The Town Council and the Police have put out a joint statement asking people not to come to Glastonbury over the May Day/Beltane period. Organisers of both the May 1st Beltane Celebrations and the Dragons Celebrations on May 3rd have cancelled the events and the Road Run will not be taking place. More Info
- The Scottish government published a framework for leaving lockdown and adjusting to a “new normal” of living with Covid-19, increasing pressure on the UK government to a) produce its own plan and b) make clear that it has one. The Scottish document states that easing restrictions won’t mean life returning to normal. Some of the details include: crucial behaviours including physical distancing and hand-washing will remain essential; those most at risk will continue to be shielded; workplaces and education settings would need to be redesigned to enable proper physical distancing; restrictions could be lifted and then re-imposed at short notice; and restrictions would likely be lifted in stages. The priority, it says, is minimising overall harm. The report earned Nicola Sturgeon praise from the likes of George Osborne, the former Tory chancellor, who said the UK government should “treat the public like adults” by adopting the same approach.
- Essential workers will be able to book their own free tests online from Friday, Matt Hancock announced. The health secretary said key workers will be able to go on the gov.uk website to book tests for themselves and their relatives, the whole process will be free and the results will be sent out by text. He added that anyone unable to go online can book through their employer.
- The UK government is introducing a contact tracing app and is also recruiting 18,000 people to work on manual contact tracing. Hancock said this figure would include 3,000 clinicians and the 18,000 workers would be trained over the coming weeks. The former Tory health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who has led calls for the implementation of a mass contact tracing programme, said the announcement signalled “a clear exit route from the lockdown”.
- 48 mobile laboratories are planned to be up and running to help the testing effort by the end of the month, the lobby briefing heard. The PM’s spokesman said there are four already operating as well as 28 drive-through testing centres. The plan is for this to be extended to 48 by the end of April and for each testing centre to have a mobile lab attached to it.
- Around a quarter of firms may have halted trading since the lockdown, findings from an ONS survey suggested. But only 0.3% said they had permanently ceased trading. Since the lockdown was announced on 23 March, some 82% of firms surveyed in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector said they had temporarily stopped trading. Among businesses still trading, 93% said turnover was lower than normal, and 60% said they had sufficient financial resources available.
- Bank of England warns of worst slump ‘in centuries’. One of the Bank of England’s top policymakers has said the UK faces potentially its worst economic shock in several hundred years. The virus and the lockdown have caused both a supply shock and a demand shock, with some sectors being much worse hit than others.
National updates from https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/2020/apr/23/coronavirus-live-news-update-covid-19-face-masks
- US may never restore WHO funding, says Pompeo. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, told Fox News on Wednesday night that the US may never restore funding to the World Health Organization . Before Donald Trump announced last week that he was freezing donations to the UN health body, the US was its largest donor.
- Italy reports 464 new deaths from coronavirus. Italy registered 464 new deaths on Thursday, an increase of 27 on the previous day. This brings the country’s death toll to 25,549. The number of people currently infected with the virus fell for a fourth day in a row, by 851 to 106,848, while the number of people recovered increased by 3,033.
- Africa’s malaria deaths ‘could double during Covid-19 disruption’. The World Health Organization has said deaths from malaria could double across sub-Saharan Africa this year if work to suppress the disease is disrupted by Covid-19. If countries fail to maintain supplies of treated nets and antimalarial medicines, up to 769,000 people could die of malaria, marking a return to mortality levels last seen 20 years ago.
- Indonesia bans all domestic air and sea travel until June. To prevent further spread of the coronavirus, Indonesia has ordered a ban on air travel until 1 June, while travel by sea will be prohibited until 8 June. Cargo transportation is exempted from the ban.
- France to unveil lockdown exit plan next week. Emmanuel Macron has told mayors in France that a plan to unwind the country’s lockdown will be revealed around Tuesday next week. France has been in lockdown since mid-March. Restaurants, bars and cafes will not open immediately, and travel restrictions within the country are expected to remain in place for a while yet.
- 4.4 million more Americans sign on as unemployed. Another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, adding to a total of more than 26 million since the pandemic shut down the US and large parts of its economy. Millions more are expected to file in the coming weeks as there is a backlog of claims.
- Muslim world prepares for Ramadan under lockdown. This year mosques will remain closed for evening prayers and feasting will be confined to family homes. Some countries have made adjustments for the month of Ramadan, with Egypt shortening its night-time curfew by an hour and the United Arab Emirates by two hours.
- Greece extends lockdown. Greece is extending lockdown measures by a week, to 4 May. The country has been in lockdown since 22 March and has announced 2,408 confirmed cases and 121 deaths, with 55 people remaining in intensive care.
International updates from https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/23/coronavirus-latest-at-a-glance-23-april