-Steps for easing lockdown in the UK
British authorities reported 315 more coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday to bring the death toll in the country to 28,446. As the daily death toll is getting less with the possibility that the country has reached its peak, the UK government is ready to ease lockdown measures in an attempt to help the struggling economy.
According to The Financial Times, senior figures in the City of London have urged the government to proceed with caution in easing the coronavirus lockdown, advising a gradual reopening of the economy.
On Monday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce the second phase of measures, as the country’s lockdown is due to end on May 8. There could be another extension but most probably it will be a lot less strict to normalize everyday life and boost the economy. According to a Financial Times story on Monday, hot-desking will be curtailed, staff canteens will remain closed and lifts will be kept half-empty in workplaces across the country under Johnson’s plan to ease the lockdown in the coming weeks.
Italy, the first country in the world to order a nationwide lockdown, is also easing some restrictions from Monday. Many countries worldwide are looking for ways to normalize their economies, find solutions to keep struggling companies running and save jobs.
AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford announced an agreement on Monday for the global development and distribution of the university’s potential recombinant adenovirus vaccine aimed at preventing COVID-19.
“As COVID-19 continues its grip on the world, the need for a vaccine to defeat the virus is urgent. This collaboration brings together the University of Oxford’s world-class expertise in vaccinology and AstraZeneca’s global development, manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Our hope is that, by joining forces, we can accelerate the globalization of a vaccine to combat the virus and protect people from the deadliest pandemic in a generation.” Pascal Soriot, chief executive officer of AstraZeneca, said.
Alok Sharma, the UK’s Business Secretary, said: “This collaboration between Oxford University and AstraZeneca is a vital step that could help rapidly advance the manufacture of a coronavirus vaccine. It will also ensure that, should the vaccine being developed by Oxford University’s Jenner Institute work, it will be available as early as possible, helping to protect thousands of lives from this disease.”
Vaccine development either in the UK or elsewhere is key to ensuring all struggling sectors return to normal while saving lives and jobs in the long term.