Coronavirus: Amid second-wave fears, UK PM to encourage remote working
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will, in an address to the nation on Tuesday, tell his countrymen to work from home in the foreseeable future. Evidently, this is seen as an effort to handle the second wave of coronavirus. He will also impose new curbs on bars, pubs, and restaurants. All in all, he will fall a little short of declaring a complete lockdown.
UK's coronavirus problem seemed under control. Now, virus is re-surging
At the time of the press, the number of infections in the UK stood at 398,625 with 41,788 deaths. The country was badly affected in March-April with Johnson himself, contracting the infection. When the spread subsided, the UK emerged from a complete lockdown imposed in March. But in recent days, infections have been increasing by nearly 6,000 daily, a report in AFP claimed.
At this rate, UK could log 50,000 infections/day soon
According to top advisers, the country could see nearly 50,000 infections daily by mid-October, if no concrete steps are taken. Speaking on the situation, Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said, "We are in a bad sense literally turning a corner, although only relatively recently." Urging people to follow distancing guidelines, he warned, "If we don't change course, the virus will take off."
As cases rise, UK getting more firm about self-isolation
Last week, Johnson admitted that parts of the UK were already witnessing the second wave. To ensure the situation doesn't deteriorate more, he ordered that people will be legally bound to self-isolate if they test coronavirus positive, or if the National Health Service (NHS) asks them to do so. A fine of up to £10,000 could also be imposed on defaulters.
Moreover, Johnson likely to drop his "come to office" suggestion
Following the same line of thought and in a bid to urge people to stay indoors, Johnson will ask residents to work from home as much as possible. Interestingly, just weeks ago, he requested people to return to offices. "If it is possible for people to work from home, then we'd encourage them to do so," Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove reportedly stated.
Gove claimed government will make going to office safe
"We need to balance the need for people to work and continue to go to school against taking steps to try and reduce the virus. If people need to be in the office, we will work to make it as safe as possible," Gove added.
After encouraging dining out, UK will put restrictions
The government is also likely to bring back curbs on eating out. Just last month, people were offered discounted meals by the Treasury, in an attempt to help the battered hospitality sector. But from Thursday, eating joints will be asked to shut by 10 pm. There will be a ban on buffets and only table services will be allowed, a report in FT said.
Shares of listed-pubs dropped in anticipation of lockdown, stakeholders fumed
As speculations about partial lockdown surfaced, shares of listed pubs and restaurant groups dived significantly. The Chief Executive of pub group Fuller's, Simon Emeny, was particularly upset with the plans, saying though the move will affect customers' confidence. "The government should be reassuring consumers that pubs are one of the most heavily regulated places to socialize in," he opined.