People will need to continue working from home to help main social distancing measures that might be required after coronavirus lockdown rules are eased, a study suggests.
Analysis by the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) says changes to commuting patterns would have to happen with research showing one in six people use public transport to get to work in the UK.
This rises one in two for people who live in London, although the study suggests that the nature of jobs in the capital means they are more conducive to home working.
The IFS says getting employees in industries such as finance to continue working from home will be important as research shows they are more able to work at home and more likely to have used public transport during normal times.
Meanwhile, the study also claims reopening the hospitality sector will create challenges as many of the industry’s staff cannot work from home and many use public transport.
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Alex Davenport, a research economist at the IFS, said: “Returning to their work, while maintaining social distancing, will clearly be difficult for those who commute using public transport.
“This is particularly true in London, and especially so among younger workers in London.
“Fortunately, many who previously used public transport are able to work from home, such as those working in finance.
“If social distancing on public transport is to be achieved then getting these workers to continue to work from home will be very important.
“In contrast, reopening the hospitality sector will create a particular challenge as many workers in this sector cannot work from home and were relatively heavy users of public transport to get to work.”
Scroll down for updates from the pandemic.
Trago Mills confirms new opening times at Liskeard store
The Trago Mills store near Liskeard has revealed what times customers will be allowed to browse round the aisles ahead of its planned reopening tomorrow (May 16).
A number of new safety measures, including screens and floor markings to encourage social distancing, have been installed at the iconic superstore in a bid to keep staff and customers safe.
Only the ground floor, which includes the DIY, pets, decorating and garden sections, will be open to customers.
On top of this, Trago has now confirmed its new opening times.
Read more here.
Police spat at by ‘charming young fellow’ who claimed he had COVID-19
A “charming young fellow” has been arrested after spitting at a police officer in Plymouth and claiming he had coronavirus.
Inspector Paul Laity, critical incident manager with Plymouth B Section Response, tweeted just before 7.20am that the incident happened at around 4am.
The person threatened to spit at officers before actually doing so, with their saliva hitting an officer’s head.
Insp Laity said the incident made him “livid” and the spitter has been arrested.
Met a charming young fellow 0400hrs who appeared to take delight in invading officers personal space telling us he had COVID19 and threatening to spit at us just prior to then actually spitting on my colleagues head. Arrested of course. I was livid. Does it make u mad?
— Inspector Paul Laity (@InspPlymouthB) May 15, 2020
Read more here.
WHO official warns against giving specific lockdown easing dates
The World Health Organisation’s coronavirus special envoy has warned the Government against giving specific dates in which lockdown measures could be released before a comprehensive testing, tracing and isolating system is in place.
Asked how he feels about schools returning from June 1, Dr David Nabarro told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Other countries are saying very clearly we want to make sure that the capacity to test, trace and isolate is present throughout our country before we really start lifting the restrictions on movement.
“After all, what is lockdown? It is freezing the lockdown in place and it is giving us a time to get ready so that when we release the lockdown we are better protected.
“And I suppose my request to all countries is that rather than giving precise dates, they say we’ll release the lockdowns when we know that we’ve got the defence mechanisms in place, when we know that our people understand the severity of this virus and what we’ve got to do and when we’ve made sure that in the settings where the virus is most easily transmitted, we’ve put in place the best possible protection to keep those at risk most safe.”
Harry Kane says top flight footballers still waiting for safety guidance
England captain Harry Kane says players are awaiting safety guidance from the Premier League before making their minds up about a possible return to competitive action next month.
Updated government guidelines have bolstered hopes of a mooted June 12 resumption but there is plenty of work to do around ensuring games can be played in a safe environment.
Speaking on Good Morning Britain, the Tottenham Hotspur striker said: “I don’t think anyone knows the right answer at the moment. I think the majority of players are looking forward to playing again as soon as possible but we know we want it to be as safe as possible too.
“From what I have heard – obviously I haven’t seen too much of my team-mates – at the moment everyone is OK. We want to see how the Premier League gives us a plan and what that looks like. I guess we just go from there.
“Me personally, I am happy to start training in small groups if that is allowed and just trying to get back to some normality as soon as possible. I guess everyone is different and has their own personal view.”
Clarity of Government’s message has been ‘eroded’
Rachel Reeves, Shadow Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, said the clarity of the Government’s message has been eroded.
Speaking on Sky News, she said: “The message until last week has been very clear, stay at home to protect lives and the NHS.
“That clarity of message and that consistency of message has been eroded in the last week because we now have different approaches in our different nations in the United Kingdom.
“I think that does cause some confusion and risks the rules being misinterpreted in different parts of the country.
“And that’s why I say that as much as possible it’s important to give a one-nation message to keep that message simple, to enable people to follow the rules.”
Cabinet minister says public transport use is safe if social distancing measures are followed
If people use proper social distancing on public transport “it is safe”, Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis has said.
Asked whether lockdown measures could be released regionally, Mr Lewis told Sky News: “Well we’re taking a data and science-led approach at all stages of this.”
He added: “If analysis is correct and London is that much lower than elsewhere it is important we don’t allow that to rise again.”
Pushed on whether he would be comfortable to use public transport, Mr Lewis said: “Well if we’re practising proper social distancing, yes it is safe.
“And I think actually the point I would make is, look, it is a fair point, if everybody goes onto public transport there will be a challenge with being able to continue to follow social distancing and people see images of people showing where social distancing isn’t being followed.
“That is why we’re so clear in saying to people we must follow social distancing to keep on top of this R level, that is why we’re saying to people don’t use public transport unless you absolutely have to.”
RFU says work is being done to fit matches against Japan elsewhere in international calendar
In a statement, the Rugby Football Union said all parties were working to try and find a way to fit July’s matches into a new-look international calendar for the rest of the year.
“All decision-making will be entirely contingent on national government travel, quarantine and health advice and important player welfare and hosting considerations in line with return-to-rugby guidance recently published by World Rugby,” it read.
In a statement, World Rugby added: “The programme of international rugby matches scheduled for the 2020 July window has been postponed due to ongoing government and health agency COVID-19 directives.
“Extended travel and quarantine restrictions that apply to numerous countries, and concerns over adequate player preparation time, mean that any sort of cross-border international rugby competition cannot be hosted in July.”
As well as England’s plans, Wales were due to be playing a Test in Japan at the end of June before moving on to New Zealand, while Scotland were headed for South Africa and Ireland due in Australia.
William Hill says revenue has dropped around the world
William Hill said its revenue dropped by more than half around the world as the coronavirus pandemic struck the global economy.
In the seven weeks to April 28, total net revenue dropped by 57%. The company’s operations in the US were hardest hit, falling by 90%.
Betting on sports reduced by 86% over the period, William Hill said, as many sports decided to cancel events entirely, meaning there was nothing to bet on.
However, online sports wagers fell by less than expected as customers started putting bets on table tennis and emerging market football.
England’s rugby tour of Japan postponed
England’s tour of Japan in July, which included two Test matches, has been postponed, the Rugby Football Union has announced.
It comes after World Rugby said on Friday that all fixtures in July would be called off due to COVID-19, meaning England’s Tests in Oita (July 4) and Kobe (July 11) have been removed from the schedule.
“While we are of course disappointed to have our two Test matches against Japan postponed, it’s the correct decision under the current circumstances,” said England head coach Eddie Jones.
Number of coronavirus cases likely to be ‘a little bit higher’
The number of daily new cases of COVID-19 in London is likely to be “a little bit higher” than 24, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine has said.
Asked if 24 new cases a day in the capital is robust, Dr Sebastian Funk told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Well, there is some variation around this and there is some uncertainty in this, but what we have observed in London is that case numbers and death numbers have come down faster than in other parts of the country – albeit from a considerably higher level.
“So I think it… well, I would say it is a little bit higher than that, but it is probably lower than the rest of the country.”
Asked whether the R rate should be looked at regionally, Prof Funk said: “I absolutely do so, yes.”
Pushed on whether the Government should react to different R rates regionally in policy terms too, he added: “I think that is something that we will probably have to do going forward.”
More than a quarter of patients who died in hospital with COVID-19 had diabetes
More than a quarter of NHS patients who died in hospitals in England after contracting coronavirus had diabetes, figures show.
Of the 22,332 patients who have died in England’s hospitals since March 31, when pre-existing conditions began to be recorded, some 5,873 (26%) had diabetes.
Published on Thursday, it is the first time NHS England has included a breakdown of deaths by pre-existing conditions in its statistics.
Charity Diabetes UK said the figures show an “urgent” need for more information to ensure the safety of those with diabetes as lockdown measures are eased.
Read more here.
Second homeowners and yachties are already flocking to Salcombe
Police have been alerted after several high-end cars, belonging to second homeowners have appeared in Salcombe this morning, after travelling to the seaside town.
Residents in Salcombe are “extremely frightened” after a number of second homeowners have travelled from all over the country with their boats to visit the town and access the estuary which reopened on Wednesday (May 13).
It is understood that the public slipway is currently blocked by machinery, and vessels in Salcombe won’t be able to launch until Monday (May 18).
It is suspected that the reopening of the estuary is going to entice even more second homeowners to come to the area along with their yachts.
Read more here.
Shadow Rail Minister calls for post-lockdown transport plan
Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi says the Institute for Fiscal Studies analysis shows the need for a “comprehensive transport plan” after the COVID-19 lockdown is eased.
Mr Dhesi says: “This analysis shows we need a comprehensive transport plan to get our country moving again when we come out of lockdown, not the confusing and contradictory advice we are currently getting from the Government.
“The footage of people packed onto public transport this week was deeply worrying, but it was unsurprising after Boris Johnson ordered a return to work with just 12 hours’ notice, and no official guidance on how workers can keep safe and no measures in place to deal with demand.”
Study – working from home will need to continue after lockdown
Research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) has suggested home working will need to continue even after coronavirus lockdown rules are eased to ensure any social distancing measures can be kept.
The IFS’ study also states that substantial changes to commuting patterns would be required post-lockdown.
Alex Davenport, a research economist at the IFS, said: “Returning to their work, while maintaining social distancing, will clearly be difficult for those who commute using public transport.”