A sombre birthday for Queen Elizabeth as Covid-19 death toll crosses 15,000
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the commitment to pick up 80 per cent of the salary of employees furloughed by companies for three months would be extended by another month, since the economic conditions are unlikely to recover soon enough.Updated: Apr 18, 2020 19:07 IST
There will be no gun salutes and other ceremonial events for Queen Elizabeth’s 94th birthday on Tuesday, Buckingham Palace announced on Saturday, as the death toll from coronavirus pandemic in the UK climbed to 15,464 (a day-rise of 888).
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the commitment to pick up 80 per cent of the salary of employees furloughed by companies for three months would be extended by another month, since the economic conditions are unlikely to recover soon enough.
A Buckingham Palace official said the monarch had decided that the gun salutes usually held in Hyde Park and the Tower of London would not be appropriate at this time. As of Saturday, the UK-wide number of cases tested positive for the virus was 114,217 (day-rise of 5,526).
The queen, who moved to the Windsor Castle after the Boris Johnson government announced lockdown and other measures in March, earlier delivered a rare message to the Commonwealth, striking an optimistic note: “We will meet again”.
Krishan Arora, a doctor practicising for 27 years in Croydon, London, passed away after being infected by the virus, health officials announced. He is one of over 50 Indian and other non-white medical professionals who passed away in recent days.
Unions warned on Saturday that the continuing shortage of personal protection equipment could lead to medical staff refusing to work in hospitals dealing with thousands of patients. Some hospitals reportedly asked the staff to use aprons instead of standard gowns.
Sara Gorton of Unison union said: “If gowns run out, staff in high-risk areas may well decide that it’s no longer safe for them to work. No part of the NHS should use this move as an excuse to ration supplies of gowns when they still have stocks. That would cause a damaging breakdown of trust at a time when staff are working under intense pressure.”
Health secretary Matt Hancock admitted during a hearing of the House of Commons health and social care select committee on Friday that the NHS was “tight on gowns”, describing it as a “pressure point”.