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Another 560 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 yesterday, up from 440 yesterday. When averaging the figure across a rolling seven-day period, however, the situation becomes even more worrying. The seven-day average for new cases is now 638, up from 584 seven days ago, and 546 on July 6 – a slow but steady increase.
The numbers suggests the disease may once again be spreading in the community – with scientists also concerned about the impact of “Super Saturday” on July 4, when pubs across England opened their doors for the first time in months.
However, the increase could also be the result of more comprehensive testing.
The situation is complicated still further as a result of a flaw in the way the data is collected, meaning the daily death toll is too high as people who have actually died of other causes are being included.
Pharmacologist Dr Yoon Loke, of the University of East Anglia, who discovered the error, “Because of this major flaw in the statistics, and the fact that tens of thousands of older people are being monitored, there is going to be a very, very long tail of daily deaths.
“The death toll will go down exceedingly slowly. It’s certainly not going to get to zero for months to come yet, because older people who have recovered from COVID-19 will unfortunately still succumb to other illnesses.”
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7.56am update: Pandemic shows “sheer might” of the UK, insists Johnson
The “sheer might” of the UK has been shown during the coronavirus pandemic, the Prime Minister has said ahead of a visit north of the border.
Boris Johnson will arrive in Scotland on Thursday, ahead of the one year anniversary of his first day in Downing Street on Friday.
Downing Street said that during his visit – his first to Scotland since the general election in December – the Prime Minister will meet with businesses hit by the pandemic, those working in green energy, and military personnel to thank them for their efforts in the response to coronavirus.
There are no plans to meet with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who said at her regular coronavirus briefing on Wednesday that she would be willing to meet with the Prime Minister.
7.51am update: No plan for schools, says report
The report adds: “Yet, while school closures were predicted in pandemic planning, there seems to have been no plan for how schools and pupils would be supported to continue to learn.”
The PAC urged the Government to “learn lessons” from its response and “ensure it doesn’t repeat its mistakes again in the event of a second spike in infections – or another novel disease outbreak”.
The report stated: “We are astonished by the Government’s failure to consider in advance how it might deal with the economic impacts of a pandemic.”
Labour chairwoman of the committee, Meg Hillier, said: “Pandemic planning is the bread and butter of government risk planning, but we learn it was treated solely as a health issue, with no planning for the economic impacts.
“This meant that the economic strategy was of necessity rushed and reactive, initially a one-size-fits-all response that’s leaving people – and whole sectors of the economy – behind.”
7.46am update: Parliamentary report savages Government’s “astonishing” failure to plan for pandemic
The Government’s failure to plan for the economic impact of a pandemic like the coronavirus has been branded “astonishing” in a scathing report by financial watchdogs.
The influential cross-party Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) said the economic reaction to Covid-19 was rushed and has left whole sectors behind.
The committee said lack of preparedness could have a “long-term” impact on the economy.
It said the Treasury waited until mid-March, days before the lockdown, before deciding on the economic support schemes it would put in place.
The committee also warned of the impact on children, saying: “It will be a huge task to ensure lengthy school closures do not have long-term or irreversible effects on children and young people’s future health and education.”
7.39am update: Boris Johnson orders army to plan for horror COVID-19, Brexit, flu and flood catastrophe
Boris Johnson has ordered the British army to prepare for four major disasters this winter which could simultaneously devastate the UK.
Downing Street has asked the Ministry of Defence to tabletop exercises to simulate the combined threat of a second wave of coronavirus, a serious flu outbreak, Brexit and flooding.
The Ministry of Defence will perform the exercises in conjunction with Whitehall departments as well as local authorities by the end of August.
The Government worries a second wave of coronavirus could overpower the NHS bringing it to its knees.
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