British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the U.K. was switching its methods to ‘delay’ the … [+]
Topline: The British government has held back from ordering school closures in response to the coronavirus pandemic as London’s FTSE 100 saw its worst day in more than 30 years, closing down more than 10.87%.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson, flanked by Britain’s Chief Scientific officer and Chief Medical Officer, said the U.K. had switched from containing the coronavirus outbreak, to trying to delay its spread but held back from ordering school and university closures.
- Those with flu-like symptoms should stay at home for at least seven days, while over-70s with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises, while international school trips should not go ahead.
- The modest proposals were in contrast with moves by the Irish government to close schools, universities, and calls to stagger work hours to avoid face to face contact.
- London’s FTSE 100 was down 10.87% at market close, marking its worst day since Black Monday stock market crash in October 1987, off the back of President Donald Trump’s emergency European travel ban.
- Global markets have been in turmoil over the past few weeks, racking up their worst losses since the 2008 financial crash as investors took stock of the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the global economy.
- Johnson said “draconic” measures to limit contact people between could cause more harm than good, and the time for the business closures and travel restrictions imposed in Italy, and other European countries, could come later.
Crucial comment: Johnson said: “This is the worst public health crisis for a generation,”
Key background: After Italy enacted a nationwide lockdown of its 60 million people—the most extreme measures of any affected country—European nations are following suit with measures to slow the spread of the virus. On Thursday, neighboring Ireland announced all schools would be closed from Friday until the end of March, and imposed strict measures on social gatherings. One region in Croatia has also closed schools, while Madrid in Spain has closed museums and cultural buildings. More than 22,000 in the U.K. and EU have been diagnosed with Covid-19, while 943 people have died.
In numbers: There are now 596 cases in the U.K., while 10 people have died to date.