Coronavirus - 15 January


• UK’s R number is between 1.2 and 1.3
• Supreme court rules in favour of small businesses over business interruption insurance
• UK economy shrank by 2.6% in November
• Biden proposes $1.9tn stimulus package
• Portugal goes into full lockdown

World news

• The UK’s R number is between 1.2 and 1.3. Last week, it was between 1.0 and 1.4.

• The Supreme Court found largely in favour of small firms receiving payments from business interruption insurance policies. In spring last year, many insurers refused to pay, arguing that only the most specialist policies had cover for such unprecedented restrictions as seen in the pandemic. The ruling could cost the insurance sector hundreds of millions of pounds.

• Pfizer has said it will temporarily reduce deliveries of its Covid vaccine to Europe while it upgrades production capacity.

• The UK economy shrank 2.6% in November as England was placed in lockdown for a second time, meaning gross domestic product was 8.5% below its pre-pandemic peak, according to the ONS.

• International travellers to Wales must test negative before departure. The new rules come into force on Monday.

• The UK travel ban means anyone who has been in – or transited through – South America or Portugal in the previous 10 days is now barred from entering the UK. The ban includes Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay and Venezuela.

• US President-elect Joe Biden has unveiled a $1.9tn stimulus plan for the US economy, ahead of taking office next week. If passed by Congress, it would include $1tn for households, with direct payments of $1,400 to all Americans. The relief proposal includes $415bn to fight the virus and $440bn for small businesses.

• Portugal has gone into lockdown until at least until 30 January. People are being told to stay at home, but schools will remain open, as well as outlets providing essential goods and services. Vets and bakeries, florists and hotels are among the businesses being allowed to stay open.

• Hospitals in the city of Manaus, in Brazil, have reported severe oxygen shortages.

• Israel has now vaccinated 2 million people against coronavirus.

• The French government will impose a daily nationwide curfew at 6pm starting Saturday.

Company news


 EasyJet – is “cancelling holidays up to and including 24 March. Customers can choose to move their trip or receive a full refund or credit to be spent in the next 12 months.”