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UK Covid live: public backs Johnson's plan for lockdown easing in England, polls suggest UK Covid live: travel firms report surge in demand for foreign holidays after lockdown easing plan published
(32 minutes later)
Number of people who think PM has got ‘balance about right’ outnumbers those who think he is moving too slowly or quickly, says YouGov Travel operator Tui reports sixfold increase in bookings, with Greece, Spain and Turkey most popular locations
The deputy chief medical officer for Wales, Chris Jones, has expressed concern and scepticism over the UK government’s 21 June target to lift all limits on socialising in England.
Asked on BBC Radio Wales about the excitement in England the announcement of the date had caused, Jones said:
He said he would be “very surprised” if all limits on socialising could be lifted in Wales by 21 June. He went on:
More travel companies have followed easyJet (see 9.44am) in reporting a surge in demand for foreign holidays, PA Media reports. PA says:
Wales had effectively stopped recording excess deaths by early February, according to the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics. But in the week ending Friday 12 February deaths in all regions of England were still well above the five-year average for this time of year, and overall deaths in England and Wales were running at 28.8%.
Of the 15,354 deaths in England and Wales in the week ending 12 February, 37.1% involved Covid (in that it was mentioned on the death certificate).
This chart illustrates the trend with excess deaths.
And here are the regional figures.
Although the latest weekly deaths figure for Wales is above the five-year average, the ONS says it is “within the range of 2015 to 2019 deaths for week 6” (ie, for this time of the year).
Dr Mike Tildesley, reader in mathematical modelling of infectious diseases at the University of Warwick and member of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M - effectively a subcommittee Sage), told the Today programme this morning he was worried that Covid could persist in poorer communities. Asked if it could remain a “disease of the deprived”, he said:
EasyJet says it experienced a surge in bookings after the PM said yesterday that foreign holidays might be permitted from 17 May. As PA Media reports, in the hours after the announcement, easyJet said bookings by UK customers for the summer season were more than four times higher compared with the same period during the previous week. The Luton-based firm’s holiday division saw an even larger rise, with demand up seven-fold.EasyJet says it experienced a surge in bookings after the PM said yesterday that foreign holidays might be permitted from 17 May. As PA Media reports, in the hours after the announcement, easyJet said bookings by UK customers for the summer season were more than four times higher compared with the same period during the previous week. The Luton-based firm’s holiday division saw an even larger rise, with demand up seven-fold.
EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said:EasyJet chief executive Johan Lundgren said:
The UK unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in the final quarter of last year, according to figures out this morning. My colleague Graeme Wearden has the details, with reaction and analysis, on his business live blog.The UK unemployment rate rose to 5.1% in the final quarter of last year, according to figures out this morning. My colleague Graeme Wearden has the details, with reaction and analysis, on his business live blog.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has said that everyone needs to play their part in order to meet the targets set for easing lockdown in England with the aim to move to “personal responsibility” rather than having social distancing laws “that get in the way of normal life”, my colleague Sarah Marsh reports.Matt Hancock, the health secretary, has said that everyone needs to play their part in order to meet the targets set for easing lockdown in England with the aim to move to “personal responsibility” rather than having social distancing laws “that get in the way of normal life”, my colleague Sarah Marsh reports.
Good morning. Snap polls aren’t a perfect way of measuring public opinion - they involve people being asked about events that have only just happened, many respondents will not have read beyond a headline, and no one will have had time to mull it over properly - but they are better than nothing, and, on Covid at least, certainly a more reliable guide than newspaper front pages. (Many newspapers suggest Britain is clamouring to end the lockdown, when in fact the survey evidence suggests the opposite is the case.)Good morning. Snap polls aren’t a perfect way of measuring public opinion - they involve people being asked about events that have only just happened, many respondents will not have read beyond a headline, and no one will have had time to mull it over properly - but they are better than nothing, and, on Covid at least, certainly a more reliable guide than newspaper front pages. (Many newspapers suggest Britain is clamouring to end the lockdown, when in fact the survey evidence suggests the opposite is the case.)
And so there is good news for Boris Johnson this morning. There have been two snap polls about the roadmap for lifting lockdown in England he announced yesterday, and they both suggest that voters are in favour.And so there is good news for Boris Johnson this morning. There have been two snap polls about the roadmap for lifting lockdown in England he announced yesterday, and they both suggest that voters are in favour.
According to a YouGov poll, the number of people who think the PM has got “the balance about right” outnumbers the combined total of those who think he is relaxing the rules too slowly and those who think he is relaxing too fast (a bigger group).According to a YouGov poll, the number of people who think the PM has got “the balance about right” outnumbers the combined total of those who think he is relaxing the rules too slowly and those who think he is relaxing too fast (a bigger group).
This is from the YouGov write-up of the findings.This is from the YouGov write-up of the findings.
And Savanta ComRes has a snap poll suggesting a majority of voters are satisfied with the PM’s roadmap.And Savanta ComRes has a snap poll suggesting a majority of voters are satisfied with the PM’s roadmap.
The poll also suggests 31% of voters think the plan is “about right”. There are more people who think it is either “cautious” (30%) or “very cautious” (15%), but respondents may have regarded these as good qualities. Only 19% said they regarded the plans as reckless.The poll also suggests 31% of voters think the plan is “about right”. There are more people who think it is either “cautious” (30%) or “very cautious” (15%), but respondents may have regarded these as good qualities. Only 19% said they regarded the plans as reckless.
Here is the agenda for the day.Here is the agenda for the day.
9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.9.30am: The ONS publishes its weekly death figures for England and Wales.
9.30am: The DWP publishes its quarterly universal credit figures.9.30am: The DWP publishes its quarterly universal credit figures.
10.45am: George Eustice, the environment secretary, speaks at the National Farmers Union conference. Sir Keir Starmer is speaking at the same event at 12.30pm, and Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, is on at 2pm.10.45am: George Eustice, the environment secretary, speaks at the National Farmers Union conference. Sir Keir Starmer is speaking at the same event at 12.30pm, and Liz Truss, the international trade secretary, is on at 2pm.
11.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.11.30am: Matt Hancock, the health secretary, takes questions in the Commons.
12pm: Downing Street holds its daily lobby briefing.12pm: Downing Street holds its daily lobby briefing.
After 2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, makes a statement to the Scottish parliament about Scotland’s plan for lifting lockdown.After 2pm: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, makes a statement to the Scottish parliament about Scotland’s plan for lifting lockdown.
Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.Politics Live is now doubling up as the UK coronavirus live blog and, given the way the Covid crisis eclipses everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we will be covering non-Covid political stories too, and when they seem more important or more interesting, they will take precedence.
Here is our global coronavirus live blog.Here is our global coronavirus live blog.
I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.
If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.