Britons, royals and celebrities temporarily emerged from the UK-wide lockdown at 8pm to take part in an emotional applause in appreciation at the brave work of our healthcare workers on the COVID-19 frontline. The Prime Minister, Prince Charles and David Beckham were among a string of high-profile figures who came together in the nationwide Clap For Carers campaign. The British spirit in tackling the virus has been shown after more than 600,000 people signed up to become a volunteers for the NHS – exceeding the 250,000 target in just 24 hours.
The Clap for Carers campaign came just hours after the UK recorded more than 100 coronavirus-related deaths in a single day – the highest daily count since the outbreak began.
The Department of Health confirmed a total of 578 people have died from coronavirus in the UK – a rise of 103 in the past 24 hours.
Across Britain 11,658 people have now tested positive for COVID-19.
The Prime Minister took the unprecedented step to place the whole of the UK on lockdown on Monday and only permitted the public to leave their homes for food, medical supplies, work and exercise.
The draconian measures were reluctantly enforced by Boris Johnson who had drawn criticism for the timing of the restrictions compared to the rest of Europe.
Former Health Secretary and Tory leadership rival Jeremy Hunt said the Government left it “too late” to declare a national emergency.
Mr Johnson was also accused of giving conflicting advice to the public at the critical start of the outbreak in the UK.
Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science at Warwick Business School, said: “I think the main problem with the initial advisory measures, before Monday’s full lock-down, was mixed messages.
“It is hard to believe that it is really crucial not to go the pubs and cafes when they are allowed to stay open.
“A second problem is that the scale of the crisis, and our individual role in addressing it, is only now being clearly communicated by Government.”
The Government has however received widespread praise from industry professionals by acting to safeguard employees and businesses during the economic downturn.
At the daily press conference from Downing Street the Chancellor unveiled a £9 billion package for the self-employed.
Rishi Sunak said a grant of up to £2,500 a month would be made available from June.
Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell praised the scheme but warned the three-month delay could put workers health at risk.
He said: “My worry is that if people cannot get access to the scheme until June it will simply be too late for millions.
“People need support in the coming days and fortnight.
“So there is a real risk that without support until June the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others’ health at risk.”
Published at Fri, 27 Mar 2020 08:56:00 +0000