UK reports highest single-day Covid-19 cases since May

The UK has reported 6,178 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, the highest single-day spike since May 1, taking the total tally to 409,729, official data revealed.

Besides the new cases, 37 new fatalities were also reported on Wednesday due to which the overall death toll increased 41,862, reports Xinhua news agency citing the data as saying.

The spikes came a day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced new restriction measures to tackle a the recent surge in the country’s coronavirus cases.

Johnson confirmed that from Thursday, all pubs, bars and restaurants in England must operate a table service only — except for takeaways — and will be forced to close at 10.

Among other measures, people have been advised to work from home if they can despite advice earlier this month to head back to their workplaces.

The new restrictions, which may last for the next six months, raised concerns that more jobs were at risk as the government’s furlough scheme will expire by the end of October.

The UK government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme offered furloughed workers 80 per cent of their salary, up to 2,500 pounds per month.

From August 1, the level of grant was reduced each month.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is understood to be looking at options including a salary top-up scheme, which is similar to those already operating in France and Germany, according to the BBC.

Possible ideas are thought to include allowing firms to reduce employees’ hours while keeping them in a job, with the government paying part of the lost wages.

During Prime Minister’s Questions at Parliament, Johnson said Sunak was working on “creative and imaginative” solutions to avoid what an MP described as a “tsunami of job losses”.