By Hallum Cowell
The UK ends its second week on lockdown with over 4,900 deaths and over 47,000 confirmed cases as of 8 pm Sunday April 5. Worldwide cases were also reported to have risen to over a million cases with 65,000 deaths worldwide and 252,000 people have recovered from the virus.
This week the government announced a new goal of 100,000 tests a day by the end of April following countries such as Germany which has achieved a rate of 50,000 tests a day. This marks a move away from the centralised testing of recent weeks where testing for the Coronavirus was concentrated in a small number of labs.
The government has been somewhat unsuccessful previously making its goal of 10,000 tests by the beginning of April two days late, having hit that mark on April 2. Each test for the Coronavirus takes days and must be conducted in a laboratory while teams of scientists attempt to find the virus’ genetic material in a sample taken from the nose or throat.
In East London ExCel centre the Government has opened the first of their emergency field hospitals. Called NHS Nightingale Hospital the site can hold up to 4,000 patients. The centre was previously used to hold large conventions such as London’s Comic-Con. A similar centre in Birmingham is set to open on April 12 with capacity for 2,000 patients. Additionally, there are plans to turn Cardiff’s Principality Stadium into one of these ad-hoc hospitals with a capacity of 2,000.
This weekend, April 4-5, has been a sunny one in most parts of the UK which has led to more people breaking lockdown rules to take advantage of the weather. On Sunday Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that he “cannot rule out further steps” for social distancing however none are imminent. New Labour Leader Keir Starmer told the BBC on Sunday morning that his party would be willing to back a potential Government ban on outdoor exercise.
On Sunday night the Queen gave a televised address to the nation. During the address, her majesty thanked key workers including those working in the NHS as well as calling the nation to unite against the threat of the virus. This is the fifth time during her reign that the Queen has made a “rallying speech” as opposed to her regular Christmas messages.
The global economy has continued to suffer under the restrictions to public life. This week a number of prominent UK businesses have considered calling in administrators including Cath Kidston and Debenhams. These companies could face collapse, could recover or could be bought by different companies.
New Look has also announced it will delay payments to suppliers indefinitely as it cancels its spring and summer collections.
Elsewhere in the world, unemployment is on the rise with the US unemployment level rising to 4.4%, the largest one-month increase since 1975. This change marks a sharp reversal of fortunes for the country which has seen continuous unemployment reduction since 2010.
On Sunday Italy saw its lowest increase in Covid-19 related deaths for two weeks, sparking hope that the country has seen the worst of the virus off. Spain has also seen a decline in deaths over the weekend seeing its lowest death toll in 10 days. The United States of America remains the most infected country with over 312,000 confirmed cases.