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20/03/20 COVID-19 Global News update

20 March 2020

Overview of the latest developments on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

General UK News

UK in talks to buy 'game changer' coronavirus antibody test

Mar 19th, 2020viaReuters UK - UK News

Britain is in talks to buy a coronavirus antibody test that could be a game changer if it works.

Coronavirus: Ministers urged to release hundreds of prisoners on short sentences to combat outbreak

Mar 20th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

Ministers are being urged to release hundreds of inmates on short sentences in an effort to slim the prison population and aid the government’s efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak. It comes after a prisoner tested positive for covid-19 at HMP Manchester earlier this week, and campaigners warned the virus could “spread like wildfire” if it were to infiltrate Britain’s prisons.

Coronavirus: Cathedrals and churches live stream services

Mar 20th, 2020viaBBC News - Tyne & Wear

Churches and cathedrals in England are planning to stream services after being instructed to close for three months because of coronavirus. Durham Cathedral plans to post some services online and live stream others.

Coronavirus: Train services to be cut amid falling demand

Mar 20th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Trains operators across Britain will gradually reduce services from Monday, amid falling demand because of the coronavirus pandemic. The government said it had agreed the plan with the rail industry to reflect the fall in passenger numbers, while keeping vital services running.

Coronavirus: Thousands of retired medics asked to return to NHS

Mar 20th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Letters are being sent to more than 65,000 retired doctors and nurses asking them to return to the NHS to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak. Senior officials say the ex-employees are needed to boost frontline services.

Number of coronavirus deaths in UK rises to 144, up 40% in a day

Mar 19th, 2020viaReuters UK - UK News

The number of people in the United Kingdom who have died after contracting the coronavirus rose to 144, up 40% in a day, the health ministry said on Thursday. The number of positive cases increased by 643, or 25%, to 3,269.

Coronavirus: Isle of Man confirms first positive test

Mar 20th, 2020viaBBC News - Isle Of Man

The Isle of Man has recorded its first case of coronavirus, the Manx government has confirmed. The person had recently returned from a trip to Spain, a spokesman said.

Coronavirus: Leading hotel chains in talks to provide rooms to NHS

Mar 19th, 2020viaCity AM - News

Some of the world’s largest hotel chains are in talks with the government about providing space for NHS workers as the UK battles the coronavirus outbreak. One group, Best Western Great Britain, is offering 15,000 hotel bedrooms and over 1,000 meeting rooms to help the NHS and local authorities.

£2.9bn provided to free up hospital beds for coronavirus patients

Mar 19th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Health

Local authorities will get more than half of a £2.9bn pot of emergency funding to sort out – at least for now – the long-running problem of elderly and vulnerable people stuck in hospital because the social care they need is not available.

UK drive to develop coronavirus vaccine begins

Mar 19th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Health

A massive effort is under way to develop a UK vaccine for coronavirus within months and make it available to save lives before the end of the year.

Plan to use phone location data to assist in UK coronavirus effort

Mar 19th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Telecommunications industry

BT, owner of UK mobile operator EE, is in talks with the government about using its phone location and usage data to monitor whether coronavirus limitation measures such as asking the public to stay at home are working.

Boris Johnson: UK can turn tide of coronavirus in 12 weeks

Mar 19th, 2020viaThe Guardian Australia World News

Boris Johnson has raised the prospect of mass testing for coronavirus and and social distancing allowing the UK to return to some form of normality by the summer, while stressing that tougher measures such as locking down cities remained a possibility.

Global Situation

Russia starts testing coronavirus vaccine prototypes on animals

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Russian scientists have begun testing prototypes of potential vaccines against the new coronavirus on animals in a laboratory in Siberia, Russia’s consumer health regulator said on Friday.

Coronavirus deals blow to NASA's 2024 return-to-moon plan

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - Science News

The coronavirus outbreak dealt a blow to NASA’s plans to return Americans to the moon by 2024, as the space agency chief on Thursday ordered the temporary closure of two rocket production facilities after an employee tested positive for the respiratory illness.

Covid-19 lockdown turns Qatar's largest migrant camp into 'virtual prison'

Mar 20th, 2020viaThe Guardian - World News

Qatar’s largest labour camp for migrant workers has become a virtual prison and is in total lockdown after hundreds of construction workers became infected with Covid-19.

Thailand reports 50 new coronavirus infections for total of 322

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

Thailand reported 50 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 322, a health official said on Friday, with the majority located in Bangkok, the capital.

Australia delays budget as coronavirus appears among cruise passengers

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Australia on Friday delayed its federal budget by five months to October saying the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to make sensible economic forecasts, as it prepared to dramatically expand its stimulus spending to avoid recession.

Coronavirus deaths in Italy overtake China as economic damage mounts

Mar 19th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

The world’s richest nations poured unprecedented aid into the global economy on Thursday as coronavirus cases ballooned in the new epicentre Europe, with the number of deaths in Italy outstripping those in mainland China, where the virus originated.

Mexico coronavirus tally rises to 164 from 118 a day earlier

Mar 19th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

The number of registered coronavirus infections in Mexico rose on Thursday to 164 from 118 a day earlier, a senior health ministry official told a news conference.

China sees zero local coronavirus cases for second day, imported infections surge

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Mainland China reported zero locally transmitted cases of the coronavirus for the second straight day, while the daily tally for infections involving travellers arriving in the country surged to a new record.

Spain to close all hotels, help nursing homes as coronavirus deaths climb

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

The Spanish government on Thursday ordered the closure of all the country’s hotels and promised to implement special measures in nursing homes after a surge in the country’s coronavirus cases and deaths.

Olympic flame due in Japan amid worries over coronavirus impact

Mar 19th, 2020viaReuters UK - UK News

A plane carrying the Olympic torch from Greece will arrive on Friday on Japan’s northwestern coast ravaged by a 2011 tsunami, but the welcome ceremony will have no spectators, amid worries that the Games could be cancelled over a coronavirus pandemic.


Air Canada to lay off more than 5,100 employees amid coronavirus outbreak

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - Top News

Air Canada is set to lay off more than 5,100 members of its cabin crews because of a decline in flights following the coronavirus outbreak, CBC News reported late on Thursday.

Coronavirus crisis could lead to new credit crunch as companies struggle with debt

Mar 20th, 2020viaGuardian UK - Business

A worldwide credit crunch triggered by the coronavirus will set in motion a wave of corporate bankruptcies that will make the global financial crisis look like “child’s play”, investors have warned.


Coronavirus: Chancellor prepares wage package rescue plan

Mar 20th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

The chancellor is set to announce an employment and wage subsidy package to try to protect millions of jobs. Talks went on into the night with business groups and union leaders, who urged the government to help pay wages amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Banks hope to keep trading floors open if London faces stricter coronavirus lockdown

Mar 19th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

Global banks are hoping to keep their London trading floors open amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic and are confident that traders would be designated “key workers” if the capital is placed on formal lockdown.

Bentley to suspend production for four weeks over coronavirus

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - Top News

Bentley will stop car production at its British factory from the end of Friday for four weeks over the coronavirus outbreak, one of the final automakers in Britain to announce such plans.

British Airways pilots to face pay cut due to coronavirus

Mar 20th, 2020viaReuters UK - Top News

British Airways pilots will face a 50% pay cut to their basic salary for April and May, as the airline seeks to reduce its cost to try survive the coronavirus crisis.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for the charity sector

Mar 19th, 2020viaCharity Commission (gov.uk) - Announcements

Guidance to help with running your charity during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

COVID-19: CMA approach to essential business cooperation

Mar 19th, 2020viaCompetition and Markets Authority (CMA) (gov.uk) - All Content

The CMA is very conscious of concerns that competition law enforcement could impede necessary cooperation between businesses to deal with the current crisis and ensure security of supplies of essential products and services, such as groceries.


Guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19): maintaining educational provision

Mar 19th, 2020viaCabinet Office (gov.uk) - All Content

Guidance about maintaining educational provision for schools, colleges and local authorities.


To read more from DWF on COVID-19 visit our insights hub >