UK Records Another 6,178 COVID-19 Cases Amid Mounting Pressure On Furlough Scheme Replacement

LONDON, Sept 24 (NNN-XINHUA) – Another 6,178 people tested positive for COVID-19 in Britain, as pressure is building up, on the replacement of the government’s furlough scheme.

The daily rise of cases, the highest since May 1, brought the total number of cases to 409,729. The virus-related death toll rose by 37 to 41,862, official data showed, yesterday.

On Tuesday, British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, announced new restriction measures, to tackle a sharp rise in the country’s cases.

Johnson confirmed that from today (Thursday), all pubs, bars and restaurants in England must operate a table service only — except for takeaways — and will be forced to close at 10:00 p.m. BST (2100 GMT).

Among other measures, staff are advised to work from home, despite advice earlier this month, to head back to the workplace, said Johnson.

The new restriction measures, which may last for six months, raised concerns that more jobs are at risk, as the government’s furlough scheme expires at the end of Oct.

The new restriction was announced at a time when countries such as Britain, China, Russia and the United States are racing against time to develop COVID-19 vaccines.

The British government’s Job Retention Scheme offered furloughed workers 80 percent of their salary, up to 2,500 pounds (about 3,190 U.S. dollars) per month. From Aug, the level of grant is reduced each month.

British Chancellor of the Exchequer, 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.”– NNN-XINHUA