/What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, May 5

What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, May 5

Here is a round-up of the latest news in response to the coronavirus pandemic on Tuesday, May 5.

Follow updates on the world coronavirus pandemic on our live blog.

Confirmed worldwide cases:  3,646,225

Confirmed deaths: 252,408

Confirmed recoveries / discharges: 1,200,203.

On Monday, it was reported how a further 14 people had died with coronavirus bringing the death toll in Wales to 997.

Across the UK, the death toll rose by 288 – the lowest daily rise since the end of March.

Public Health Wales have reported that the total number of cases now stands at 10,524 after a further 195 cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours.

Virus app trial begins

Trials are beginning on a new coronavirus contact-tracing app which ministers say will save lives and help lift Britain out of lockdown.

NHS and council staff on the Isle of Wight are being urged to download the Covid-19 smartphone app from Tuesday with the rest of the island’s population invited to follow from Thursday.

If the tests are successful it could be rolled out across the country within weeks as ministers seek to shape a strategy to allow some economic activity to resume, with the long-awaited “roadmap” for easing lockdown being published on Sunday.

(Image: PA)

Announcing the app trial, Health Secretary Matt Hancock appealed to everyone on the island who was able to download the app to do so.

“I know that the people of the Isle of Wight will embrace this with enthusiasm because by embarking on this project and by embracing test, track and trace, you will be saving lives,” he said.

The “test, track and trace” programme will allow the Government to take a “more targeted approach” to the lockdown while still containing the disease, he added.

The Welsh Government is working with its counterparts across the UK on the mobile app. Find out more  here.

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Coronavirus latest

Furlough scheme to be wound down

There will be no “cliff-edge” cut off to the furlough scheme introduced by the Government to pay the wages of some employees during the coronavirus pandemic, Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.

The scheme was brought in to help companies weather the pandemic by paying up to 80% of their salaries.

But the cost of the scheme so far has been £8 billion with 6.3 million workers having the majority of their pay from the Government.

That was a cost which was not ‘sustainable’ in the longer term, Mr Sunak told ITV News.

And he told the programme ministers were looking at ways to wind down the scheme – which is currently due to run to the end of June.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak
(Image: PA)

People would be eased back into work in a “measured way”, he said, adding: “To anyone anxious about this, I want to reassure that there will be no cliff-edge to the furlough scheme,” he said.

“I’m working as we speak to figure out the most effective way to wind down the scheme and ease people back into work in a measured way.

“As some scenarios have suggested, we are potentially spending as much on the furlough scheme as we do on the NHS for example.

“Clearly, that is not a sustainable situation which is why, as soon as the time is right, we want to get people back to work and the economy fired up again.”

Welsh parents concerned about schools returning

Parents have spoken of their fears about sending their children back to school if a phased reopening of classrooms begins in June.

Wales’ First Minister Mark Drakeford suggested schools could begin a phased return in June while speaking on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday.

Mr Drakeford said that “three weeks as a minimum” would be needed to plan a reopening, with special educational needs pupils, year six, and children who learn in Welsh but do not have Welsh speakers at home being the first to be brought back into the classroom.

The First Minister clarified his position on Monday, telling reporters no decision had been made on when to reopen schools in Wales and that he had only said next month was the earliest it could possibly happen.

He further reassured parents that fines would not be issued if they decided not to send their children into school. Read parents’ concerns  here.

Vulnerable people struggling to get food supplies

Urgent action is still needed to make it easier for vulnerable people to access supermarket delivery slots and other sources of supplies, according to Which?

The consumer group argued the current system is not working for those who need it the most, leaving vulnerable people at risk of going hungry.

(Image: South Wales Evening Post)

It said it is continuing to hear from people who are struggling to book supermarket delivery slots, unable to find the help they need locally, and in some cases find themselves forced to risk their health to get supplies.

Some vulnerable customers have told Which? that they are staying up into the early hours of the morning in an attempt to book supermarket delivery slots, while others are relying on the kindness of neighbours.

Which? has gathered over 1,000 reports of people who have struggled to access food and supplies amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Only 4,000 cars bought during April

Demand for new cars fell by around 97% last month amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Only approximately 4,000 new cars were registered in April compared with 161,000 in the same month in 2019, according to preliminary figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Many car showrooms across the country have been closed, but some deliveries of new vehicles are still taking place.

The SMMT is forecasting that around 1.68 million new cars will be registered during the whole of 2020, which would represent a 27% decline on last year.

Fears of childcare providers

One in four childcare providers fear they will be put out of business within a year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey suggests.

Nearly three in four (74%) nurseries, pre-schools and childminders feel that the Government has not provided enough support to them during the coronavirus crisis, according to the poll.

Childcare providers say they could be forced to make staff redundant, ask parents to still pay fees, and close their doors permanently after the Government announced it would limit the amount of financial support that some providers receive.

The Early Years Alliance (EYA), which carried out the survey, has warned that “abandoning” the childcare sector at this time will cause “untold damage” to the economy in the long term.

Good news from Spain and New Zealand

For a second day in a row, Spanish health officials are reporting 164 new confirmed deaths from coronavirus, the lowest daily death toll in six weeks – leading to a total figure of 25,428.

The numbers came as a respite for a country that has spent seven weeks under a strict lockdown, and that on Monday entered the first stage of its four-phase lockdown rollback, expected to span over nearly two months.

People ventured out for the first time for haircuts, buying glasses or food takeouts, activities that are allowed on the condition of a pre-existing appointment.

Hairdresser in Madrid with his first client after being closed for 51 days
(Image: Getty Images)

Many small shops were still closed, as business owners worked on preparing to meet the strict health and hygiene guidelines that the government only published on Sunday.

Face masks are also mandatory on public transport and the government is distributing 14 million of them at major transportation hubs.

Across the world, New Zealand reported no new cases of coronavirus on Monday, marking a significant moment that indicated the country’s bold strategy of trying to eliminate the virus was working.

It was the first time since the outbreak took hold in mid-March that the country has reported zero new cases. New Zealand closed its borders and imposed a strict month-long lockdown after the outbreak began.

Lockdowns eased in other countries

Finland said it will lift some restrictions on June 1 including allowing restaurants, cafes and bars to reopen with limitations.

The government announced it will also ease a ban on public gatherings, permitting meetings of up to 50 people instead of the current maximum of 10.

Public services such as libraries, theatres and sports facilities are allowed to start operating again in June. The government had said in April that schools in Finland would be gradually reopened on May 14.

The Czech Republic has decided to lift its ban on international train and bus travel amid easing restrictive measures imposed to contain the pandemic.

Trade and industry minister Karel Havlicek said trains and buses will be allowed to cross the country’s borders again from May 11.

Czechs returning home will have to present a negative test that is not older than four days, or be quarantined for two weeks.

Greece has also begun gradually lifting its restrictive measures after a 42-day lockdown. As of Monday morning, Greeks are no longer restricted as to why they can leave their homes, and do not need to send an SMS or carry a self-written permit justifying being outdoors.

The first businesses have also opened as part of what authorities have said will be a staggered reopening of the economy. Hair salons, barber shops and stores selling books, sporting goods, stationary and other items can now open, albeit with strict hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

Coronavirus circulated in France much earlier than first thought

A patient diagnosed with pneumonia near Paris on 27 December actually had the coronavirus, his doctor has said.

Dr Yves Cohen told French media a swab taken at the time was recently tested, and came back positive for Covid-19.

The patient, a man in his 50s who has since fully recovered, said he has no idea where he caught the virus as he had not been to any infected areas.

This news means the virus may have arrived in France almost a month earlier than previously thought.

Until now, the country’s first three cases of coronavirus were confirmed on 24 January.

Nurseries fear for the future

One in four childcare providers fear they will be put out of business within a year amid the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey suggests.

Nearly three in four (74%) nurseries, pre-schools and childminders feel that the Government has not provided enough support to them during the coronavirus crisis, according to the poll.

Childcare providers say they could be forced to make staff redundant, ask parents to still pay fees, and close their doors permanently after the Government announced it would limit the amount of financial support that some providers receive.

A quarter of early years providers (25%) say it is “unlikely” that their setting will still be operating this time next year, according to the poll.

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