It’s been 100 days since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a lockdown.
COVID-19 is a new and invisible threat. It has spread to almost every country in the world.
The UK government have taken extensive plan and well prepared to respond in a way that offers substantial protection to the public during this deadly Covid-19 pandemic.
Many recent external forecasts project that the coronavirus pandemic will cause a contraction in the UK and global economy this year larger than that experienced following the 2008 global financial crisis. The UK government has released billions of pound funding in many sectors aimed at supporting those who need to continue providing their services as part of the national coronavirus response.
Covid-19 first emerged in late 2019, when a mysterious illness was reported in Wuhan, China. The cause of the disease was soon confirmed as a new kind of coronavirus, and the infection has since spread to many countries around the world and become a pandemic.
Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is a new strain of coronavirus that affects people’s lungs and airways. Most people causes only mild illness, it can make some people very ill. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre- existing medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable leading to death. Covid-19 is a respiratory illness and is largely spread via droplets in the air. These are typically expelled when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
Current UK statistics of Covid-19: (ref: ons.gov.uk and www.gov.uk)
Total tests up to 30th June: 9,662,051, Total tested positive: 313,483,
Total Covid-19 deaths registered by 19th June 2020: 49,371 (Actual figures would be more higher up to 1st July if we add day to day deaths from all settings).
Total UK deaths registered by 19 June 2020: 326,600 (deaths from all settings, Covid/non Covid). Total Recovered: 135, Fatality Rate: 14%,
Looking at the year-to-date (ons.gov.uk), the number of deaths up to 19 June 2020 was 326,600, which is 54,338 more than the five-year average. Of the deaths registered by 19 June, 49,371 mentioned COVID-19 on the death certificate; 15.1% of all deaths in England and Wales. More than 330 of NHS and private healthcare staff, from heart surgeons to nurses, porters and volunteers, have lost their lives to the coronavirus in the UK.
Looking at the year-to-date for England and Wales separately, the number of deaths for England was 306,948, which is 52,586 (20.7%) more than the five-year average. Of these, 46,904 deaths (15.3%) mentioned COVID-19. In Wales, the number of deaths up to 19 June was 19,158, which is 2,003 (12.0%) more than the five-year average; of these, 2,396 deaths (12.5%) mentioned COVID-19.
Since the pandemic starts between Weeks 1 and 12, 138,916 deaths were registered, which was 4,822 less than the five-year average for these weeks. However, between Weeks 13 and 25, 187,711 deaths were registered, which was 59,187 more than the five-year average.
What we can say is that, it’s a seasonal virus which creates an adverse economic disaster around the world. Covid-19 will adversely affect the production of the UK National Accounts, including estimates of gross domestic products (GDP) and the UK Institutional Sector Accounts. It also will affect of inflation, the labour market and productivity which would impact on the UK economy.
The worldwide death toll has passed 512,000. The number of confirmed cases is more than 10.5 million, according to the map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University, though the true number of cases will be much higher.
World Health Organization reports on 1st July 2020, there have been 10,357,662 confirmed cases of Covid-19 which includes 508,055 deaths globally.
Report also shows that, confirmed cases in Americas- 5,218,590, Europe-2,728,059, Eastern Mediterranean- 1,077,426, South-East Asia- 808,906, Africa-306,794, Western Pacific- 217,146.
In my opinion, WHO report and figure are far behind from the real scenario as many countries in the South-East Asia and Africa are not able to accurately updated as there are many concerns and lack of updating database.
UK government taking steps by easing lockdown measures in many sectors to boost up the economy and the taking control from the Covid-19 pandemic.
There is a 14 days quarantine measure enforced in UK which has not been welcomed by the UK’s travel industry. Some countries got exempt from quarantine.
Currently, anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands, or the Isle of Man – will not have to enter quarantine, as long as they have been in the CTA for at least 14 days.
And the government wants to relax the rules in early July for some other countries, with a series of “travel corridors” or “air bridges”.
Countries including France, Italy, Spain, Greece, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the Netherlands, Turkey and Finland are likely to be included.
This would mean that people travelling in either direction between the UK and these countries – where the rate of infection is currently low – would not have to self-isolate after they travel.
Some other countries have different quarantine rules which travellers could find they also have to enter quarantine when they arrive in another country. Some have introduced screening measures such as temperature checks, and entry restrictions.
Spain has reopened its borders to UK visitors who will not have to quarantine on arrival
UK visitors to France are being asked to go into voluntary quarantine for 14 days after arrival
The US has barred entry to arrivals from the UK, with the exception of US citizens, their family members and “individuals who meet specified exceptions”
The United Arab Emirates has strict entry rules for foreign residents
UK citizens need a special exemption visa to travel to Australia
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a series of measures to take effect from 4 July, easing the lockdown in England. In Scotland, the five-mile travel limit is set to be lifted from 3 July, with more rules now expected to be eased later in the month.
Distancing guidelines further eased to support businesses, from 4 July the 2m (6ft) social distancing guidance will change in England.
The prime minister said that where it is not possible to stay 2m apart, people should keep a distance of “one metre plus” – this means staying one metre apart, while observing precautions to reduce the risk of transmission.
Businesses are being asked to help by avoiding face-to-face seating by changing office layouts, reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings, closing non-essential social spaces, providing hand sanitiser, changing shift patterns so that staff work in set teams.
Northern Ireland has also announced it will reduce the distancing rule to 1m with restrictions. In Scotland and Wales, the 2m distancing rule remains in place for the time being.
The government is trying their best to rebuild Britain by putting roadmap for how and when the UK will adjust its response to the Covid-19 crisis. The Government’s priority was to protect the public and save lives, even though the there are criticism and errors, breaches the breakdown rules by the government officials, the death figures are extremely higher than any other countries, criticism by the BAME communities for higher BAME death figures.
The UK Government published the ‘Our plan to rebuild’ strategy document which set out a roadmap to move away from lockdown and restart the economy, whilst keeping people safe
From the risk of coronavirus.
Lockdown introduced on 23 March 2020, the government introduced restrictions on which businesses and venues were required to close in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Re-opening of businesses and venues from 4th July: On 23 June 2020, the Prime Minister announced further easements of the coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions as part of Step Three of the government’s plan to return life to as near normal as we can.
The government has also released guidance on how to work safely for people working in hotels and guest accommodation, indoor and outdoor attractions, business events, consumer shows and close contact services as well as on restaurant, pubs and bars.
From the analysis shows that, UK economy could face longer and slower recovery from Covid. Some analysts warn that markets are failing to reflect the scale of the international recession and risk.
Official figures show just nine days of lockdown caused gross domestic product (GDP), the broadest measure of the economy, to fall by 5.8% in March, and by 2% in the first three months of the year. Activity declined across the board, with a slump by almost as much in a single month as in the 18-month slide caused by the 2008 financial crisis. Economists regard two consecutive quarters of shrinking GDP as the technical definition of recession. Most forecast a second quarterly decline in the three months to June, given the scale of restrictions on business and social life, with the Bank of England pencilling in a 25% drop.
The government borrowed a record £62bn in April – more than had been expected for the whole of 2020. The budget deficit – the shortfall between state spending and income from taxes – is spiraling as tax receipts fall off a cliff with the economy largely at a standstill, and as the Treasury steps in with emergency financial support. The Office for Budget Responsibility, the Treasury tax and spending watchdog, estimates the deficit could max out close to £300bn this year, five times the sum borrowed a year ago, and almost twice as much as after the 2008 financial crisis.
We are in grief like the rest of the world, UK have paid a heavy price. More than 50,000 people have lost their lives having tested positive for Covid-19. Every one of those deaths is tragedy for friends and family. Children have lost mothers and fathers; parents have lost sons and daughters. We should pay deepest respect and tribute to the victims of the virus those who have died, and their loved ones who remain.
Thanks for the extraordinary efforts of our NHS and social care workers for their hard work during the past times. People up and down the UK have made an extraordinary sacrifice, putting their lives on hold and distancing themselves from their loved ones. It would have been higher had we not shielded the most vulnerable – providing help and support to those that need it.
Finally, I must say, Stay Alert, Protect the Virus, Save Lives.
Dr Anisur Rahman Anis
Freelance Writer and Columnist
Law Researcher and Analyst
Former Lecturer: Sworthmore College, London.
Member: London Bangla Pres Club
2nd July 2020.