Coronavirus: £330bn of government-backed loans for businesses
Written by Gavin on 17th March 2020
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced package of government-backed loans worth £330bn as part of an “unprecedented” set of measures to shore up the UK economy.
As of 9am on Tuesday, there were 1,950 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK – up 407 in the past 24 hours and a rise of 26%.
The government’s chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, said the actual number of people in the UK with coronavirus was in the “ballpark” of around 55,000.
He told MPs the aim was for fewer than 20,000 people to die from the disease, despite that being a “horrible” number of deaths.
There are an estimated 8,000 deaths from seasonal flu each year.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab earlier advised Britons to avoid all non-essential foreign travel for 30 days as coronavirus continues to spread globally.
The NHS has postponed all non-urgent operations from 15 April at the latest, in a bid to free up beds in anticipation of the peak of the COVID-19 epidemic.
It is also block-buying beds in private hospitals.
Downing Street is now holding daily televised news conferences on its response to the pandemic.
Earlier, the prime minister chaired a cabinet meeting to discuss the government’s fightback against coronavirus.
Mr Johnson told his top ministers the UK is “engaged in a war against the disease which we have to win”.
The prime minister has established new government structures in the face of the COVID-19 crisis.
Four new committees to be chaired by top cabinet ministers – focusing on health, public sector preparedness, the economy, and the international response – will now feed into a new daily coronavirus meeting chaired by Mr Johnson.
The prime minister will also continue to chair regular meetings of the government’s emergency COBRA committee to take strategic decisions and review progress, Downing Street said.