- Here are the headlines on Thursday, January 21
PM warns more lives will be lost
More people will lose their lives in the coronavirus outbreak, Boris Johnson has warned, after the UK saw its deadliest day of the pandemic.
A record 1,820 further deaths within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 were reported yesterday.
The Prime Minister described the figures as ‘appalling’ and warned ‘there will be more to come’, saying we are seeing the result of the new variant that spread rapidly just before Christmas.
Hundreds evacuated from homes overnight
Hundreds of people were told to leave their homes overnight as Storm Christoph caused widespread flooding across the UK.
Some 2,000 properties in the East Didsbury, West Didsbury and Northenden areas of Greater Manchester were due to be evacuated last night because of rising water levels, the city council said.
People were also asked to leave their homes in parts of Ruthin and Bangor on Dee in North Wales, and Maghull in Merseyside.
Biden signs executive orders reversing Trump policies
Joe Biden has signed a series of executive orders from the Oval Office hours after his inauguration as the 46th president of the United States.
Reversing Trump’s work, the first was related to the coronavirus pandemic. He also signed an order re-entering the US into the Paris climate accord.
While his predecessor broke long-standing practice by skipping the inauguration, he did leave behind a letter for the new president. Biden said it was ‘very generous’ but would not reveal its contents until he had a chance to speak with his predecessor.
Isolation after contact with Covid-19 case could be cut to seven days
Self-isolation time after contact with a confirmed coronavirus case could potentially be reduced to seven days without raising the risk of onward transmission, a new study suggests.
The research, which accounts for infected people’s potential viral load and the sensitivity of Covid-19 tests, estimates people who test negative after seven days of quarantine are unlikely to be infectious.
Researchers say these people could potentially be released without raising the risk of onward virus transmission above what would be expected by self-isolating for 14 days without testing.
Radar tech to spot stranded motorists lacking on motorways
Less than five per cent of England’s 500-mile smart motorway network has radar technology to detect drivers who break down in live lanes, according to new analysis.
Highways England figures show the system has only been installed on three sections of motorway, totalling 37 miles.
The government-owned company has pledged to roll out the Stopped Vehicle Detection upgrade on all motorway stretches where the hard shoulder has been converted to a permanent running lane.
UK lenders to be tested against £800bn plunge in economy
The Bank of England has said this year’s health check on the banking sector will test if Britain’s biggest lenders can keep credit flowing even if the pandemic wipes £800bn off the economy.
It will test the resilience of eight banks and building societies against a doomsday scenario for the pandemic hit, in which the economy plunges by 37 per cent between 2020 and 2022, the unemployment rate soars to 12 per cent and house prices tumble by a third.
The Bank will also use the stress tests to help assess the ability of banks to return to normal levels of shareholder dividends after payouts were curbed at the start of the crisis.
Sunak ‘must extend’ VAT cut and rates holiday
The Chancellor must extend the business rates holiday and cuts to VAT to ensure the recovery of hospitality firms in 2021, industry chiefs have warned.
Sector trade group UKHospitality has written to Rishi Sunak demanding further targeted financial support.
Hospitality firms have benefited from a break in business rates and a reduction in VAT on food and soft drinks from 20 per cent to five per cent, although both measures are due to expire at the end of March.
Markets bounce as Biden inauguration drives afternoon rally
The London markets closed higher after the inauguration of Joe Biden sparked the Dow Jones and helped European sentiment rally in the afternoon.
Traders are hopeful that President Biden will not stop after securing last week’s stimulus package and expect more action to invigorate the economy.
The FTSE 100 closed 27.44 points, or 0.41 per cent higher at 6,740.39 at the close of play yesterday. The German Dax was 0.71 per cent higher and the French Cac moved 0.53 per cent higher.
Poor weather has driven 4×4 sales in January
Sales of 4×4 vehicles have been boosted by stormy weather, accounting for almost a third of online searches.
Data from online car marketplace Buyacar.co.uk also found that the Mercedes-Benz GLA was the best-selling car in January so far, having not even made the top 20 this time last year.
In fact, Mercedes-Benz dominated the searches, with 15 per cent of all online enquiries relating to the German brand.
Rain and snow
The BBC says today will see areas of rain, sleet and snow initially persisting in Scotland, easing into the afternoon. Elsewhere will be brighter with a few scattered showers, particularly in western areas.
Areas of residual rain, sleet and snow will clear from the UK tonight. Scotland will see scattered showers through the night, wintry at higher ground. Elsewhere will be drier with clear spells.
Tomorrow will be dry with clear skies for many, but with a scattering of wintry showers in northern Scotland, easing through the day. Northern Ireland will see showers in northern coastal areas.