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Gloucestershire Business News

Coronavirus LIVE Updates: The latest news from across Gloucestershire on Friday, August 20

The ongoing coronavirus situation is changing by the hour with announcements being made about businesses and services that are being forced to adapt and change.

Punchline is committed to trying to keep you up to date with all the news that matters to you and your business.

Our team will update this story throughout the day, to ensure the latest important developments can be found in one - clickbait free - place.

If you or your business has any news, views or advice to share with the Gloucestershire business community, get in touch with Punchline team at news@moosemarketingandpr.co.uk.

Friday, August 20

Update #8912- 11.23 Cinema box office taking 50 per cent of 2019 levels

Since cinemas were allowed to reopen a few months ago, footfall has been down. This is partly due to ticket prices going up by 40 per cent. It has resulted in box office takings been half of what they were pre-pandemic.

Comscore, the leading box office tracker, said £65.7 million was spent in the week after 'Freedom Day' in July. Films such as Black Widow and Fast and Furious 9 were playing that week.

In contrast, the corresponding week of 2019 saw a take in of £129 million.

The top film for UK&I box office this year so far has been Peter Rabbit 2, which made £19.7 million. However, the original Peter Rabbit film in 2018 made £32 million.

Fast and Furious 9 made £16.3 million, but the previous film in its franchise made £30.4 million at box office in 2017.

Update #8911 - 10.30 Retail sales and the rain fall in July

July was a bit of a washout for retail. Sales were down by 2.5% on June, when the Euros football helped boost activity.

Clothing sales fell, less fuel was sold and grocery sales also fell, according to statistics from the ONS.

Online sales in July rose to 27.9% overall, up from 27.1% in June. Before Covid lockdowns the figure was 19.8%. During lockdowns it reached more than 30%.

Analysts blame the high number of people self-isolating because of Covid tests or alerts, the bad weather, and a shortage of chips affecting electrical goods as well as other supply chain issues.

Update #8910 - 10.20 Government borrowing falls but still over £10 billion

First, the good news: Government borrowing fell in July by £10.1 billion compared with July last year.

But, it was still £10.4 billion. That's the second highest July level ever.

Government borrowing, to cover things like the furlough scheme, was £298 billion for the year to March 2021.

Overall, the Office for National Statistics says Government debt is now up to £2.2 trillion. That's equivalent to 98.8% of GDP, a rate not seen since the early 1960s.

Update #8909 - 10.15 Traffic on roads busier than ever

Traffic on the roads is back to pre-Covid levels or even higher according to data from the Department of Transport.

This summer, car traffic on weekends has consistently been more than 100% of February 2020 levels, reaching as high as 111% on 15th August.

Meanwhile, bus and train use may have increased but is still far from the levels seen before the Covid crisis.

Bus use outside London this summer is running at about 60% previous levels during the week and under 80% on weekends. National rail use is less than 60%.

Update #8908 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 131,373 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 113 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 36,572 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 6,392,160 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 47,460,526 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 18 and 41,157,069 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 39,328, as of Thursday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test rose to 934 - an increase of one on the previous day's figure.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 10,805 cases (increase of 67)

Cheltenham - 7,275 cases (increase of 90)

Stroud - 6,679 cases (increase of 103)

Tewkesbury - 5,388 cases (increase of 52)

Forest of Dean - 4,824 cases (increase of 53)

Cotswold - 4,357 cases (increase of 63)

Thursday, August 19

Update #8907 - 11.35 New dedicated team of Covid Response Officers

The national Test and Trace team contact the majority of people testing positive in Gloucestershire soon after their test result is available. If they aren't able to reach them the county council steps in.

Under the new arrangement, a newly formed team will continue the good work already in place, which also includes: a home visit to people who can't be contacted by phone, welfare checks to support people to self-isolate, and signposting to local practical and mental health support.

They will also work more closely with district councils to offer tailored support. This might include arranging food or medicine deliveries or simply finding someone to walk the dog.

Sarah Scott, executive director of Adult Social Care and Public Health said: "Test, trace and isolate  will continue to play a key role in managing the virus and reducing the risk of it mutating and new variants developing. It remains a legal requirement for anyone testing positive for Covid to self-isolate. Contacts of someone testing positive will only be asked to isolate if they have not yet received both doses of the vaccine.

"Thankfully, the number of people getting seriously ill from Covid is less than ever before, but the virus can still make some people very unwell. We also know that each time the virus is passed on from person to person, the more chance it has of mutating into new variants, which like Delta, could be more transmissible."

Positive cases who cannot work from home and would experience financial hardship from self-isolating may be eligible for the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment or financial support from your local council.

Update #8906 - 10.00 Boss of AstraZeneca top paid executive

The boss of drug company AstraZeneca - the firm behind one of the leading Covid jabs - was the highest paid executive in the FTSE 100 last year.

Pascal Soriot earned £15.45 million for his part in delivering the coronavirus vaccine given to tens of millions of people.

Analysis by the High Pay Centre thinktank showed the average FTSE 100 CEO was paid £2.69m in 2020, that's 86 times the salary of the average UK full-time worker.

AstraZeneca is committed to producing one billion doses for low and middle income countries.

Update #8905 - 9.55 Stimulating work staves off dementia

Having a mentally stimulating job can be an important way to delay or prevent the onset of dementia.

Research by University College London's Institute of Epidemiology and Healthcare and others tracked more than 100,000 people in the UK, US and Europe for 17 years to see if they developed the disease.

The levels of dementia among those at 80 who had stimulating jobs was equivalent to those aged 78.3 among those who experienced lower levels of stimulation.

Alzheimer's Research UK said the study highlighted the importance of finding activities that help keep you mentally active, whether work or hobbies.

Update #8904 - 08.25 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 131,260 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 111 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 33,904 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 6,355,887 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 47,413,242 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 17 and 40,987,846 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 38,901, as of Wednesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test rose to 933 - an increase of two on the previous day's figure.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 10,738 cases (increase of 97)

Cheltenham - 7,185 cases (increase of 73)

Stroud - 6,576 cases (increase of 71)

Tewkesbury - 5,336 cases (increase of 42)

Forest of Dean - 4,771 cases (increase of 40)

Cotswold - 4,295 cases (increase of 50)

Wednesday, August 18 

Update #8903- 10.51 Australia's Qantas asks all staff to be vaccinated

Frontline airline staff in Australia must be fully vaccinated by mid-November, says the country's biggest airline Qantas.

All other staff have to have had both jabs by April 2022.

Of Qantas' 22,000 staff, 89 per cent already are or plan to be vaccinated anyway. 75 per cent of respondents to a company survey believed vaccination should be mandatory.

Just over a quarter of Australia's population is fully vaccinated.

Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce said in a statement: "We provide an essential service, so this will help guard against the disruptions that can be caused by just one positive COVID-case shutting down a freight facility or airport terminal,"

"It's clear that vaccinations are the only way to end the cycle of lockdowns and border closures and for a lot of Qantas and Jetstar employees that means getting back to work again," he added.

Update #8902- 10.26 Pingdemic has come home to roost

Spicy chicken chain Nando's has had to close 50 restaurants, due to a shortage of its signature peri-peri chicken and a lack of staff in its chicken factories.

Nando's said in a tweet: "The UK supply chain is having a bit of a [night]'mare right now. This is having a knock-on effect with some of our restaurants across England, Scotland and Wales. We are doing everything we can to get the PERi-PERi back where it belongs - on your plates!"

Thankfully, no restaurants in Gloucestershire have had to close.

Update #8901-10.06 Inflation dipped from highest level

Price falls in clothing and footwear caused inflation to dip from the 2.5 per cent it had been in the year to June, according to the Consumer Prices Index. The 2 per cent it fell to meet the Bank of England's target.

Prices of games, toys and hobbies has also fallen, as well as package holidays.

However, some prices are still rising, such as second hand cars due to the semi-conductor production issues slowing production of new cars.

Update #8900 - 08.30 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 131,149 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 170 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 26,852 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 6,322,241 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 47,369,418 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 16 and 40,841,971 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 38,528, as of Tuesday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 931.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 10,641 cases (increase of 67)

Cheltenham - 7,112 cases (increase of 57)

Stroud - 6,505 cases (increase of 34)

Tewkesbury - 5,294 cases (increase of 34)

Forest of Dean - 4,731 cases (increase of 25)

Cotswold - 4,245 cases (increase of 25)

Tuesday, August 17

Update #8899 - 08.35 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 130,979 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 26 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 28,438 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 6,295,613 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 47,333,702 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 15 and 40,703,581 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic sits at 38,286, as of Monday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test remains at 931.

Cases for the latest 24 hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 10,574 cases (increase of 73)

Cheltenham - 7,055 cases (increase of 48)

Stroud - 6,471 cases (increase of 34)

Tewkesbury - 5,260 cases (increase of 26)

Forest of Dean - 4,706 cases (increase of 25)

Cotswold - 4,220 cases (increase of 24)

Monday, August 16

Update #8898 - 12.55  Joint Flu and Covid jab under consideration

Britain's brand new vaccine mega-factory at Oxford Science Park could produce a combined jab for flu and Covid.

Matthew Duchars, the chief executive of the £215m Vaccine Manufacturing & Innovation Centre (VMIC), says they are evaluating whether a single-jab would work and cut down on manufacturing time.

The centre, which started construction last year, is expected to begin a phased opening over the coming months.

The VMIC will be capable of producing 70 million doses of a vaccine in the space of four to five months.

Update #8897 - 09.51 Latest coronavirus figures for the UK and Gloucestershire

The latest data for coronavirus cases and deaths of patients with COVID-19 were released yesterday by the Government's department of health and social care and NHS England.

Updated UK figures show the total number of deaths within 28 days of positive test rose to 130,953 - which includes those in care homes, hospitals and in the community.

This is an increase of 61 on the previous day's figures.

Across the UK, 26,750 people have tested positive for the virus in the last 24 hour period and 6,267,437 since the outbreak began.

But on a more positive note, 47,302,445 people have now received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine as of August 15 and 40,557,198 have received their second dose.

Latest Public Health England figures show that the total number of cases within the county since the start of the pandemic rose to 38,056, as of Sunday afternoon.

The total number of deaths in Gloucestershire within 28 days of a positive test has risen to 931, an increase of 1.

Cases for the latest 24-hour period are split across the following regions:

Gloucester - 10,501 cases (increase of 74)

Cheltenham - 7,007 cases (increase of 53)

Stroud - 6,437 cases (increase of 41)

Tewkesbury - 5,234 cases (increase of 42)

Forest of Dean - 4,681 cases (increase of 22)

Cotswold - 4,196 cases (increase of 20)

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