Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 27 October 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Seven charts that show the impact of coronavirus on the UK

Data reveals pandemic has brought profound socioeconomic and cultural change to Britain

Britain’s Finance Minister, Rishi Sunak, on Thursday unveiled new measures to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 coronavirus on the UK.

They included wage subsidies, extended loans for businesses and more VAT assistance.

But Mr Sunak stopped short of extending the furlough scheme, saying the economy must prepare for a “more permanent adjustment”.

Britain has already delivered more than £190 million ($242.2m) in economic support, Mr Sunak said.

That level of spending led UK public sector debt to exceed GDP for the first time since 1960.

Coronavirus has wrought significant damage on the UK economy. Between February and April GDP plunged 25 per cent and almost all sectors were badly hit as lockdown ground life to a halt.

This chart shows which sectors of the economy were worst affected, with accommodation and food services plunging 90 per cent between Feb and April.

Unsurprisingly, one sector that has gone against the trend is pharmaceuticals, which has grown 10 per cent since February as the world races to create a Covid-19 vaccine and find effective treatments in the meantime.

Covid-19’s deadliness has been disproportionately felt in the UK which, at the end of July, suffered the most excess deaths in Europe, the Office for National Statistics said.

Excess mortality is a measure of how many more people died during a certain period than would be expected under normal circumstances.

Covid-related mortality in England and Wales peaked at more than the twice the normal number of deaths in April.

A leaked government report also revealed fears that a second wave in the UK could mean more than 85,000 Covid-19 deaths over winter.

If this happened, it would seem likely that once again the UK government had failed to put a protective ring around care homes.

The statistics office reported that between March 2 and May 1, there were 12,526 suspected Covid deaths among people living in care homes in England and Wales.

The Lancet medical journal reported that in an average year during March and April, the two countries see about 20,000 fewer deaths than were recorded this year.

Covid-19 in care homes is particularly lethal given the age and relative poor health of their residents.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson provoked fury in March after he accused care homes of failing to follow proper procedures.

Nadra Ahmed, chair of the National Care Association, called Mr Johnson's remarks a “huge slap in the face for a sector that looks after a million vulnerable people”.

This chart shows that there were more Covid-related deaths in care homes and private homes than in hospitals, which were far better protected.

No aspect of the government's handling of the coronavirus crisis has been criticised more harshly than its testing and tracing strategy.

Conducting as many tests as possible and tracing the contacts of people found to have the virus was a key recommendation of the World Health Organisation since the first weeks of the outbreak.

But Britain has struggled to meet demand for testing and to make the most of its laboratory capacity, as this chart shows.

Whilst the government’s overall response to coronavirus has been widely condemned, Mr Sunak has evaded most of the harshest criticism.

Thefiscal measures he introduced were well received by business and much of the public, who were also wooed by his smooth style and penchant for nifty slogans.

The most headline-grabbing initiative was the coronavirus jobs retention scheme, more commonly known as the furlough scheme, estimated to cost about £14 billion a month.

Incredibly, almost a third of jobs have been furloughed at some point, with young people the most affected.

Of those lucky enough to keep their jobs, there has been one major change in coronavirus Britain: the rise of working from home.

The trend has led many to predict the end of the office, a phenomenon explored in depth in this special report from The National.

How we work at home as also been the topic of much debate. This chart reveals that of the parents working from home, the mornings tend to be the most productive while in the afternoons, more time is devoted to developmental child care.

A second wave of the virus is rolling across Europe and has reached the UK, sparking fears of a return to lockdown.

Britain on Thursday reported its highest ever number of new daily infections.

The new cases brought the country's total to 416,363, according to data from Worldometer.

Updated: September 27, 2020 12:21 PM

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