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tv   BBC News at Ten  BBC News  March 17, 2020 10:00pm-10:31pm GMT

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tonight at ten — unprecedented measures as the government announces a multi—billion—pound rescue package to try to save businesses and jobs from the coronavirus crisis. deserted restaurants, empty bars. the chancellor promises £330 billion of support, including government—backed loans, and a business rate holiday for those hardest hit. empty streets, too, as millions of people follow downing street's instructions to work from home and avoid social contact. there'll be mortgage holidays too for those who need it. the coronavirus pandemic is a public health emergency, but it is also an economic emergency. we have never in peace time faced an economic fight like this one. it's scary, you know? people in there... they don't know what to do.
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they've got mortgages. they've got kids to think about. rent. first, the medical measures and now the money. vast and expensive promises from the government, but still, will they be enough? the nhs in england will suspend non—urgent operations for three months from next month to make 30,000 more beds available for coronavirus patients. the foreign office has advised britons against all nonessential travel abroad for at least a month. but schools remain open for now. the prime minister says he is monitoring the situtaiton closely. and coming up on sportsday on bbc news, euro 2020 is postponed untiljune next year as coronavirus continues to impact sport across europe.
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good evening. the chancellor has announced a multi—billion—pound support package to help businesses through the coronavirus crisis. rishi sunak said the country is in an economic emergency and now is "the time to be bold". he vowed that the government would do whatever it takes to support the economy, with many businesses reeling from the effects of this week's coronavirus restrictions. he announced a wide—ranging package of loans and guarantees worth £330 billion. there'll be a 12—month business rates holiday. and those with mortgages will be offered a three—month break in mortgage payments. but there was no mention yet of help for millions of people who rent. it comes as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the uk rose to nearly 2,000, and the number of deaths reached 71. 0ur political editor laura kuenssberg is in westminster. sophie, very rarely around here is there a day when it feels like the
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landscape has been totally transformed. but it is clear now, not just because of transformed. but it is clear now, notjust because of the measures the government is prepared to take to try to protect the nation's health but the scale of the measures they believe are needed now to prop up the economy, to protect the uk's livelihood for as long as this crisis goes on. the chancellor has announced a huge new british bailout, one that would have been unimaginablejust bailout, one that would have been unimaginable just a few days ago. and with some businesses fearing the worst, some of them on the edge, planes grounded, even places of worship curtailed, at least for a time, ten feels like it will temporarily become a different land. everything seems different now. you can be on your own in the busiest parts of our biggest city. but quiet doesn't mask the worry. millions are concerned about their health and loved ones too. instead of shutdown, behind closed doors, the centre of government is in overdrive.
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they're grappling with the biggest job in generations. to save lives first, but to protect how we make a living too. we must act like any wartime government and do whatever it takes to support our economy. you can't blame the new chancellor for looking serious. just 33 days into hisjob, here he is announcing a bailout of historic proportions. this national effort will be underpinned by government interventions in the economy on a scale unimaginable only a few weeks ago. this is not a time for ideology and orthodoxy. today i am making available an initial £330 billion of guarantees, equivalent to 15% of ourgdp. that means any business who needs access to cash to pay their rent, their salaries, suppliers or purchase stock will be able
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to access a government backed loan or credit on attractive terms. hundreds of billions of government backed loans. 20 billion in grants and tax cuts at the start. help with some bills too. for those in difficulty due to coronavirus, mortgage lenders will now offer a three month mortgage holiday so that people will not have to pay a penny towards their mortgage costs while they get back on their feet. can you guarantee to firms who need to pay wages now and families who worry about paying the rent now that they will not lose out while you work through the details of what comes next? be in no doubt, the state is asking people to do something, to make very considerable changes to their lives, and it is only right therefore that the state should stand behind people as they make those changes. business big and small might not have the luxury of time. the office of this brighton travel company is already practically empty. i don't think borisjohnson
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realises that people are losing theirjobs right now. we've had to put staff on unpaid sabbatical with no certainty of what's going to happen over the next few months. are you doing enough to stop the virus? ministers have been scrambling to find a response big and fast enough. it might sound astonishing, but even more than £300 billion might be just the start. the support plan's huge, but there could still be holes. what support will individual families get? will they get sick pay at a level that they'll be able to ensure they have a decent quality of life? will they get proper support if they're laid off? will they be able to afford their rents? will the increases in fuel costs and other things be covered? but the scale of this, the reality of how many lives may be lost, is hitting home. every year in seasonal flu, the number of deaths is thought to be about 8,000 excess deaths. so if we can get this down to numbers of 20,000 and below,
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that's a good outcome in terms of where we would hope to get to with this outbreak. but, i mean, it's still horrible. by the government's own admission, this is now an economic emergency, so they've just promised to take vast steps to try to stop that turning into individual hardship for millions in the coming months. taking on long—term costs for the country to try to stop a heavy and painful cost being paid by families in the coming months. the need for help for the country's health and the country's wealth is acute. reassurance is not a currency in itself. laura kuenssberg, bbc news, westminster. so billions of pounds worth of loans will be available from next week to help businesses pay for supplies, rent and salaries. the chancellor said that if these measures were not enough, he would go further. 0ur economics editor faisal islam looks at the new measures in detail and asks if they will be enough
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to prevent businesses going under. in manchester, preparations for what should have been a busy st patrick's day went on this morning. local businesses contemplating ruin from the government's advice to help stop the spread of the virus by not going out. telling people not to go to bars and restaurants and not giving us any support at this point of the day is a real noose around our necks. just tell us! the word "recession" doesn't quite capture the effect on the pub industry and others of clearing the streets of major cities of actual people. but by late evening, the chancellor had fundamentally upped the size of the life jacket for the entire economy. amazing. that's a real pressure for us because we're like over £50,000, in rates, so that is really good for us. coronavirus is now a reality
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for the whole country, but the theory behind today's interventions is that in some months time, the epidemic will pass. and the economy will grow again. this is a bridge, not a bailout, and that is why the support promising to do whatever it takes last for months not years. there is £330 billion in government backed loans of up to a year for all sizes of business to fund cash flow for wages and suppliers. there is £20 billion in cash grants and business tax cuts, and everybody that needs it can have a three month mortgage holiday. these huge amounts reflect the fact that in the next few months, a large chunk will be taken off the uk economy. car production suspended here today at nissan in sunderland, and at most european carfactories. the retailer laura ashley went into administration today, blaming the virus, though it has had its own challenges, illustrating the problem for the government about whether all firms should get cheap loa ns. back in manchester, a chef at an art centre that is closed is
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wondering what happens to renters, too. it's scary, you know? people in there, they don't know what to do, they've got mortgages, they've got kids to think about. rent. so there will be many other forms of support that will be required to keep the significant promise made in downing street today, unthinkable a month ago, unavoidable now. faisal is with me. the measures that have been announced today are on a scale we have never seen before. these are huge sums and you can forget about the numbers in the budget book, less than a week ago. that is because when you shutdown cities, when aviation is grounded, the impact on the economy is not fractions of a percent, it is fractions of the entire economy and that is why the response has to also be worth a sixth or seventh of the entire economy, as this would be in terms of low guarantees and cash
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hand—outs. it is hundreds of billions. there is a risk that these loa ns billions. there is a risk that these loans might not be paid back, higher than in other types of scheme like this that we have had before. it is now in line with what the french announced yesterday and the spanish announced, and a bit of what the americans announced in terms of the size of the economy, a significant mood indeed. ithink size of the economy, a significant mood indeed. i think it is more of a bridge than a bailout. it is designed to get into the minds of business owners and say to them, "yes, your cash may be running down because your customers are not there but just because your customers are not there butjust think because your customers are not there but just think that you can get to the other side of the valley and carry on paying your workers, and if you get there, we can provide a bridge for you". if you are one of the businesses that is already on its knees, how will this work? what will they do? it depends on the size of the company, small and medium—sized companies operate through the banking system essentially, through banks and they will be supported by the bank of england and the treasury. for bigger
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businesses, essentially, your cash would run down, and then you get an overdraft via selling an iou to the bank of england, and then if that wasn't paid back, the treasury would repay it, that is the mechanism, a bit complicated but that is how you do these kind of things. it does not cover renters yet. the mortgage guarantee is a mortgage guarantee obviously and does not cover things like support for the self—employed but i am told this is a down payment. more will have to come if we wa nt payment. more will have to come if we want to meet the promise of whatever it takes. thank you for joining us. meanwhile, all non—urgent operations will be cancelled in april for three months to free up 30,000 beds for the nhs in england. scotland has ta ken a similar decision. 0ur health editor hugh pym looks at how prepared the nhs is for a growing number of severe cases. bolton medical centre, gerry speaking. preparing for the new realities. this gp‘s surgery in bolton is urging all patients to stay away if they possibly can. consultations will now be carried
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out on the phone and on video link. we are being very proactive. that tells you we will have to self—isolate for 14 days. we are being very proactive. so we are keeping patients informed this morning. we're triaging everybody. if they're queueing up outside, why have you accessed the surgery? please try and phone up, don't come to the surgery. some medical students are volunteering to move to the front line. final—year medical students will hopefully be working in the ward areas. this is to free up staff that can go onto the front line in places like intensive care. some medical staff are frustrated they're not getting tested for the virus. sandra, who's a nurse, had a sore throat and today was asked to stay off work. they could do a swab that would take five minutes, two days for the results and confirm whether i actually have coronavirus or whether i don't. and i could just go back to work if i didn't. but as it is, what's happening?
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i'm going to have to stay at home for whatever it is, seven or 14 days. nhs england is ramping up preparations for virus cases, cancelling all nonurgent operations from next month, freeing up 30,000 beds. some staff have said there aren't enough ventilators for intensive care and inadequate supplies of protective equipment. the head of nhs england told mps those concerns were being addressed. he was asked whether the government's measures would be enough to prevent massive pressure on the nhs. those measures will certainly make a big difference and in our view were absolutely necessary. but frankly we're going to have to keep this under review, and if it turns out that further measures are required in order to reduce the number of people who get this virus, then that will be something that policymakers and government will have to consider. thousands of patients will now have to wait many more months for operations and appointments. this plan that's been published for the nhs today
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is a pretty drastic plan. but then we are in exceptional times. this is the biggest challenge that the health service has faced since its creation and the biggest challenge that we've faced worldwide. postponements are already happening. andy told us about his eight—year—old daughter missing out on reconstructive surgery in bristol after cancer. this is devastating. we got some good news that the surgeon has removed all the cancer, but now we were hoping the treatment would come to an end, and it has been left open—ended. he has now been given a new date for his daughter's operation. many more won't be so lucky as the nhs has to focus on the coronavirus threat. hugh pym, bbc news. 0ur medical correspondent fergus walsh is here. this freeing up of 30,000 beds give you an idea of what the nhs is expecting. absolutely. it means three in ten of all hospital beds
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are being set aside ready for coronavirus patients. and although most of us will get a mild illness, thousands may need intensive care. the hope is that the measures that are being taken will keep the predicted death toll to under 20,000. that's a huge number, but it roughly equates to a very bad season of winter flu. but it would only be achievable if those restrictions proposed by the government go on for months. and there has been some confusion about what we are all expected to do. can you clarify the instructions? yes. if one person in a household has symptoms, then the whole household stays at home for 14 days. but the biggest advice on top of that is that all of us should stop nonessential contact with others. no social mixing. and that applies in the home too. no getting friends and extended family, grandparents, over to celebrate
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mother's day, that goes against the advice. and it applies particularly to the over 70s, pregnant women and those with underlying health conditions. and by the weekend, there will be 1.4 million people at highest risk, people who have had chemotherapy, who have very hard to treat asthma, cystic fibrosis, who will be asked to self—isolate for 12 weeks. and what is going to happen if we don't comply? if people simply ignore what is advice and keep going to the pub, and the numbers of cases don't start to fall in a couple of weeks, then what is currently advisory could in theory become compulsory, as we've seen in other countries. nothing is off the table. fergus walsh, thank you. the foreign office has made the unpredecented decision to advise against all nonessential travel to anywhere in the world. it said countries could shut their borders with no notice in response to the pandemic.
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the european union has banned non—eu citizens from entering for 30 days, uk citizens are unaffected. here's our transport correspondent, tom burridge. confusion and a very long wait at marrakesh airport. we've just been in a five hour long queue. as people like amir try to get home. i've got to the front of the queue and they have said there are no flights. they will not tell us any more details. they do not know any more details. they do not know when they are going to get us to the uk. they do not know when the flights are going to be. they've told us to just wait in the airport. all flights scheduled to leave morocco have been suspended. so it is a scramble to get on rescue flights back to britain. my name is beth, i am a uk citizen currently stuck here in morocco. beth is unclear when she will get back to herjob in the nhs. we have been told we will get a rescheduled flight for april, that is no good, we do not know how this pandemic is going to pan out and we need to get home
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and they have a duty of care to get us home. we will do everything in our power. the government says repatriating most people is down to airlines. fco teams around the world are working urgently to ensure that governments have sensible plans to enable the return of british and other travellers and crucially, to keep borders open for sufficient periods to enable returns to take place on commercial flights whatever that is possible. in cusco, and other parts of peru, british tourists like lauren are stuck. i can't get out of peru, they've cancelled all flights to get out of peru. the country is in lockdown. it is very scary, mainly for the fact that it isn'tjust a 14 day lockdown, it is not pleasant but we can get over it but then it's not knowing what is going to happen and the fact we cannot leave the hostel. stephen is in the capital, lima.
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we are worried about potential social unrest, we do not have any food, we are going to go to a supermarket shortly. we are young and healthy but of course we are also worried about what would happen if we get sick. tom burridge, bbc news. this evening, it was announced that no newjury trial in england and wales should start unless it is expected to last for three days or less, because of the dangers posed by coronavirus. all cases estimated to last longer and due to start before the end of april will be adjourned. trials currently under way will proceed in the hope that they can be completed. and the euro 2020 football tournament, which was due to be played across 12 european countries, has been delayed by a year. the postponement could provide an opportunity for domestic european leagues that have been forced to suspend this season's games to complete their competitions in june and july. despite all the turmoil, schools remain open, but for how much longer? the prime minister said he was keeping it under continuous review. the largest education union is urging the government to close all schools "at least for some time". here's our education editor,
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branwen jeffreys. trying to make it fun, but schools are struggling to keep safe and teachers are anxious too. it does seem that everyone has been asked to socially distance except for children at school, and also the teachers and the staff. at this school, they are three teachers down already. by tomorrow, classes may merge and staying open looks increasingly doubtful. the government says that for now, keeping schools open is the right approach. but with everyone else being told to avoid crowded places, it has left many teachers and parents confused and some families are simply keeping their children off school. it is down by about 30% and still falling, and i can understand why parents
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are concerned. while they keep lessons going, head teachers want advice that keeps up with reality. some schools are already partially closing. so what would a school closure mean for parents here? at the moment i am able to work from home. my partner isn't yet at that stage where he can with hisjob, so it will be tricky. i have already started stocking up on activities so that they have got things to do. but i am lucky, there are lots of people in the school who are friends of mine who are working and it will be harderfor them. closing schools would be a massive step, one that the government says it is not yet ready to take. branwen jeffreys, bbc news. the dramatic escalation in restrictions on our lives were partly prompted by research from a team at imperial college london who said this was the worst respiratory virus since the spanish flu pandemic in 1918.
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they warned that britain was on course for a "catastrophic epidemic" and the number of deaths in the uk could reach a quarter of a million — unless there was a new approach to the pandemic. here's our science editor, david shukman. from the start of the outbreak in wuhan, there has been a huge research effort behind the scenes, scientists using every detail to develop a computer simulation of the disease. it is called a model and it is what the british government's initial response was based on. but then came northern italy, where more people need intensive care than anyone expected. so the forecasts have had to be adjusted. what the scientists realised was that as many as 250,000 people could die of the virus in the uk unless policies here changed. they now hope that will fall to 20,000 with the new measures announced yesterday. there's new data emerging from italy and now from our intensive care units here in london to suggest that the level of treatment that is required for
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a small fraction of these cases is more intense than we thought. we keep hearing about the modelling of the outbreak, but what does that actually mean? it is basically maths, calculations about different factors that influence the disease. this model was for wuhan, to work out the rate of infection. it is how scientists quickly found out that on average, every person who gets the virus can pass it on to at least two others. so over a month, one case can lead to more than 200. china has responded by closing off entire cities. other countries have done the same. but until now, the uk has kept the most drastic measures in reserve. so critics have questioned the modelling of the outbreak in britain. but the scientists doing the work say it is better than nothing. models are not crystal balls. they are better than just guessing, which is what you would otherwise have to do. but they are reliant on the data we feed into them and there is lots
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that we do not know about this virus and also lots we don't know about what the effectiveness of these interventions really will be. so how effective are these computer models of the outbreak? they have to rely on a lot of assumptions about things that aren't known. such as if people have the virus but do not show symptoms, how easily can they pass it on? and then a really critical question — if someone has been infected with the virus and then gets better with a full recovery, is it then possible for them to get it again? chinese television, reporting on research into a possible vaccine. that won't come soon, but it is part of a frantic search around the world to understand the virus and to minimise its impact. david shukman, bbc news. tough new restrictions have come into force in france. no one can now leave home without a government form that they print out to justify their reason for being outside.
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for the next two weeks, people are only allowed out to go to work, to buy essential food or medical supplies, for a family emergency, or to exercise or walk a dog, but they must be on their own, facing a fine if these conditions aren't met. 0ur paris correspondent lucy williamson reports. before the quarantine, the fever. as france inched towards lockdown, supermarkets became barometers of the nation's fear. the government had complained that people were ignoring the threat of coronavirus. but attitudes here are changing. translation: i'm scared. i've got three kids, i'm here to buy the basics. i'm afraid for myself and for my children. last night, president macron announced a general confinement of france's population, from midday today. translation: for at least the next 15 days, our movements will be seriously reduced.
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it means that outside gatherings or meeting friends and family won't be permitted. going for a walk, meeting friends in the park or in the street, won't be possible. all infractions to these rules will be punished. it's just gone midday here, the new rules have come into force and there are still a few people out on the champs—elysees. 48 hours ago, the government was telling people to come out to vote. now it's saying, stay in your homes unless it's essential, or face a fine. within minutes of the deadline, extra police were out questioning people still on the streets. 100,000 officers have been deployed to enforce the new rules. today's deadline sparked a last—minute rush to leave the capital. polls suggest a sudden jump in anxiety here. normality, no longer a barrier to this crisis, is disappearing. and france instead is learning to manage its fear. lucy williamson, bbc news, paris.
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belgium has tonight said that everyone must stay at home from midday tomorrow for almost three weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. belgians will only be allowed out for medical attention, to exercise or to work in some businesses deemed essential, such as supermarkets and chemists. ten people have died in belgium. meanwhile italy remains the worst—hit country with another big surge in cases today. there are now more than 30,000 cases there. 2,500 people have died. spain, which has locked down its 47 million inhabitants, saw cases increase to over 11 thousand cases. more than 500 people have died. in germany chancellor merkel has banned religious services and venues including clubs, bars, leisure facilities, zoos and playgrounds will also be closed. germany now has over 9,000 cases and 24 deaths from the virus. jenny hill is in berlin,
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but first let's speak to mark lowen in rome. terrible death toll there today, but also 2000 people in intensive care. the numbers really are shocking. today's italy prime minister said this country had overcome fascism in world wars, but never more than now was there such a need for italians to be united. he said that 10,000 medical students would have their final year exam scrap so that they could move more quickly into the health care system, and support doctors and nurses. cases here are still soaring, but the rate of increase is the smallest now since the outbreak began, so possibly the containment measures are beginning to work. and if so, that could put pressure on other companies to copy italy's approach more closely. talking of those measures, from today this is the updated form we have to fill in for all movement
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around the country to certify that we are not in quarantine because of the virus or that we have tested negative. that in addition of course to the blank closure of almost all venues across the to the blank closure of almost all venues across the country. a week ago italy was taking the most extreme approach in europe, but now just look at how one by one so many other countries are following suit. and damian grammaticas in madrid, also an extreme approach there, spaniards locked down. yes, exactly right, sophie. consider this. spaniards locked down. yes, exactly right, sophie. considerthis. spain about a week ago was pretty much where the uk is today, sojust a couple of thousand cases, and in seven days, that has soared seven fold. so what we saw it on the street today, similar. police out there ordering people to go back home, stopping their cars, checking them. this is madrid's biggest train station behind me. it is virtually deserted. spain here is equally a sign that if you don't take measures
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