Coronavirus in Leeds: Garden centres, bikes and foreign visitors quarantine - next steps in lockdown plan?

Welcome to the Yorkshire Evening Post's daily coronavirus live blog for Saturday, May 9.

Saturday, 9th May 2020, 8:01 am
Updated Saturday, 9th May 2020, 8:13 am
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Coronavirus in Leeds: Live updates as Boris Johnson to review lockdown restrictions

Last updated: Tuesday, 12 May, 2020, 13:09

  • The UK reaches day 50 of lockdown
  • There was one new confirmed death in Leeds yesterday
  • There are 1,635 cases in Leeds

Furlough scheme extended until October

Chancellor Rishi Sunak told the Commons the Government's Job Retention Scheme, where the Government pays the salaries of furloughed workers, will continue until the end of October.

Responding to an urgent question from Labour's shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds, he said: "I can announce today that the Job Retention Scheme will be extended for four months until the end of October.

"By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses."

As he made his statement to MPs in the Commons, the Chancellor's Twitter account posted: "1/ The job retention scheme will be extended, for four months, until the end of October.

"By that point, we will have provided eight months of support to British people and businesses. Until the end of July, there will be no changes to the scheme whatsoever.

"2/ From August to October the scheme will continue, for all sectors and regions of the UK, but with greater flexibility to support the transition back to work.

"Employers currently using the scheme will be able to bring furloughed employees back part-time.

"3/ We will ask employers to start sharing, with the government, the costs of paying people's salaries.

"4/ Further detail will follow by the end of May but I want to assure people one thing won't change:

"Workers will, through the combined efforts of government and employers, continue to receive the same level of support as they do now, at 80% of their salary, up to £2,500."

Schools could reopen for some pupils in June:

This is Boris Johnson's address to the nation in full:

Full list of locations as 12,258 people confirmed to have coronavirus in Yorkshire:

Barnsley 757

Bradford 1,100

Calderdale 274

Craven 134

Doncaster 591

East Riding 740

Hambleton 187

Harrogate 262

Hull (Kingston upon Hull) 587

Kirklees 652

Leeds 1,635

North East Lincolnshire 139

North Lincolnshire 426

North Yorkshire (UTLA) n/a

Richmondshire 122

Rotherham 805

Ryedale 70

Scarborough 274

Selby 124

Sheffield 2,354

Wakefield 630

York 395

Daily total 12258

There has been 22 new confirmed deaths in Yorkshire

'Control the virus'

Boris Johnson is expected to unveil a coronavirus warning system when he outlines his plans to gradually ease the lockdown while dropping the "stay home" slogan.

The Prime Minister will instead tell the country to "stay alert, control the virus and save lives" when he outlines his "road map" to a new normality during an address to the nation on Sunday.

Mr Johnson is planning to urge workers who cannot do their jobs from home to begin returning to their workplaces while following social-distancing rules.

"This is the dangerous bit," he warned ahead of the announcement.

It is understood that a warning system administered by a new "joint biosecurity centre" will detect local increases in infection rates, with the view to locally alter restrictions in England.

With the alerts ranging from green in level one to red in level five, Mr Johnson is expected to say the nation is close to moving down from four to three.

The PM will chair a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee with Cabinet ministers, leaders of the devolved nations and London Mayor Sadiq Khan before his 7pm pre-recorded address.

On Monday, the Government will publish a 50-page document outlining the full plan to cautiously re-start the economy to MPs after figures suggested the overall death toll for the UK has passed 36,500.

The shift in messaging will come amid concerns that workers may not feel comfortable resuming their roles after the weeks of firm instructions to "stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives".

That could be a test for ministers, with unions warning that they might not recommend their millions-strong membership to resume their roles if safety is not assured.

"The trade union movement wants to be able to recommend the Government's back-to-work plans," Unison, Unite, the GMB, Usdaw and the Trades Union Congress wrote in a letter to the Observer.

"But for us to do that we need to ensure that ministers have listened and that we stay safe and save lives at work too."

Meanwhile, a scientific adviser to the Government told the Sunday Times that the UK could still suffer more than 100,000 deaths by the end of the year if measures are hastily relaxed, adding: "There is very limited room for manoeuvre."

Mr Johnson acknowledged the scale of the danger, saying "we'll have to work even harder to get every step right" now the peak is passed, before making a mountaineering analogy.

"You have very few options on the climb up - but it's on the descent you have to make sure you don't run too fast, lose control and stumble," he told the Sun on Sunday.

Later this week, Mr Johnson will address the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives amid concerns that some of his MPs will be unenthused by the gradual easing.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps told the Downing Street briefing on Saturday that the PM would be proceeding with "extreme caution".

The incoming changes for England were only expected to be very modest, with a lifting the limit of only one form of exercise per day and to permit garden centres to reopen.

But in a toughening of measures, fines for those who fail to abide by the rules will be hiked.

Mr Shapps did not deny that ministers were planning to impose a 14-day quarantine on people arriving in the UK by plane from any country apart from the Republic of Ireland.

He declined to address widespread calls for clarity, with it unclear whether the rule would also apply to passengers arriving by boat and whether businesses would receive extra support because of fears the measure would be disastrous for industry.

The Cabinet minister did however address concerns that progress in the lockdown was being damaged, saying "throwing it away because it happens to be sunny outside this weekend, that would be absolutely tragic".

Earlier, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford said the PM's announcement for England would be "very much in line" with the "very smallest" easing granted in his nation.

Schools in Wales would not be reopening to the majority of pupils in June, he added.

In other developments:

- The Government failed to meet its own 100,000 tests per day target for the seventh day in a row, saying there were 96,878 in the 24 hours up to 9am on Saturday

- Around 50,000 coronavirus test samples had to be sent to a US laboratory earlier this week after "operational issues" in the UK lab network led to delays in the system

- The Department of Health said the number of people who have died after testing positive for coronavirus increased by 346, meaning official figures suggest the overall death toll for the UK has now passed 36,500.

Mr Shapps led the briefing to announce a £250 million emergency package to boost cycling and walking, warning that only one in 10 passengers could travel on some forms of public transport while abiding by the two metre social distancing rule.

"Getting Britain moving again" presents an "enormous logistical challenge", he said, but would be aided by pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements and cycle and bus-only streets.

"Moving beyond Covid will be a gradual process, not a single leap to freedom, so when we do emerge the world will seem quite different," Mr Shapps added.

Coronavirus has 'changed mindsets'

The coronavirus pandemic will have triggered a change in mindset for most people, affecting buying habits which could see an even greater reluctance to use cash, an expert has said.

Ben Voyer, professor of psychological and behavioural science at the London School of Economics, said many people's individual habits will have changed during lockdown, as evidenced by stockpiling during March as Covid-19 tightened its grip on Europe.

He said shoppers switched from "a pleasure-seeking mindset to a pain-avoiding one" amid concerns the virus was more serious than first anticipated.

And he said changes in behaviour were more likely to become part of everyday life post-lockdown, the longer current restrictions remain in place.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to set out what rule changes should be brought in for England on Sunday after seven weeks of lockdown.

Prof Voyer said: "The pandemic will likely have triggered a change in mindset for most people.

"Generally speaking we have evolved to seek pleasure and avoid pain.

"In a pandemic, you suddenly shift from promotion to prevention - you pay much more attention to what could go wrong, and that change of mindset affects a lot of decisions you are making.

"If you are not somebody who naturally stockpiles, you might start to stockpile."

He added: "In addition to this, one could add a rise in anxiety levels and stress, which also affect buying behaviours.

"However, the effect of stress and anxiety varies from one individual to another, with some individuals ending up buying more, or comforting themselves with consumption, while others buy less or stock."

Quarantine 'too late'

Tim Jeans, chairman of Cornwall Airport Newquay, warned of uncertainty for staff and businesses from reports of a 14-day quarantine for travellers entering the UK.

He was generally critical of the Government's handling of borders, telling BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It was possibly inevitable but to say that it's come too late would be something of an understatement."

He added that "questioning the management and the planning of this is going to be very much at the forefront today".

"Now it does look that even though we're potentially past the peak we're going to close our borders and all the plans that airlines and airports had to start restarting operations are now on the scrapheap and will have to go back to square one," he continued.

"At the moment we've no official confirmation of this new measure but it looks to be that it will delay the reopening of the airport.

"That's the end as far as this summer is concerned and these are just going to add to the difficulties that business and tourism generally faces in the county, and I'm sure elsewhere in the country."

Garden centres, bikes and foreign visitors quarantine - next steps in lockdown plan?

The next steps in the UK's lockdown plan are becoming clearer after the Government indicated it would reopen garden centres, encourage commuters to use bikes and potentially quarantine foreign visitors.

A report by The Times suggested those visiting the UK will have to fill in a digital form and declare an address where they will then be expected to self-isolate for 14 days.

Travellers could face fines of up to £1,000 and even deportation if spot checks later find they have flouted the rules, which the report claimed could be introduce in June.

Briefing reporters on Friday, Downing Street confirmed quarantining foreign visitors was being "looked at" as a way of guarding the country against a second peak in the transmission rate.

The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "I think ministers have said the issue of looking to ensure, as we really drive down transmission in the UK, that we are able to ensure the virus is not being brought into the country from overseas is one they are actively considering."

The strict clampdown is set to be part of a "road map" revealed by the Prime Minister during his address to the nation on Sunday evening in which he will set out the stages for lifting the lockdown.

Boris Johnson will also recommend workers wear masks when they do return to work and when using public transport, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Plans to impose 14-day quarantine on flights in and out of the UK

Airport Operators Association (AOA) chief executive Karen Dee said she has not received any details yet about a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all travellers into the UK.

She told BBC Breakfast: "I think there's been lots of speculation in the press recently, and of course the transport secretary was on the Andrew Marr show last week, so although we haven't had any details yet there's been a lot of speculation that there will be a 14-day quarantine for passengers returning to the UK.

"That would have a really big impact on our sector, but at the moment we don't have very much detail about what that would mean."

Ms Dee added: "We see passenger numbers typically down by about 98% now in the UK. So, you know, a lot of airports now are closed for passenger traffic.

"There are very few flights coming in and that means no revenue, so we're really having to adjust and see our way through."

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