Summary of key developments
- The UK becomes worst-hit country in Europe as its COVID-19 death toll overtakes Italy’s
- Government tally has the toll at 29,427 deaths but the Office of National Statistics put the figure beyond 30,000
- UK and US allege attempt to hack COVID-19 response operations
- Ryanair’s O’Leary slams ‘state aid junkies Lufthansa and Air France’
- Italian hairdressers angry as they remain under lockdown
- Will a coronavirus vaccine be accessible to all or for the privileged few?
- Britain rolled out its contact tracking app on Monday evening;
- France’s government has said its own tracing app will be ready by June.
All the latest updates
Virgin Atlantic cuts compound airline misery
Virgin Atlantic on Tuesday announced plans to cut operations at Gatwick Airport.
The airline, which employs about 10,000 people in total, will cut 3,150 jobs as it tries to secure government funding to help it to survive the coronavirus pandemic.
Virgin said its plans were designed to “reshape and resize (the) business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry”.
Last week Ryanair announced plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs, while British Airways has said it intends to cut up to 12,000 posts.
Ryanair CEO Michael O’Leary has blamed “unfair” state aid given to large carriers such as Air France and Lufthansa.
‘Too early to make international comparisons’ – Raab on UK figures
More on the top story, that the UK has now surpassed Italy and has now the world’s second highest death toll after the United States.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at the daily coronavirus media briefing that 29,427 people have now died, an increase of 693 on the previous day.
Figures from the UK’s Office of National Statistics have led to calculations that the number is over 32,000.
Raab told the media it was too early to make international comparisons as other countries may not be measuring fatalities in the same way.
He said the ONS was a “world leader” in gathering statistics and that the government wanted “full transparency” in relation to data collected in relation to the pandemic.
“We are confident and we believe that it’s only if we get the full transparency that we’ll be in the best place to tackle this virus,” he said.
Another coronavirus case in German soccer before key meeting
Dominic Raab reveals UK COVID-19 cybersecurity threat
The UK foreign secretary hosting the UK briefing begins by giving the latest figures: 84,806 tests were carried out yesterday. Another 4,406 people tested positive for coronavirus.
The total number of confirmed deaths from the disease rose by 693 in the past 24 hours. The minister said it now stands at 29,427. However, earlier figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) led to calculations that the number had topped 32,000.
British and American security agencies have exposed malicious attempts to hack organisations involved in the response to the pandemic, Raab says. The agencies have published a joint statement.
Motives appear to range from fraud to espionage and the perpetrators — who could include hostile states — seem to be interested in stealing data, he adds.