Total UK Cases: 4,341,736 positive tests
Latest UK daily figure: 4,040 new cases
Number in UK hospital: 4,153 (289 new admissions)
New deaths across UK: 56
Total UK deaths: 126,670
England Cases per 100,000: 55.8 per 100,000
R number in UK: 0.7 to 0.9
Total 1st doses given: 30,680,948 up to and including 29 March 2021
Total 2nd doses given: 3,838,010
Latest Cheshire East data:
Total Cheshire East cases: 20,628
New cases in past 7 days: 180 to 25 March
Total deaths: 792
Cases per 100,000: 46.9 per 100,000
R number in North West: 0.7 to 1
Coronavirus cases in the UK: daily updated statistics
The latest number of coronavirus (COVID-19) tests, cases and deaths in the UK. The way deaths are reported is based on a 28-day limit between the date of a positive lab-confirmed test and date of death.
Slides, datasets and transcripts to accompany coronavirus press conferences
Slides, datasets and transcripts from press conferences at 10 Downing Street in response to coronavirus
COVID-19: background information
Information on COVID-19 including epidemiology, virology and clinical features – updated with latest global case numbers.
UK NEWS & HEADLINES:
Lloyds Bank reports business confidence at highest level since pandemic began
Respondents reported that gains in trading prospects thanks to the clarity of reopening dates for many sectors and wider optimism about the economy as a whole were contributing to more businesses reporting that they had better prospects now than at any other time since the start of the pandemic. Overall business confidence rose to 15% nationwide, with North-west businesses even more confident at 26% on the scale from -100 to +100, according to survey data gathered between the 1st and 15th March.
Novavax: Government confirms order of 60 million doses
Tens of millions of doses of the Novavax vaccine will now be produced and packaged in north-east England, the prime minister has announced. Boris Johnson said a deal had been agreed with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to bottle 60 million doses at its facility in Barnard Castle, County Durham. GSK said it hoped the “fill and finish” process can begin as early as May.
In January, it was announced the vaccine would be manufactured at the Fujifilm plant in Billingham. Novavax is currently being assessed by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. The biotech company behind it, also called Novavax, recently announced its vaccine was 86% effective against the Kent variant of Covid-19 and 96% effective in preventing cases caused by the original strain.
29th March: Further easing of restrictions in England
Social contact: – the evidence shows that it is safer for people to meet outdoors rather than indoors. And this is why from 29 March, when most schools start to break up for the Easter holidays, outdoor gatherings (including in private gardens) of either 6 people (the Rule of 6) or 2 households will also be allowed, making it easier for friends and families to meet outside.
Business and activities: – Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts, and open-air swimming pools, will also be allowed to reopen, and people will be able to take part in formally organised outdoor sports.
Travel: – the ‘stay at home’ rule will ends today but many restrictions will remain in place. People should continue to work from home where they can and minimise the number of journeys they make where possible, avoiding travel at the busiest times and routes. Travel abroad will continue to be prohibited, other than for a small number of permitted reasons. Holidays abroad will not be allowed, given it will remain important to manage the risk of imported variants and protect the vaccination programme. The government has launched a new taskforce to review global travel which will report on 12 April.
COVID-19 restrictions posters: 29 March 2021
A poster displaying information about COVID-19 Restrictions in England from 29 March.
Vaccination programme could allow safe travel to 100+ countries according to an airport study
The success of the UK’s vaccination programme could allow over 100 countries to be added to travel corridor list without risking public health: those are the findings of a study carried out by Edge Health and Oxera on behalf of Manchester Airports Group. The research found that should coronavirus case numbers over the summer be similar to rates last year, international travel could open up to around 130 countries worldwide, thanks to the extent of the UK’s vaccination programme and its expected impact in reducing hospitalisations and driving down transmission.
Leaders call for joint approach in case of a future pandemic
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has joined more than 20 world leaders in calling for a new global settlement to help the world prepare for future pandemics. Leaders including French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel write in newspapers round the world that Covid has posed the biggest challenge since World War Two
MPs told PM foreign holidays essential to drive economic recovery
A group of 40 MPs have written to prime minister Boris Johnson urging him not to delay lifting the UK’s ban on overseas leisure travel, claiming foreign holidays will be essential to the UK’s economic recovery. The cross-party letter, signed by former cabinet minister Karen Bradley as well as chair of the government’s transport committee Huw Merriman and ex-aviation minister Paul Maynard, detailed the value of tourism, travel and aviation to the economy, the Daily Mail reports.
Government expands rapid workplace testing into the home
The Government has announced that all employers with over ten workers can access home test kits as part of an expansion of the workplace coronavirus testing programme. Over 60,000 businesses have already registered for the scheme, which had previously been limited to businesses with 50 employees or more. From 6th April, home test kits will begin to be dispatched to companies who are unable to operate on-site testing. Businesses should register their interest by 12th April to take part in the programme.
Sir Lenny Henry urges black people to get vaccinated in an open letter
Sir Lenny Henry has written an open letter urging black Britons to take the Covid-19 vaccine. The comedian and actor said people should “trust the facts” and guard against misinformation. The letter has been signed by high-profile figures such as actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Thandie Newton and YouTube star KSI.
LOCAL / REGIONAL NEWS & UPDATES:
Cheshire East businesses invited to apply for Restart Grant
Cheshire East Council will soon be inviting applications from businesses for the government’s Restart Grant. The scheme, which will be available from 1 April 2021, will support eligible non-essential retail businesses and hospitality, accommodation, leisure, personal care and gym businesses with one-off grants of up to £18,000 to help them reopen safely. The council is also awaiting further details from government on an extra allocation of funding for the Additional Restrictions Grant to allow it to open another round of applications. A further announcement will be made soon.
Act now to ensure your say in May elections
Polling cards for the local elections on 6 May will be dropping through people’s letter boxes over the next few days – and Cheshire East Council is urging people to ‘act sooner rather than later’ if they require a postal vote, a proxy vote or need to register to vote.
Cheshire East residents will go to the polls to have their say on who represents them as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cheshire. There will also be a small number of local council by-elections and neighbourhood planning referenda that take place on 6 May.
Michelle Hay, Health and Safety expert talks to MWAM members about how to return to work safely
With April 12th fast approaching and most daring to dream that we might be venturing back into the workplace for the first time in a while, we asked Michelle Hay of Michelle Hay Health & Safety to give us a checklist of what to consider.
Coronavirus: letter to the agricultural sector on workplace testing
Letter from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food to the agricultural sector in England about free coronavirus tests for permanent and seasonal workers.
Understanding the business impacts of local and national restrictions: March 2021
Experimental estimates from the voluntary fortnightly business survey (BICS), for single site businesses only, on topics such as trading status, financial performance, workforce and business resilience. Geographical breakdowns include country, regional and local authority levels.
COVID-19 restrictions posters: 29 March 2021
A poster displaying information about COVID-19 Restrictions in England from 29 March.
Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
If you’re an employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – the weekly rate in the ‘What you can claim’ section has been updated.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): Employer Testing Duty
If you are an employer that requires staff to travel regularly across UK borders you must take reasonable steps to facilitate your employees to take tests.
Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing
In the next major push for the Government’s workplace testing programme, all employers will now be able to offer their employees free, rapid and regular testing that can be taken at home
NHS Test and Trace in the workplace
What to do if you or someone you employ is contacted by NHS Test and Trace, including self-isolation, sick pay and financial support – Updated to reflect the change in rules for when a group enters a venue. From 29 March 2021, every customer or visitor should be asked to scan the NHS QR code or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member.
Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace
Designated venues in certain sectors must have a system in place to request and record contact details of their customers, visitors and staff to help break the chains of transmission of coronavirus – Updated to reflect the change in rules for when a group enters a venue. From 29 March 2021, every customer or visitor should be asked to scan the NHS QR code or provide their name and contact details, not just a lead member.
Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for pregnant employees
Advice for pregnant employees on risk assessments in the workplace and occupational health during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic – updated background information section to include information on the next stage of the roadmap.
If you move goods between the UK and countries in the EU, you need to follow new customs and tax rules. Your business will be affected by the new rules if you:
- buy goods from an EU seller and bring them into the UK
- send goods you’ve sold to a buyer in an EU country
- haven’t exchanged money but need to move equipment that you use for your business, between the UK and the EU.
We understand this means a lot of changes are needed, and HMRC is here to help you in several ways. You can now apply for the SME Brexit Support Fund. Smaller businesses can get up to £2,000 to pay for practical support, including training or professional advice to adjust to new customs, rules of origin and VAT rules when trading with the EU. You can attend our webinars to help adjust to the new rules and keep your business moving.
Exporting: what you need to do to keep your goods moving: An overview of the actions you need to take now before you export goods from Great Britain to the EU and move goods between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Key processes include – zero-rated VAT, customs declarations, using an intermediary as well as licences, certificates, and authorisations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to export.
Customs Import Declarations: an overview: If your business or a business you represent, needs to make customs import declarations on controlled goods and on non-controlled goods by the end of June 2021, our webinar helps you to understand what’s needed for simplified declarations, supplementary declarations, and delayed import declarations. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
Trader responsibilities when using an intermediary: This webinar explains your responsibilities as a trader, if you choose to use an intermediary to complete import or export declarations for your business. These are complex and an intermediary can save you a lot of time. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import or export.
Importing: staged introduction of customs controls: This webinar takes you through the three stages of the new border controls introduced on 1?? ?January?? ?2021, and what actions you need to take for each stage. Please register to take part if you’re planning to import.
You can also:
- watch our videos on HMRC’s YouTube channel to familiarise yourself with the new customs processes and what you need to do before you trade goods with the EU
- use the trader checklist to make sure you’re familiar with the new rules that affect you
- use our updated guides to understand the new customs and VAT requirements when moving goods between the UK and EU countries
- sign-up to the Trader Support Service if your client’s business is moving goods between GB and Northern Ireland and use their suite of educational products – including online training modules and webinars for support with the Northern Ireland Protocol
- ask and get answers to specific questions about HMRC processes for importing or exporting, by visiting our customer forums
- watch webinars and videos from other government departments to support you
- you can also sign up to our weekly email updates on News and information about importing and exporting with the EU, providing hints and tips for businesses like yours, getting used to the new rules for importing and exporting.
Call HMRC Customs & International Trade helpline on 0300?? ?322?? ?9434, for more help with importing, exporting or customs reliefs. The helpline is open?? ?from 8am?? ?to?? ?10pm?? ?Monday?? ?to?? ?Friday and?? ?from 8am?? ?to?? ?4pm at?? ?week??ends. You can also send us your questions or webchat.
Face coverings: when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make one
This page explains when to wear a face covering, exemptions from wearing one, and how to make your own face covering – updated guidance to reflect changes in restrictions after 29 March.
(COVID-19) Coronavirus restrictions: what you can and cannot do
Coronavirus restrictions remain in place. Find out what you can and cannot do;
Coronavirus restrictions page updated to include translated summaries of 29 March guidance changes.
Fix Your Bike Voucher Scheme: apply for a voucher
If you have an old bike gathering dust at home, you can apply for a voucher of up to £50 to get it repaired. The fourth batch of Fix Your Bike vouchers is now available.
Actions for early years and childcare providers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
What childcare services early years settings, childminders and local authorities need to provide during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak – updated guidance on shielding for staff and children, asymptomatic testing, Test and Trace payments for parents, parent and child groups: singing, educational visits and resuming Ofsted visits.
Summer schools programme
Details of the summer schools programme for secondary schools including funding, requirements for running a summer school and best practice evidence.
Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
Attendance in education settings since Monday 23 March and early years settings since Thursday 16 April – added ‘Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March 2020 to 25 March 2021’.
HEALTH & WELLBEING:
New Office for Health Promotion to drive improvement of nation’s health
The new Office for Health Promotion will lead national efforts to improve and level up the health of the nation by tackling obesity, improving mental health and promoting physical activity.
Rates of infection in care homes falls after just one jab
A study of care home residents in England suggests a single dose of the two main Covid vaccines used in the UK is effective at stopping 62% of infections. According to research by University College London, which involved more than 10,000 people aged over 65 at 310 care homes, the jab provided 56% protection after four weeks rising to 62% after five. The scientists say the data shows the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines are “effective in frail, older adults”. The study also found that residents who went on to develop the disease after being given a single dose may be less infectious than those who had not been vaccinated. You can find out more about vaccines, including answers to questions about safety, here.
COVID-19: advice for smokers and vapers
Advice for people who smoke or vape during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
Updated guidance in line with most recent evidence review
COVID-19: vaccine surveillance strategy
Information on the COVID-19 vaccine surveillance strategy in England – updated to include information on the CONSENSUS Study.
Adult Social Care Infection Control and Testing Fund
Sets out the measures that the new Infection Control and Testing Fund will support, including distribution of funds, conditions on funds and reporting requirements.
Government reintroduces confirmatory PCR testing
New technology known as ‘genotype assay testing’ to support identifying variants of concern.
PPE deliveries (England): 22 March to 28 March 2021
Experimental statistics showing the latest number of personal protective equipment (PPE) items distributed for use by health and social care services in England.
How to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Advice for everyone to help stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
Courts and tribunals additional capacity during coronavirus outbreak: Nightingale courts
This page holds a list of additional facilities opening to support the courts and tribunals estate during the coronavirus outbreak – University of Bolton Stadium added to list.
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Hotels and other guest accommodation – Updated to include information on reasonable adjustments, changes to NHS Test and Trace regulations and changes to national restrictions from 29 March.
Market upbeat despite fall in mortgage applications
Bank of England figures reveal that in February there were 87,700 mortgage approvals – down from a peak of 103,700 in November but still above long term averages. The Bank also notes that February’s was the smallest monthly figure since August’s 86,085. Even so, market experts remain relatively upbeat. Hometrack managing director David Ross says: “We remain optimistic that interest for mortgages still remains strong, in light of the 95% mortgage guarantee, the return of high LTV mortgages across the market, the successful roll out of vaccinations, and imminently the easing of lockdown restrictions.”
COVID-19: guidance for sampling and for diagnostic laboratories
Information for clinical diagnostic laboratories regarding safety, sampling and packaging specimens associated with COVID-19 – updated samples required for initial diagnostic testing (section 3)
COVID-19: Guidance for managing playgrounds and outdoor gyms
Guidance for owners and operators of playgrounds and outdoor gyms to enable their use while minimising the transmission risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) – updated to reflect latest restrictions.
Providers of day 2 and day 8 coronavirus testing for international arrivals
Information on the 2 tests you must book, pay for and take during your mandatory 10-day quarantine period after arriving in England, including how to book.
Bespoke testing regime unveiled for exempt international arrivals
The UK government has set out new details of a bespoke testing regime for international arrivals who will be exempt from quarantine for work purposes, including for hauliers arriving from outside the Common Travel Area into England.
Under this new bespoke testing regime international arrivals who are in the country for longer than two days will be required to take a test before the end of day two. People will be able to access these tests through several routes, including home tests and community testing sites. Those remaining in the UK for any longer than 2 days will then be required to take a further test every 3 days – typically on days 5 and 8.
Coronavirus Roadmap out of lockdown – what and when?
From 29 March:
- People will be allowed to meet outside, either with one other household or within the “rule of six”, including in private gardens
- The stay at home rule will end, but the government will urge people to stay local as much as possible
- Outdoor sport facilities will reopen, including golf courses and tennis and basketball courts, and formally organised outdoor sports can restart
- Weddings attended by up to six people can take place in any circumstances
Stage two (no earlier than 12 April):
- All shops allowed to open, along with close-contact services, including hairdressers and beauty salons (including in people’s homes)
- Restaurants and pubs allowed to serve food and alcohol to customers sitting outdoors Gyms and spas can reopen, as can zoos, theme parks, libraries and community centres
- Members of the same household can take a holiday in the UK in self-contained accommodation
- Weddings attended by up to 15 people can take place
Stage three (no earlier than 17 May):
- People can meet in groups of up to 30 outdoors
- Six people or two households can meet indoors
- Pubs, restaurants and other hospitality venues can seat customers indoors
- Up to 30 people can attend weddings or other life events, like christenings
- Remaining outdoor entertainment, such as outdoor theatres and cinemas can open
- Indoor entertainment such as museums, theatres, cinemas and children’s play areas can open
- Performances and large events can restart, but with limits on audience numbers
- Hotels, hostels and B&Bs can reopen
- International leisure travel may resume
- Adult indoor group sports and exercise classes can restart
Stage four (no earlier than 21 June):
- All legal limits on social contact will be removed
- No legal limits on the number of people who can attend weddings, funerals and other life events
- Nightclubs will be allowed to reopen
Publishing information about your claimsIn January HMRC published the list of employers who claimed under the CJRS for periods from December onwards, on GOV.UK.
Repayment period for Bounce Back Loans extended to ten yearsBusinesses that took out government Bounce Back loans to help them through the Coronavirus crisis now have more time to repay. Companies will be contacted with options to extend the length of the loan from six to 10 years as part of a new ‘pay-as-you-grow’ initiative. The new proposals give businesses three new options:
1. Extending the length of the loan from six years to 10;
2. Making interest-only payments for six months, then repaying the principal on a phased basis with other interest-only periods;
3. Delaying repayments entirely for up to six months.
COVID-19 Winter Plan
The government’s plan for managing COVID-19 through the end of 2020 and into the start of 2021.
Government extends JRS furlough scheme at 80% for period of lockdown
The government has said the furlough scheme, due to have closed on 31st October, would now be extended until December.
New National Restrictions from 5 November
Information on the new national restrictions, including what they mean for working from home and business closures, why they are being introduced and the financial support available.
Job Retention Bonus (JRB)
Employers are able to claim a one-off payment of £1,000 for every eligible employee furloughed and claimed for through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), kept continuously employed until at least 31 January 2021 and who meets the other eligibility criteria. Claims can be made between 15 February and 31 March.
Become a Green Homes Grant Supplier II – Trustmark and PAS 2030The new Green Homes Grant will give over 600,000 homeowners in England up to £10,000 to install insulation, heat pumps, draft proofing and more to help households cut energy bills.
Check if you’re eligible for the coronavirus Local Restrictions Support Grant
The Local Restrictions Support Grant (LRSG) supports businesses that have been required to close due to temporary COVID-19 local lockdown restrictions imposed by the government.
Self-Employment Income Support Scheme grant extension
The grant is being extended from 1 November 2020. Find out if you’re eligible and how much you can get.
Hospitality venues in England are now legally required to enforce the rule of 6 or face a fine of up to £4,000.
Designated businesses and organisations, including hospitality, close contact services and leisure venues, will also be legally required to log details of customers, visitors and staff for NHS Test and Trace and required to display official NHS QR code posters under law
NHS Test and Trace service in the workplace
Guidance on the NHS Test and Trace service for employers, businesses and workers updated to reflect the new legal requirements for designated venues to collect contact details and display official NHS QR code posters from 24th September
Claim money back through the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme
Find out how to claim the reimbursement for discounts given to diners with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme. The Eat Out to Help Out Scheme closed on 31 August 2020 – the page updated with removal of registration links.
The Kickstart Scheme provides funding to employers to create job placements for 16 to 24 year olds.
Kickstart Scheme employer resources
If you’ve been offered Kickstart Scheme funding, you can use these resources to show your support for the scheme.
Kickstart Scheme employer contacts
List of regional contacts for employers applying for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme.
Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do
Frequently asked questions on what you can and can’t do during the coronavirus outbreak – guidance updated in line with new regulations coming into force on 4 July
Apply for the coronavirus Future Fund
The Future Fund will provide UK Government loans to UK-based companies ranging from £125,000 to £5 million, subject to at least equal match funding from private investors.
Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme set to launch
Employers will be able to make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme from 26 May.
Government – Guidance on Returning to Work safely
Government – Setting out of Road Map to recovery – 11th May 2020
Our plan to rebuild: The UK Government’s 60 page COVID-19 recovery strategy
The UK Government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy. The strategy sets out a cautious roadmap to easing existing measures in a safe and measured way, subject to successfully controlling the virus and being able to monitor and react to its spread.
Coronavirus Act 2020: status
A table setting out the status of each measure in the Coronavirus Act 2020.
Government – Financial Support
New 100% government backed loan scheme for small business
Government – Financial Support
CBILS – A guide to whether it may be the best options for a business
Government – Financial Support
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme – online claims portal open
Government – Business Support:
Government launches new coronavirus business support finder tool
Government – Business Support Hub:
Government – Business Support:
Government – Business Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Government – Financial Support: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-business-support-grant-funding
Bank of England – Financial Support: https://www.bankofengland.co.uk/news/2020/march/the-covid-corporate-financing-facility
Gov.uk: Maintaining Educational Provision: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
UK Lockdown – Further businesses to close and exceptions: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/874732/230320_-_Revised_guidance_note_-_finalVF
Health – updates from NHS
Health – Shielding the most vulnerable https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19/guidance-on-shielding-and-protecting-extremely-vulnerable-persons-from-covid-19
Media and Marketing:
Recruitment: – DWP and Universal Credit: http://news.dwp.gov.uk/dwplz/lz.aspx?p1=MQsDU1NjQ5MlM2OTA0OjNCNDJBOEZCRTJDOUJEOTc1ODQ0RTRCRDNDNzk4QUNF-&CC=&p=0
Retail: An update form British Retail Consortium https://brc.org.uk/news/corporate-affairs/coronavirus-latest-retailer-activity/
Resources available from Acas:
Redundancy letter templates
Redundancy process map Acas have also contributed to the development of a new return to work toolkit in partnership with SOM, CIPD, BITC and Mind.