The Points: Westminster Edition is a weekly article summarising the biggest news stories in Britain over the last seven days. Also included is an article of choice that we believe best builds upon the topics in The Points if you wish to learn more.
Johnson starts to put UK on lock-down
Article of choice: BBC – PM says everyone should avoid non-essential travel
Elderly and vulnerable people have been told to self-isolate within days as fears of the Coronavirus grow. They should of completed this by the weekend, and must isolate for 12 weeks the PM has announced. Pregnant women, people over the age of 70 and those with underlying health problems are amongst those told to self-isolate. For everyone else, they have been told to only leave the house for essential items.
UK Coronavirus death toll reaches 36
Article of choice: The Evening Standard – UK coronavirus death toll hits 36 as 232 more people test positive for Covid-19
Deaths from Covid-19 doubled in a 24 hour period from Saturday morning, as Britain prepares to weather a lengthy battle against the rapidly-spreading virus. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, warned on the Andrew Marr Show that “every single person in this country is going to be affected,” as doubts were raised over the NHS’s capacity to deal with such a widespread outbreak. Over 200 scientists from leading UK universities have written an open letter criticising the government’s relatively lax reaction to the virus, calling the most recent strategies “insufficient.”
Corbyn calls for rent and mortgage suspension for affected citizens
Article of choice: The Independent – Coronavirus: Suspend rent and mortgage payments for people affected by disease, Jeremy Corbyn says
In a letter to the Prime Minister shared on Twitter, Jeremy Corbyn has outlined a list of proposals to help alleviate pressure on working Britons. These include extended sick pay, further support for food banks and a payment holiday for rent and mortgages. These measures seem to reflect Italy’s nationwide decision to suspend all mortgage payments in wake of the country’s complete shutdown. Corbyn’s suggestions come as many are concerned that financially struggling individuals will continue to work despite the risk posed to their personal health.
No. 10 announces daily Prime Ministerial press conferences
Article of choice: The Guardian – Boris Johnson to hold daily coronavirus press briefings
After calls from party leaders and leadership candidates for further clarity, the government has announced plans for a daily press conference to keep the public informed of the latest updates. Multiple measures are to be rolled out in the coming weeks, including self-isolation of the elderly for up to four months and a call for manufacturers to start producing ventilators for hospitals. After conflicting statements issued by ministers and governmental advisers on important strategies such as the government’s view on herd immunity, No. 10 is anxious to unify their message behind a single spokesperson.
How will 300,000 homeless affect the coronavirus spread?
Article of choice: BBC – ‘Safe spaces’ needed for homeless to self-isolate
Homelessness is a real problem in the UK, with over 300,000 people currently homeless. With the spread of the Coronavirus, Layla Moran has asked what will be done to ensure they are helped and have a place to self-isolate. This Thursday the government will announce new plans to help combat the situation. The police are expected to be given the right to detain anyone who is suspected of having the symptoms, and this may extend to people living on the streets. Although it remains unclear what will happen, it is an important question.
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Written by Max Anderson and Max Ingleby