British authorities announced on Thursday the total number of UK-wide deaths from coronavirus was 30,615, a rise of 539 in the last 24 hours.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at the daily press briefing that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give a speech on Sunday outlining a “roadmap” to easing the lockdown.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS), the UK’s official statistics agency, reported that 23% of businesses had stopped trading due to coronavirus during the two weeks until April 29.
The Bank of England also warned that unemployment in the UK could double and the economy could shrink 25% in the second quarter of the year, and 14% overall in 2020 — the deepest recession of the last 300 years.
The accommodation and food service sectors were the most affected, with 81% stopping trade, while the arts and entertainment sector close behind with 80% ceasing trade. The ONS survey added that 58% of businesses said turnover was below normal levels.
A new National Health Service contact tracing app has caught the attention of the parliament’s joint committee on human rights over privacy concerns.
The app is currently being tested in the Isle of Wight, before being rolled out across the UK.
Committee chairwoman Harriet Harman said: “The government has given assurances about protection of privacy so they should have no objection to those assurances being enshrined in law.
“The contact-tracing app involves unprecedented data gathering. There must be robust legal protection for individuals about what that data will be used for, who will have access to it and how it will be safeguarded from hacking.
“Parliament was able quickly to agree to give the government sweeping powers. It is perfectly possible for parliament to do the same for legislation to protect privacy.”
The committee wants legally enshrined data and human rights protections and an independent body to oversee how the app is used.
Notting Hill Carnival canceled
London’s world-famous Notting Hill Carnival has been canceled for the first time in history due to the pandemic. The Notting Hill Carnival takes place every August Bank Holiday weekend, this year on Sunday, Aug. 30 and Monday, Aug. 31.
A statement from the carnival’s board said: “The Board has taken the decision that this year’s Carnival will not take place on the streets of Notting Hill as it has done for over 50 years.”
“Notting Hill Carnival was founded to bring people together during trying times, and we intend to continue that legacy. We are working towards an alternate NHC 2020 that we hope will bring the Carnival spirit to people from the safety of their homes, and make them feel connected and engaged,” the statement said.
“This has not been an easy decision to make, but the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and the way in which it has unfolded means that this is the only safe option. Everyone’s health has to come first,” the statement said.
“We also have no wish to place extra strain on our colleagues at St John Ambulance and the NHS,” the statement said, adding: “We look forward to welcoming you back to the streets of Notting Hill in 2021.”
More than 3.78 million cases reported in 187 countries since the virus emerged in China last December, with the US and Europe being hardest-hit areas.
A significant proportion of COVID-19 patients — over 1.25 million — have recovered, but the disease has claimed more than 264,600 lives, according to data compiled by the US’ Johns Hopkins University.
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