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Intelligence Bulletin - 12 October, 2020

12 Oct 2020

Local impact

Health

  • The average number of people testing positive for Covid-19 in Cornwall has remained relatively stable over the past week. While the total number of detected cases has risen to above 1700 cases since March, the 7-day average for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly currently stands at 26 cases. That is an increase compared to the average of 4.1 cases on 1 September, but so far it is not a drastic spike as seen in the North of England. The infection rate in Cornwall stands at 294 cases per 100,000 resident population.


Economy

  • Despite the Coronavirus pandemic, construction of the Spaceport Cornwall is to begin this month. The first satellites could be put into space via aircraft taking off from Newquay in early 2022.   The project is estimated to create 150 new jobs and generate £200m worth of Gross Value Added.
  • Cornish Cinema chain WTW has urged people to support the industry. The company which operates cinemas in Newquay, St Austell, Truro and Wadebridge tweeted it was understandable that not everyone was ready to go back to the movies, but suggested to “come in and buy a coffee, popcorn ... to take home, or buy a gift card”.
  • Heritage attractions across the south west have been given financial aid to help them during the coronavirus pandemic. 433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. Among the Cornish sites receiving money from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are the Lost Gardens of Heligan (£606,400), the Bodmin and Wenford Railway (£260,000), Truro Cathedral (£146,000) and the Cornwall Aviation Heritage Centre (£53,200).


National impact

Health

  • The government is introducing a new three-tier alert system for England. Regions will be classified as being on ‘medium’, ‘high’ or ‘very high’ alert. Areas on the highest alert level will have to introduce temporary closures of, for example, gyms and certain hospitality venues. Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced last week that employees who work for UK firms forced to shut by law because of coronavirus restrictions are to get two-thirds of their wages paid for by the government.
  • The Royal College of Surgeons in England has warned of a “tsunami of cancelled operations” over the winter. A survey run by the organisation shows that the vast majority of its members have not yet gotten back to pre-pandemic treatment levels for routine surgeries. The situation is expected to get worse as the virus is becoming more prevalent again and operations are likely to be cancelled to free up beds for Covid-19 patients.
  • The number of people who tested positive for Covid-19 in the UK has reached a new high. The 7-day average climbed to more than 15,500 last week. The peak during the ‘first wave’ in April/May this year was an average of 5,000 daily cases. However, more cases are being detected now due to increased testing capacity.
  • The North of England and Northern Ireland are currently among the UK regions with the highest infection rate in Europe. Figures from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control also show that the UK still has the highest number of deaths in Europe.
  • More than two thirds of people who tested positive for Covid-19 had no symptoms on the day of the test. New analysis of data from the Office for National Statistics’ Infection Survey shows that 86% of infected people reported none of the main symptoms of the illness, namely a cough, or a fever, or a loss of taste or smell. Researchers are calling for a more widespread testing programme to capture this “silent” transmission.


Economy

  • The UK economy is unlikely to bounce back to pre-Covid levels any time soon. ONS data shows that although the UK’s economic output grew by 2.1% in August, it still remains 9.2% below the GDP level seen in February of this year. Some economists interpret the slowdown in growth as a sign that Britain had never been on course for a rapid V-shaped recovery.
  • Less people in England have the opportunity to take up an apprenticeship as a result of the pandemic. Provisional Department for Education figures show that lockdown measures have drastically reduced apprenticeship starts. There have been 58,000 apprenticeship starts reported between 23 March and 31 July 2020; fewer than the 108,000 reported for this period last year.
  • The Covid pandemic is hitting low-income families particularly hard. A study of households on Universal Credit or Child Tax Credits, published by the charity Save the Children, revealed that nearly 40% of families had to rely on help from charities for food and clothes over the past two months. A quarter (26%) are already cutting back on electricity and heating.
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