the lifting of quarantine rules last week.
The decision to send more officers to Faro Airport, on Portugal’s south coast, came after a photo shared online by a lawmaker on Thursday showed a long queue of hundreds of tourists without social distancing.
“The airport staff have all been sent home, the airport is not at all prepared for the flood of people arriving,” a Twitter user commented in the photo.
“The British exchanged holidays in Spain and France at the last minute to come to the Algarve.
“Special measures are urgently needed.”
The number of passengers arriving from Britain has increased by 190% since Portugal was removed from the UK government’s quarantine list on August 20, according to the SEF Borders and Immigration Service.
To cope with the surge in arrivals, a total of 12 additional border control officers have been dispatched to Faro airport and 10 more will arrive on September 1, SEF said, adding that from Monday, to other electronic passport doors would also work.
Conrad Duncan28 August 2020 14:46
UK coronavirus reproduction rate remains at 0.9-1.1
United Kingdom reproduction [R] The coronavirus rate has remained between 0.9 and 1.1, indicating that the infection rate is likely either broadly stable or increasing slightly, the government said.
Meanwhile, the latest growth rate for the whole of the UK is between -2% and 1% – meaning the number of new Covid-19 infections is somewhere between a 2% decrease or a 1% growth every day.
Conrad Duncan28 August 2020 14:34
Venezuela uses coronavirus as excuse to quell dissent, report says
Venezuelan authorities have used the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to suppress dissenting voices on social media and in private messages, according to a Human Rights Watch report.
The New York-based group said authorities had targeted dozens of journalists, healthcare workers, human rights lawyers and political opponents who had criticized the government’s response to the pandemic .
“In Venezuela today, you can’t even share a private message criticizing the Maduro government via WhatsApp without fear of being sued,” said Jose Miguel Vivanco, Americas director at Human Rights Watch.
You can find the full story below:
Conrad Duncan28 August 2020 14:17