Six Things You Need To Know About Coronavirus Today

The government is reportedly set to introduce mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors, and garden centres will reopen within days. Here's the latest.

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All arrivals into the UK will reportedly be forced to self-isolate for two weeks to prevent a second peak of the coronavirus outbreak, and garden centres in England are to be allowed to reopen within days.

According to the latest figures:

  • The number of hospital patients who have died in the UK after being diagnosed with coronavirus had risen to at least 31,241.
  • As of 9am on May 8, 1,207,069 people have been tested of which 211,364 had tested positive

Here’s the latest.

Coastguard reports highest number of call-outs since lockdown began

The coastguard recorded a sharp increase on the number of call-outs through lockdown on Friday.
The coastguard recorded a sharp increase on the number of call-outs through lockdown on Friday.
GLYN KIRK via Getty Images

The Coastguard has said that on Friday it had the highest number of call-outs since lockdown began as people “ignore” the government’s stay-at-home message.

It said there were 97 incidents, 54% more than the average of 63 recorded for the previous month.

Matt Leat, duty commander with the Coastguard, said: “People are ignoring the measures put into place by the government.

“I completely understand that the weather and the bank holiday coupled with the fact that we’ve been in this lockdown situation for just over six weeks has tempted people out to our beautiful coasts. However, as the government said only yesterday, it’s really vital that we all continue to observe the guidance.

“Every time we get a 999 or distress call, we will always respond but the minute we send in a rescue response, we’re putting our frontline responders at risk as well as putting the NHS under avoidable pressure.

“Please, please continue to observe the #StayHomeSaveLives message – it’s still in place for a reason. Exercise locally and stretch your legs, not our resources.”

Government reportedly set to introduce mandatory 14-day quarantine for all visitors into Britain

All arrivals into the UK will reportedly be forced to quarantine for two weeks.
All arrivals into the UK will reportedly be forced to quarantine for two weeks.
Xinhua News Agency via Getty Images

The government is reportedly set to announce a mandatory two week quarantine for all travellers arriving into Britain.

According to The Times, Boris Johnson will make the announcement – part of a package of measures to help the UK avoid a second peak of the virus – in an address to the nation on Sunday.

But questions have been raised about why the reported move hasn’t been made earlier – especially considering the fact that countries such as Australia and New Zealand implemented similar isolation periods as early as March.

Under the measures, which are expected to be implemented in June, all passengers arriving at airports and ports will be required to provide an address at which they will immediately self-isolate for 14 days.

The paper reports that “authorities will conduct spot checks”, with punishments for those not adhering to the rules including “fines of up to £1,000” and deportation.

A Home Office spokeswoman told the PA news agency: “We do not comment on leaks. The focus remains on staying at home to protect the NHS and save lives.”

The aviation industry is calling on the Government to reveal specifics of the proposal amid concerns that the measures could have severe repercussions for the travel and tourism sectors.

Responding to earlier speculation that a mandatory quarantine would be part of the government’s coronavirus measures, Airlines UK – which represents British Airways, EasyJet and other UK-based airlines – issued a statement saying the proposal “would effectively kill international travel to and from UK and cause immeasurable damage to the aviation industry and wider UK economy”.

It added: “Nobody is going to go on holiday if they’re not able to resume normal life for 14 days, and business travel would be severely restricted.

“It will also make it all but impossible for aviation to resume any time soon, thereby setting back the UK’s economic recovery still further.”

Garden centres allowed to reopen in England next week

News and Information Center via Getty Images

Garden centres in England will be permitted to reopen next week as part of first-step measures to gradually ease the coronavirus-related lockdown.

The news, confirmed to the PA News agency, will be announced by the PM on Sunday – with the public to be told that customers will be allowed to return to garden centres from Wednesday, May 13.

Nursery bosses will have to ensure visitors obey social distancing measures, such as keeping two metres away from others, and will be expected to put restrictions in place to control shop numbers in a similar way to supermarkets.

A senior government source said: “Garden centres typically open large open-air spaces where the risk of transmission of coronavirus is lower.

“With strict social distancing measures in place we believe they can open safely from next week.”

The confirmation follows the announcement by the Welsh government that garden centres will be able to open from Monday.

Garden centres in England will be told, as part of guidance being issued by the UK government, that any cafes or playgrounds associated with the retail space will not be able to reopen.

Research for the Horticultural Trades Association last month found that, even with access to UK government aid packages, a third of businesses are likely to be insolvent by the end of the year in the face of the pandemic lockdown.

Some 13% of the ornamental growers who responded to the poll claim they will be out of business by the end of June.

Following the publication of the results, leading gardeners and television presenters, including Alan Titchmarsh, Adam Frost, Bunny Guinness and Joe Swift, backed calls for specialised support to be provided to the industry.

Final decision on end to furlough scheme expected this weekend

Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Downing Street.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak in Downing Street.
Dominic Lipinski - PA Images via Getty Images

A final decision on how and when the government’s furlough scheme will be phased out is anticipated this weekend, it has been reported.

Talks on the future of the costly support programme will be held in advance of the prime minister’s “roadmap” announcement on Sunday, the Financial Times says.

At least 6.3 million people are currently having up to 80% of their salaries paid by the taxpayer under the furlough system at a cost of some £8 billion.

Earlier this week, chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was preparing to “wean” workers and business off the programme amid concerns that the nation was becoming “addicted” to it.

But the newspaper said there are worries that a shutdown of the scheme in June could put millions of jobs at risk “if companies were forced to open during weakened economic conditions after the lockdown ends”.

The Financial Times added that ministers have flagged the possibility of the scheme instead being phased out over the coming months “while also bringing in greater flexibility to allow some workers to return part-time initially”.

Councils report huge increase in coronavirus-related scams

One council reported more than half a million substandard masks, which have now been taken off the market.
One council reported more than half a million substandard masks, which have now been taken off the market.
Sebastian Condrea via Getty Images

The UK has been warned to remain vigilant as councils report a huge increase in reports of Covid-19 related scams – with one local authority reporting more than half a million substandard face masks.

More fraudsters are exploiting coronavirus fears by selling fake and unsafe products, according to the Local Government Association (LGA), with some councils recording a 40% increase since the start of the outbreak.

The public are being warned to stay vigilant as criminals seek to trick consumers into buying fake testing kits, hand sanitisers and bogus medical products claiming to treat or prevent Covid-19.

More than 500,000 substandard face masks and 2,600 bottles of illegal hand sanitiser were taken off the market by Ealing Council, according to the LGA.

A car repair garage was reported to Havering Council after allegedly trying to sell coronavirus testing kits to customers, and a telephone conman is being investigated after posing as a Swindon Council worker sorting lockdown food parcels, in a bid to obtain a pensioner’s personal details.

Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards said the total number of complaints it has received has increased by 40% since the beginning of March.

These include a woman in her 80s who answered the door to a man who tried to demand £220 to complete a health and safety check, and scammers trying to take bank details to cover payments for school meals while schools are closed.

Simon Blackburn, chairman of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “People need to be cautious. If something doesn’t seem right or sounds too good to be true, don’t hesitate to end a phone call, bin a letter, delete an email or shut the door.

“It’s important that victims don’t suffer in silence or feel embarrassed. By reporting a scam, people can help someone else avoid being a victim of these despicable crimes and help councils track down the fraudsters, bring them to justice and recover their money.”

Nightclubs in Seoul closed after dozens of infections linked to revellers

South Korea has lifted many lockdown restrictions, but the recent outbreak of cases linked to nightclubs in the nation's capital has led to thousands of venues being closed.
South Korea has lifted many lockdown restrictions, but the recent outbreak of cases linked to nightclubs in the nation's capital has led to thousands of venues being closed.
Chung Sung-Jun via Getty Images

Seoul has shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after dozens of coronavirus infections were linked to clubgoers who went out last weekend as South Korea relaxed social distancing guidelines.

The measures imposed by mayor Park Won-soon came after the national government urged entertainment venues around the nation to close or enforce anti-virus measures, including distancing, temperature checks, keeping customer lists and requiring employees to wear masks.

Park said the closures will be maintained until the city concludes that infections risks have been meaningfully lowered.

South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said 18 fresh cases were reported in the 24 hours to midnight on Friday, all but one of them linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three clubs in the capital’s Itaewon district last Saturday before testing positive on Tuesday.

But Park said 16 more cases were confirmed in Seoul alone in the following hours. He said this took the number of infections linked to clubgoers to 40 — 27 in Seoul, 12 in neighbouring Incheon and Gyeonggi province towns, and one in the southern port city of Busan.

Seoul has shut down more than 2,100 nightclubs, hostess bars and discos after dozens of coronavirus infections were linked to clubgoers who went out last weekend as South Korea relaxed social distancing guidelines.

The measures imposed by mayor Park Won-soon came after the national government urged entertainment venues around the nation to close or enforce anti-virus measures, including distancing, temperature checks, keeping customer lists and requiring employees to wear masks.

Park said the closures will be maintained until the city concludes that infections risks have been meaningfully lowered.

South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention earlier said 18 fresh cases were reported in the 24 hours to midnight on Friday, all but one of them linked to a 29-year-old man who visited three clubs in the capital’s Itaewon district last Saturday before testing positive on Tuesday.

But Park said 16 more cases were confirmed in Seoul alone in the following hours. He said this took the number of infections linked to clubgoers to 40 — 27 in Seoul, 12 in neighbouring Incheon and Gyeonggi province towns, and one in the southern port city of Busan.