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UK warned to brace for 'many job losses' as deaths pass 50,000

Boris Johnson said the UK government will take an ‘interventionist’ approach to support the economy.

Image: PA

BORIS JOHNSON HAS braced the UK dealing with a coronavirus death toll of more than 50,000 for “many job losses” as further details of the economic impact of the pandemic were set to emerge.

Johnson insisted he was “very proud” of his government’s record despite the grim milestone on Covid-related deaths and his admission that large-scale redundancies were “inevitable”.

He said his government would take an “interventionist” approach to support the economy as it emerges from the lockdown.

The UK’s Office for National Statistics is also set to detail its latest assessment of the financial and societal damage from the disease.

Meanwhile, Tory ministers are likely to face further questions over their decision to end virtual voting in the Commons after Business Secretary Alok Sharma, who appeared visibly ill while in the chamber yesterday, was tested for Covid-19.

After Commons authorities undertook a deep-clean, a spokeswoman for the MP said he would self-isolate after he “began feeling unwell” while delivering the second reading of the Corporate Governance and Insolvency Bill.

Opposition MPs renewed calls for the virtual voting to be reinstated, with Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy saying “reckless doesn’t even begin to describe” the scrapping of the system a day earlier.

Later today, Johnson will urge world leaders to “unite humanity in the fight against disease” as he hosts an online global vaccine summit aiming to raise £6 billion to immunise millions of children in the world’s poorest nations.

Though not directly involving coronavirus, for which the world is scrambling to find a vaccine, officials said the summit could help lower the likelihood of resurgences arriving in the UK from abroad by alleviating pressure on developing the UK’s healthcare systems so they can tackle Covid-19.

A second spike would cause further devastation for the economy, and Johnson acknowledged the scale that the UK is already facing during the latest Downing Street press conference.

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“I am afraid tragically there will be many, many job losses. That is just inevitable”, he said.

Large sectors of the economy are being kept on life support by taxpayer funding, with businesses borrowing more than £30 billion from three Government-backed coronavirus loan schemes and 8.7 million jobs furloughed.

Johnson was also facing questions over the test and trace programme to slow the disease’s spread, with England’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty saying it remained “in the early stages of its development”.

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