COVID-19 UPDATE – Tuesday 14 April
As Boris Johnson recovers from COVID-19, today’s briefing from Downing Street was led by the chancellor of the exchequer, Rishi Sunak.
He was joined by Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England's medical director, and Professor Yvonne Doyle, from Public Health England.
- The chancellor said the strategy which will best protect the economy is to protect people’s health.
- He reiterated a previous warning that the government will not be able to protect every business and every household in the UK.
- Stephen Powis stated that new infections and the number of people admitted to hospital with the virus are “plateauing.” But that it is importance for people not to take their “foot off the pedal”. We must continue to follow advice.
We’re experiencing “tough times”
Rishi Sunak started with a comment on today's economic outlook from the UK Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). He said that "these are tough times".
He added that the OBR has stated clearly that the impact to the economy would have been "much worse" if the government had not implemented its current strategy.
Rishi Sunak added that the government is not choosing between the health of people and the health of the economy. To fail to take action to protect people’s health would be “self defeating”.
He stated the government’s wish to ensure everyone has "economic opportunity" when this crisis is over.
Coronavirus deaths in the community
Yvonne Doyle, from Public Health England, answered a question about recording deaths in the care sector. It is “bit more complicated” she said, but they are "working towards" collating daily, timely data on every death in the UK. Rishi Sunak described this as a “logistical challenge”.
Rishi Sunak asserted that he has not forgotten people living and working in care homes.
Firms should be able to access furlough scheme on 20 April
The portal for the furlough scheme should open “on or around” 20 April to allow firms to honour April's payroll, said Rishi Sunak.