COVID-19 UPDATE: Thursday 26 March
Rishi Sunak has outlined a scheme designed to be ‘deliverable and fair’ and targeted at the people who need it most in today’s Downing Street briefing.
Financial aid for self employed
Mirroring the scheme offered to furloughed employees, those who earn the majority of their income from self-employment will be able to apply for a grant of up to £2,500 a month to help them cope with the financial impact of coronavirus.
Mr Sunak expects the lump sum payments to arrive with applicants at the start of June. There are other initiatives, such as council tax holidays, which should help in the intervening period.
As an aside, the chancellor indicated that he is no longer comfortable with the self employed paying less tax than employed people – and suggested this will need to be looked at in the future.
Deputy Chief Medical Officer - social distancing bites
Social distancing measures are providing a helpful movement towards a gentler slope – lessening the spike – in the increase of coronavirus cases and will help us understand the movement of the disease in the coming months.
London Hospitals experiencing a tsunami of cases
There have been media reports that NHS bosses are warning of a ‘tsunami’ of patients as the number of infected patients need hospitalisation.
The number of beds has been increased significantly, but in London, the number of very sick patients is growing – as is the number of NHS staff unable to work due to the virus – with 30% to 50% absent from some trusts.