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04 Jun 2020


Following his appearance in the Chamber yesterday Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus after developing symptoms. The Prime Minister opened the virtual Global Vaccine Summit 2020 in London. The summit aims to help fund vaccinations worldwide. The Prime Minister urged countries to unite to combat the virus. The summit aims to raise the funds that the Vaccine Alliance, needs to protect over 300 million children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio. More than 50 countries and organisations have come together to secure funding for GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance.

Ex MI6 boss Sir Richard Dearlove has said he believes that COVID-19 began as an accident in a Chinese laboratory. Professor Robert Dingwall, a member of a sub-group of Sage has criticised the quarantine for travellers to the UK. He said that “we would really need to get the level [R] in this country significantly further down before quarantine started to become a useful measure.” He believed any quarantine would have to be "targeted on countries with a significantly higher level of community transmission than ourselves - and there aren't too many of those.”

Labour Shadow Minister Barry Gardiner has come under criticism for breaking lockdown rules to attend the demonstration regarding US police brutality. This follows Mr Gardiner’s criticism of Mr Cummings alleged lockdown breaches. Labour MP Lisa Nandy described Mr Gardiner’s actions as ‘dangerous and wrong.’ Mr Gardiner confirmed that he had tested negative for the virus this week. Some Conservative MPs have called for those MPs who attended the protest to self-isolate.

In Parliament, Gill Furniss, Labour's shadow women and equalities minister has called on the Government to "take action" on the disproportionate effect Covid-19 has on those from black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds. Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani also raised the issue of unequal access to PPE among health workers of different races. Ms Ghani said: "The lack of leadership in Public Health England and NHS England has been shamefully exposed with BAME health workers dying at a greater rate." Responding for the Government, Women and Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch said there were “areas that needed to be addressed.”

At the Daily Press Conference Mr Shapps said that people using public transport from 15 June would have to wear face coverings.

Daily Press Conference

Grant Shapps led the daily press conference accompanied by Sir Peter Gerard Hendy, the chairman of Network Rail. There have been significant falls in the use of public transport and motor vehicles during and immediately preceding the lockdown. Motor vehicle use is now increasing but not to the pre crisis level. Cycling has increased substantially.

  • 281,661 cases confirmed in total.
  • Over 5 million tests have now been conducted.
  • 220,057 tests carried out and posted out as of yesterday.
  • 1,805 new cases yesterday.
  • 505 people have been admitted to hospital on 2 June up from 475 last week.
  • 176 daily Covid-19 deaths confirmed with a test.
  • 39,904 total Covid-19 deaths confirmed with a test.

Covid-19 still represents a very real threat. There are too many people nationwide losing loved ones. The road to recovery needs to be managed cautiously to prevent a second infection spike. The Government have ensured transport availability was increased pre easing restrictions. They have invested £2 Billion in cycling and walking and scooter trials this month. Passenger numbers are now ticking up and challenges will now increase.

Expect non-essential shops to re-open on 15 June and some secondary schools will re-open. Will increase transport before this. Three points he wanted to highlight.

  1. If you can work from home then do so. If you can’t work from home you should avoid public transport especially around rush hour.
  2. On 15th June face coverings will be mandatory for those using public transport. Face coverings don’t need to be medical standard, they can be home made.
  3. Cycle use has increased on weekdays by 100% compared to pre Covid-19. The Government will introduce a £50 fix your bike scheme later this month. Cycle to work scheme extended to e-bikes.

Will make these regulations under national conditions for travel regulations – can be refused travel if you don’t comply and can be fined. Most people will comply because want to protect others. Staff will have to wear face coverings and the Government will work with the unions on this. These measures apply in England but working with devolved administrations on this. The Government are bringing forward green transport improvements, to transform the country in to a lower carbon country. UK has led the way on transport innovation and will again. Stand on the verge of a green transport revolution.

Answers to questions

In answer to a question on how will renters be protected when the ban on evictions ends Mr Shapps said the Government were helping people to get back in to work and there was support under the furlough scheme now. On holiday refunds they can offer a voucher or the money back but if you want the money back they have to give it. On face coverings Mr Shapps said that it would be a condition of travel to wear a face covering and it would be enforced.

Ex commissioner for Transport Sir Peter Gerard Hendy said that he led the ban on alcohol on London transport and he found that people who use public transport tend to be sensible, he is not expecting a huge upsurge in railway staff having to police the face covering policy. Mr Shapps said it would be advertised in advance. Mr Shapps said an earlier introduction in quarantine rules for people entering the country did not make a big difference in the United States or Italy. The reason it would help in the UK now is because the incidence of the virus in the UK has gone down.

On protections for BAME communities given the impact of the virus on them Mr Shapps said PHE were looking in to it and the full terms of reference of their work were now being published for people to look at. As we come to the next stages of easing the lockdown people need to be very aware of their surroundings and should not put themselves in danger.

On the BEIS Secretary and his illness Mr Shapps said Mr Sharma was working today and awaiting his test result. He said secondary legislation is being passed that is necessary to combat the virus so having Parliament back is essential. The PM has been social distancing and Parliament voted to come back.

On care home deaths the Government has delivered PPE to care homes, originally the homes were responsible for its provision. This is a problem that everyone worldwide has been experiencing and the deaths in care homes in England are lower than some other places. The changes in guidance were made early as they learnt more about the disease. England is below the European average for care home deaths.

On devolved administrations he said they had the power to do something different on things such as rail travel but in practice the home nations tend to agree on similar action. Mr Shapps said he could not provide a definitive answer on peoples holiday plans as it depended on progress fighting the virus.

Mr Shapps revealed that 819,000 firms have benefited from grants to try to ensure that businesses remain viable. The Government will prioritise defeating the virus and can then begin to open up more. On the hospitality sector, the Government have provided a lot of support, there is a need to know more about the virus before the UK can open up more.

Government Announcements

  • BEIS: Coronavirus support from Business Representative Organisations and Trade Associations
  • Intellectual Property Office: Alterations to services - trademarks and designs, following the unprecedented disruption caused by Coronavirus and the closure of IPO buildings, there are currently some alterations to the services we provide.
  • HM Treasury: Trade Credit Insurance backed by £10 billion guarantee, Government to provide guarantees of up to £10 billion to Trade Credit Insurance schemes for business-to-business transactions
  • Cabinet Office: The Times reports that the new COVID-19 alert system, the new biosecurity monitoring system and Joint Biosecurity Centre, announced by the Government last month to work on the independent collection and analysis of data on infection rates across the country, will report to Michael Gove's Cabinet Office, not Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
  • Cabinet Office: Has released Guidance on the Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Office for National Statistics: Coronavirus and the latest indicators for the UK economy and society: 4 June 2020, New data and experimental indicators on the UK economy and society, including information related to the coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency: MHRA guidance on coronavirus (COVID-19), Producing guidance and information for industry, healthcare professionals and patients covering the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
  • Ministry of Defence: Due to ongoing COVID-19 precautions, there are changes to Veterans UK services.
  • Department for Education: Had updated its School Governance guidance for maintained schools and academy trusts to add sections relating to coronavirus.
  • Department for Education: Updated planning guide for primary schools to reflect the announcement by the PM about the decision to move forward with a wider opening of education and childcare settings.
  • Department for Transport: Coronavirus (COVID-19): Driver CPC card validity for lorry, bus and coach drivers - Changes to the validity of Driver CPC cards.
  • Companies House: Updated Coronavirus guidance for Companies House customers, employees and suppliers.
  • Public Health England: Released information on the weekly number and percentage of care homes reporting a suspected or confirmed outbreak of COVID-19 to PHE by local authorities, regions and PHE centres.
  • Public Health England: National COVID-19 surveillance reports, including weekly summary of findings monitored through various COVID-19 surveillance systems.
  • Pubs Code Adjudicator: The PCA has reported on its ongoing engagement with the regulated pub-owning businesses about how they are supporting their tenants during Covid-19.
  • HM Revenue and Customs: Guidance on how to pay no import duty and VAT on protective equipment, relevant medical devices or equipment brought into the UK from non-EU countries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.