The novel coronavirus has been hitting all parts of the world. The virus, which originated in China, is now a global pandemic and the UK is struggling to keep infections low. At the time of publishing, the UK has reported over 12,000 known cases and over 500 deaths.
The numbers are expected to go up over the coming few days. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson also came up positive and announced that the entire country will go on complete lockdown in an effort to flatten the curve of infections.
London is also rolling out a rapid testing program designed to test millions of people over the coming weeks. The thinking behind the move is simple. If more people get tested, then it will be easier to know the extent of the infections and where they are concentrated.
The UK government’s primary goal right now is to safeguard the health of its people but there are still concerns that the ongoing shutdown could have massive implications on the economy.
The disruptions caused to businesses are huge and this comes during a time when the state has been negotiating a favorable exit from the EU. Nonetheless, the government recently unveiled a raft of measures that would help cushion the country against the long and short-term adverse effects of the pandemic.
According to Finance Minister Rishi Sunak, the government will begin paying self-employed people 80% of their monthly profits. The minister also noted that only businesses with trading profits of up to £50,000 will be eligible for the grants program.
The hope is that the money will help maintain cash flow in closed businesses. The income security program came as the government faced continued pressure to safeguard the future of self-employed citizens who are currently not able to work due to the shutdown.
It’s not clear how long the UK shutdown will last. Right now the number of infections is rising and until the curve flattens out, it’s very unlikely that shutdown restrictions as currently constituted will be rolled back.
But the UK is not the only country dealing with the issue. Italy remains the hardest-hit European nation with over 80,000 cases and over 8,200 deaths. The US is also now the global epicenter of the virus after recent data showed infections have surpassed those in Italy and China.
The US has over 82,000 positive COVID-19 cases and slightly above 1,300 deaths. The figures in the US are expected to jump even further despite massive lockdown orders in many of the affected states.
The economic effects of the virus on a global scale are also expected to bite with the global economy now seemingly heading towards a recession.
Global leaders are pledging up to $5 trillion to cushion the world economy against a possible collapse over the coming few months. But right now there’s no end in sight as more and more countries continue to report more infections in their countries.