Chancellor to give details of more support for business tomorrow


Boris Johnson urged businesses to look after their employees, denied that the London transport system was about to be shut down and claimed that the country could turn the tide on the coronavirus pandemic “within the next 12 weeks”.

The prime minister told businesses to “stand by your employees, stand by your workers, because we will stand by you – and you will be hearing more about that in the coming days”.

In his latest coronavirus press conference he said that chancellor Rishi Sunak would provide more information tomorrow on an improved support package for businesses that the government “will be putting into place across the country to support everybody through this difficult time”.

He added: “We have been talking to trade unions and others today and we think we will have a great package ready to go.”

Asked whether the government was still considering a full lockdown in the capital, Johnson said: “We may have to consider going further but there is no prospect of us stopping public transport in London.

“There has been a bit of misunderstanding floating around about that.”

Instead he said the government was “absolutely emphatic” about the need for people to avoid gatherings where they can transmit the disease, though he warned: “If it becomes necessary to ensure that, then we certainly will do so.”

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Detected coronavirus cases in the UK stand at 3,269 tonight with 144 deaths, up 39 from yesterday, while Italy’s death toll from the outbreak has overtaken China’s with 427 more deaths reported today.

Johnson said he was confident that through “ruthless, determined, collective action”, the country could “send the coronavirus packing” within the next 12 weeks.

“This country will bounce back,” he said, adding that when it does it will need firms and their employees.