08:04 GMT29 March 2020
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    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (240)
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    Amid an earlier announced job retention scheme for employees, the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has faced pressure to do more for the UK’s self-employed amidst the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

    On Thursday the UK government will reportedly reveal plans to offer financial aid to some 2 million of the country's 5 million self-employed workers during the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak by making payments directly into their bank accounts, reports The Times.

    Capped and means-tested to benefit those on lower incomes, the payouts will be made on a monthly basis directly into their bank accounts, said the report.

    Earlier, The Guardian reported that Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak would unveil plans for the UK taxpayer to pay self-employed workers up to 80 per cent of their most recent earnings to offer them support in conditions of an economy reeling from the impact of the coronavirus.

    The reported move comes in the wake of an ambitious job retention scheme for UK employees unveiled on 20 March.

    According to it, the government is to pay the wages of millions of workers across the country to safeguard them against losing their incomes due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.

    Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged on Friday the state would pay grants covering up to 80 per cent of the salary of employees as long as firms agreed to avoid layoffs, with payments set to be worth a maximum of £2,500 per month, slightly over the median income, wrote the outlet.

    The developments came days after the British government revealed its emergency business bailout package worth £350bn  to help the economy dodge a severe recession as the disease spreads.

    The Royal Free NHS hospital is pictured in London on February 10, 2020, where some of the UK nationals that have been confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV strain of the novel coronavirus have been taken.
    © AFP 2020 / TOLGA AKMEN
    The Royal Free NHS hospital is pictured in London on February 10, 2020, where some of the UK nationals that have been confirmed to have the 2019-nCoV strain of the novel coronavirus have been taken.

    Announcing the plans on 17 March, Sunak vowed every hard-hit business in the retail, leisure and hospitality spheres would be eligible for a year-long holiday from paying business rates, while smaller firms would be able to receive a cash grant of up to £25,000.

    The spate of measures come as the death toll from the coronavirus in Britain now stands at 460, according to the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Research Center, while a total of 9,600 have tested positive for the disease.

    The UK has followed in the footsteps of other countries in enforcing a nationwide lockdown, with people told to stay at home, with the exception of shopping for essential supplies, going out for medical needs and traveling to work where necessary.

    Boris Johnson Number 10 with Lockdown in red
    Boris Johnson Number 10 with Lockdown in red

    All nonessential public buildings have also been ordered to close, while social events with the exception of funerals have stopped.

    The measures have been augmented with new sweeping restrictive protocols, with Brits being told to leave their homes for "very limited purposes" or face penalties for failing to comply.

    On a global scale, the pandemic has racked up a death toll of over 21,000, with registered cases of infection at over 470, 000.

    Topic:
    Coronavirus Pandemic: Borders Shut, Public Events Cancelled (240)

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