The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, led today’s daily press conference which was centred around reminding people to comply with the guidance on face coverings on public transport. Transport operators will begin enforcing this rule from Monday, with the ability to fine or refuse a journey to those who do not wear face coverings. Shapps also unveiled a new “Jet Zero” council with the aim of making the aviation industry greener; the council will bring together airlines and environmental groups to reduce aviation emissions so that, within a generation, flights will be able to take place across the Atlantic “without harming the environment”.
In terms of the R rate, the Government Office for Science stated that in some parts of England the rate could have risen above 1, meaning infections are rising. The Office’s estimation is that the rate is between 0.8 and 1.1 across England, with the South West region having the highest estimated R rate. Grant Shapps confirmed in the press conference that the R rate for the whole of the UK was between 0.7 and 0.9.
The UK’s GDP fell 20.4% in April as the economy was paralysed by the lockdown. The Office for National Statistics (ONS), found a decline in activity in virtually all areas, with the services sector shrinking by a fifth and construction output by 40%. This has added to the pressure for the Government to relax the 2-metre rule for social distancing, with former Ministers Damian Green and Iain Duncan Smith both arguing for the 2 metre rule to be reduced.
At the EU Joint Committee meeting Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove confirmed that the UK will not ask for an extension to the EU transition period. The Minister confirmed that the moment to ask for an extension has now passed because it is the last formal meeting of the joint committee before the 1 July deadline. In the Financial Times it is reported that the UK will not introduce full border controls with the EU on 1 January 2021; instead “the government will now introduce a temporary light-touch regime at UK ports such as Dover for incoming EU goods, under both a deal and ‘no-deal’ scenario”.
Daily Press Conference
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary
- Update on coronavirus statistics:
- Across the UK, the R rate is between 0.7 and 0.9 (unchanged from last week).
- Between 25 May and 7 June, 33,000 people are estimated to have had Covid-19 in the community, down from 152,000 in the previous statistics.
- 6,434,713 coronavirus tests have been carried out in the UK, 193,253 of these yesterday.
- 292,950 people have so far tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, an increase of 1,541 on yesterday.
- There were 535 hospital admissions for Covid-19 on 9 June, down from 722 on 2 June (England, Wales, Northern Ireland).
- 393 mechanical ventilator beds are currently occupied with Covid-19 patients, down from 571 on 4 June (UK).
- There are now 5,607 people in hospital with coronavirus in the UK, down from 7,036 from this time last week. Most regions in the UK are broadly following a similar pattern.
- The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths stands at 41,481. 202 of these occurred yesterday.
- On public transport:
- If you can work from home, you should continue to do so.
- If you cannot work from home, you should try to avoid public transport.
- If you must use public transport, you should try to at quieter times of day.
- Employers should do everything possible to prevent their staff from travelling and allow those that do travel to do so at quieter times.
- Face coverings on public transport will become mandatory from Monday. There is huge public support for this.
- Transport operators will be able to refuse permission to travel for those who do not obey the face covering rules. Fines could also be issued.
- Transport operators will deploy “journey makers” to remind travellers of the guidance.
- On green transport:
- There has been £2bn invested in the cycling and walking programme.
- Transport is currently the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
- The Government is bringing together leaders from aviation and environmental groups to form the “Jet Zero” council. The goal is, within a generation, is to carry out flight across the Atlantic without harming the environment.
- We are backing a company to produce biofuels in Lincolnshire.
- For the sake of people’s health, do not attend mass gatherings. Let’s protect lives and livelihoods.
- MHCLG. The High Streets Task Force has announced new training, expert advice and online resources for high streets in England to prepare for reopening.
- Cabinet Office.
- The new border arrangements for Great Britain after the transition period have been confirmed. The level of checks on goods will increase in three stages in 2021.
- Social distancing guidance has been updated to include advice on support bubbles, the FAQs about what you can and can’t do have also been updated to reflect this change.
- HM Revenue & Customs. Guidance to allow people to check which expenses are taxable if your employee works from home due to coronavirus (COVID-19) .
- Department for Education have released Guidance on the following: