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Sunday newspaper round-up: Restrictions, Unemployment, Blood plasma

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Sunday 29 Mar 2020

LONDON (ShareCast) - (Sharecast News) - "Life in Britain will not return to normal for six months, England's deputy chief medical officer has warned, as ministers begin preparing the public for an extended period of lockdown. At the government's daily press conference, Jenny Harries said that strict social distancing rules may have to be in place for between two and three months. But she added that it would be a further three months before all restrictions were lifted, and even then there were likely to be "bumps" as new clusters of cases of coronavirus were identified." - Sunday Times
Unemployment in Britain is set to more than double in coming months, despite government efforts to incentivise employers to keep staff. Economists warn that the rise in the second quarter of the year will be even sharper than during the financial crisis in 2008. Nomura, the investment bank, predicts an unemployment rate of 8% in the April-June quarter, rising to 8.5% in the following three months, from 3.9% in January, as GDP falls sharply. The 8% rate would be the equivalent of an additional 1.4 million people unemployed and a total jobless level of 2.75 million. - Sunday Times

Rolls-Royce is facing a cash flow crisis as the collapse in air travel caused by coronavirus sees half of its revenues evaporate, leaving the FTSE 100 engineer scrambling for cash. Within days of the scale of the crisis becoming clear, Rolls drew down ?2.5bn of funding to boost its liquidity to ?7bn. However, with the company depending on its civil aerospace business for half of its ?15.4bn underlying revenue, it is likely to need further funding as the coronavirus crisis drags on. - Sunday Telegraph

Doctors have drawn up plans to infuse British coronavirus patients and their carers with blood plasma harvested from "hyperimmune" people who have recovered from the infection in an attempt to save lives. The experimental treatment will be directed at patients who are admitted to hospital with pneumonia caused by the virus in the hope that it reduces the number who end up on ventilators in intensive care units (ICUs). - Guardian

"Italy's political leaders from Left to Right have erupted in fury over the EU's minimalist, insulting, and cack-handed response to the Covid-19 pandemic, warning that lack of economic solidarity risks pushing the bloc's festering divisions beyond the point of no return. "Don't make a tragic mistake. The whole European edifice risks losing its raison d'etre," said the Italian premier, Giuseppe Conte, demanding a giant Marshall Plan funded on the EU's joint credit card to relaunch the productive system once the current nightmare is over." - Sunday Telegraph

Scores of Britain's best-known high street food and drink chains will go bust by the end of April unless banks provide immediate finance, the head of the hospitality industry has warned. Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the UK Hospitality trade body, said further failures are 'inevitable' after 80- strong restaurant chain Chiquitos - owned by The Restaurant Group, whose chief executive is ex-HBOS bank boss Andy Hornby - and the 73-outlet Carluccio's lined up administrators. Nicholls said short-term loans from banks are vital to cover costs pending the arrival of Government grant packages. - UK Daily Mail

Synairgen, listed on the London Stock Exchange and worth just ?50m, is starting a clinical trial in hospitals across the UK with a drug it hopes will prevent coronavirus sufferers from falling seriously ill. [...] Synairgen will now test the treatment on 100 patients with coronavirus. Half will be given its new drug, half will get a placebo. Results could arrive in as soon as eight weeks, which could pave the way for a fast-tracked pivotal study in a bigger group of patients and rapid approval. - Sunday Times